Q&A Patrons Ask: I want to read a book that is “too hard” for me…

Hello Everyone,

Over the past week I have answered the same question many times, so it must be a trending topic in Oakland right now:

  • My second grader wants to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid but doesn’t read chapter books yet. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I borrowed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice DVD from the library and my kid loved it. Now she wants to read the book, but she isn’t a strong reader. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I want to read a book with my child but I am not the best reader, do you have any suggestions?

  • I want read with my child in English, but I need help with my pronunciation, what do you suggest?


Every one of these questions can be answered with the same answer:

Read along with an audio book!

An audiobook, otherwise known as a recorded book, is an audio recording of a talented thespian (that is a fancy word for actor) conducting a performance-style reading of the book for your entertainment. In addition to enjoying a wonderfully read story, your child can develop and/or strengthen their reading skills.

Following along with audiobooks will help children:

  • Recognize the letter patterns of words with many syllables. Words like "multiply", "indifferent", and "Constantinople" can be hard to break into pieces in your head. Hearing someone else say the word can help them break up the syllables and learn to read it independantly. 
  • Learn all of the different ways to say “OUGH” in English. “OUGH” is one of the most tricky letter combos in the English language because really are no rules or reasons for how it is supposed to be pronounced.  But listening to an audiobook may help a child (or anyone really) figure out the different sound patterns for "OUGH". If by chance listening to audiobooks doesn’t help you figure out all the different "OUGH" sounds, I’d recommend using this handy website as a cheat sheet.
  • Become familiar with words that they have never seen before. Younger readers need help with words like "spaghetti" and "croissant." And let’s be honest, unless you studied Latin or linguistics, Expelliarmus and Sectumsempra threw you for a loop the first time you saw them too. Reading along with an audiobook is wonderful for learning these newfangled (or old fangled in some cases) words. If by chance your child wants to know the English translation of Expecto Patronum...

                   Harry potter


If reading along with an audiobook interests you we have many  audiobook kits available for you to borrow. An audiobook kit is a picture book with a CD recording included for your convenience. Most popular chapter books are also recorded to CD for your listening pleasure, but you have to borrow two items and create a kit yourself.  Ask a librarian to help you find a chapter book and its accompanying audiobook. We would love to help you out. You are allowed to check out up to 10 audiobooks on your library card, which are included in your 40 item limit.

Here are some suggestions of great audiobooks:

                           Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

If you have any more questions you would like us to answer please click:  

  Button; Ask Your Question here                                     

Come back and see if we answered your question here on this blog!

First Day of School = Your First Library Card

If your child started kindergarten this week, bring him or her in to any Oakland Public Library branch to get a personal library card. Any child, 5 or older, who lives in CA, can get a first card for FREE! Getting a library card will allow your child to check out all of the materials the library offers as well as give your child access to all of the library’s electronic resources. We promise to make a big ceremony out of it too, sticker and all. 

Aside from all of the books, movies, music, and other materials you can take home from the library, your child’s library card opens up a world of electronic resources you can access from home.  Through our website, you can look at: lists of recommended books, electronic games for kids, our calendar of events, resources for homework help,  and Tumblebooks, e-books you can watch and/or read online.  The Tumblebooks site offers both fiction and nonfiction titles, picture books and early chapter books.  You can even watch e-books in other languages (French, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Korean and German). 

So what are you waiting for?  Come on down, meet our friendly staff and start your child’s school year off right with an Oakland Public Library card.  Here's the link to our hours and locations.



Off the Page: Children’s Audiobooks

If you’re looking for something to captivate youngsters during an end-of-summer road trip, OPL has you covered! Each of our library locations carries a selection of children’s audiobooks to engage even the wiggliest of passengers. Ask library staff to help you find book/CD kits, too; these are books that include a CD so kiddos can read along with the audio.

Have you tried audiobooks with your kids? Let us know which ones they have especially enjoyed!

Classic Tales

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland book on CD coverCharlotte's Web book on CD coverHarriet the Spy book on CD coverJust So Stories book on CD coverPeter Pan book on CD coverPhantom Tollbooth book on CD coverRabbit Ears book on CD coverThree Tales of My Father's Dragon book on CD cover

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Lewis Carroll

Charlotte's Web / E.B. White

Harriet, the Spy / by Louise Fitzhugh

Just So Stories / Rudyard Kipling

Peter Pan / J.M. Barrie

The Phantom Tollbooth / by Norton Juster

Rabbit Ears (folk and fairy tales)

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon / Ruth Stiles Gannett


Contemporary Picks

Becoming Naomi Leon book on CD coverBud, Not Buddy book on CD coverDiary of a Wimpy Kid book coverHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince book on CD coverSerpent's Shadow book on CD coverMagic Tree House book on CD coverTale of Despereaux book on CD coverWhere the Mountain Meets the Moon book on CD cover

Becoming Naomi León / Pam Muñoz Ryan

Bud, Not Buddy / Christopher Paul Curtis

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series / Jeff Kinney

Harry Potter series / J.K. Rowling

Kane Chronicles series / Rick Riordan

Magic Tree House series / Mary Pope Osborne

The Tale of Despereaux / Kate DiCamillo

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon / Grace Lin