By Jessica Sanders, 1/7/2015
While some kids can’t get their nose out of books, others need another format that will engage and entice them. Audio books offer kids the opportunity to learn and improve reading comprehension in a way that may seem less intimidating and scary.
The best part: there are a variety of websites that offer free audio books for kids. These websites are perfect if you’re running a read-a-thon fundraiser—they’ll never run out of books to listen to.
Here are some of the best ones that offer a range of books for different ages and interests.
This is a great website for younger children. Here, kids can find original and classic stories, poems, myths and fairytales that are coupled with unique imagery. Each story includes an audio and written version, so kids can go back and re-read their favorite parts, rather than finding it in the recording.
Start With: The Piper and the Pooka
With the tagline, “Books Should Be Free Is Now,” this website is on a mission to provide classic literature in audio form. Kids can choose from 100’s of titles, including Anne of Green Gables, Black Beauty, Tom Sawyer and more. Bonus: The site hosts hundreds of adult books as well.
Start With: Peter Pan
The free audio books on this website vary from classics, like The Kissing Hand, to lesser-known titles that are just as endearing and exciting. The best part, these aren’t just audio books—each story is read by someone, which may be more engaging than just listening for some kids. For example, Kevin Costner reads Catching the Moon.
Start With: Harry the Dirty Dog, read by Betty White
This website, which is a little less user-friendly than the others, still offers a small collection of free audio “books”—fables. While not every fable can be listened to, there are enough audio options to keep little ones interested. Intermingling between audio, are written fables, so kids can still enjoy the many stories this website has to offer.
Start With: The Farmer and the Snake
This website offers a large collection of free audio books for children and adults alike. The children’s section offers a variety of stories old, new, fun, serious, fiction and non-fiction. Kids will especially love the entire Mary Poppins series. There is a cost, but you can test it for free to start.
Start With: Lives of Scientists
This site, which offers books for all readers, from ages 2 to 82, has a large collection of free audio books for kids. Titles range from familiar to new, including classics like Through the Looking Glass and The Velveteen Rabbit. The best part about this website is the bookshelf. Once signed up, kids can add books to their bookshelf, so they never run out of stories to listen to.
Start With: Beautiful Stories From Shakespeare
This small collection of free audio books features some of the greatest novels, including Peter Pan and Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Each book is easy to access, with the recording just one click from the home page, so even younger children will have no trouble accessing them.
Start With: Violet: A Fairy Tale
This website is different from most—it’s simply a collection of podcasts, in which Kara reads books aloud. There are recordings dating all the way back to 2012, so kids will have no problem finding a few (or many!) books that they love. Each podcast is a chapter, so little ones may need help finding the start of each story. Each chapter is numbered, so look for “01” to find the start of a new book.
Start With: Chapter 1 of Treasure Island
This collection of free audio books offers a wide variety of older titles, perfect for showing your kids the books that you loved growing up. Each one is played from the main home page, making it easy to access for children of all ages. Most of the titles, however, are likely best suited for children ages 10 and older.
Start With: Sherlock Holmes: Hound of Baskervilles
With more than 10,000 free audio books for kids, this is a collection you want to have access to. While just the first 30 days are free, it’s only $4.99 a month afterward. Books are categorized by age range, “Female Lead” and “Award Winners.”
Start With: Start your free trial to explore titles