Read-alouds, audio books and dramatised stories.

6 kids in car roadtrip 2 IMG_7073-001

We have just returned from a family holiday which involved much driving. Having chosen not to go down the road of DVD’s in the car, we instead loaded up the IPOD with a stack of classic audio books and listened to those as a family.

I am very aware of the value that comes from spending time reading aloud to my children. Exposing them to great literature is a priority for me but the reality is that I am just not getting around to it as much as I would like. One of the side effects of this is that the quality of play that the children are involved in has dropped. Gone is the Little House on the Prairie winter house with “Pa”(my eldest son) out protecting “Ma” and the “kids” from wild bears and other wildlife, gone is Captain Hook’s pirate ship and so many other wonderful imaginings that characterised their outdoor time together.

During our holiday we had a wonderful time listening to “The Swiss Family Robinson” while we drove around looking at the beautiful scenery. Conversations have abounded about survival skills and how we would have fared in a similar situation and best of all, our first day back saw the 4 eldest children together outside building a pretend sled to carry their tools, weapons, horses and other survival gear as they set out on an imaginary adventure together.

I have also downloaded and burnt a bunch of classic stories to CD for the children to listen to during their daily room time, over lunch when conversations are getting silly, on beds during rest time (for those no longer sleeping every day) or occasionally at bedtime. Five of the children shared a room at our farm-stay accommodation during our time away so having something to listen to as they were falling asleep helped cut down (but not eliminate!) the silly excitement of being in the same room together and allowed the little ones to get to sleep while the older ones could lay awake a little longer listening to the story.

Visit for literally thousands of books that are in the public domain and therefore absolutely free. Volunteer readers (some better than others) have recorded these stories and all you have to do is download them for your listening pleasure. Other sites I have not yet used but offer a similar service are and,

Many dramatised audiobooks are available through online booksellers such as bookdepository.comFocus on the FamilyLamplighter and others. We purchased “Sir Knight of the Splendid Way” from Lamplighter and after stopping at our destination only part way through the story were barely back in the car before I heard “Aren’t you going to put The Splendid Way back on?” – from my husband!


2 Responses

  1. Hi Ang, I’ve been using audio stories with my nearly 6 yr old boy during rest time for a while now. We have been using some from They have a number of great story lines that have 52 stories (one per week for a year) each of them are about 20min long. We really enjoy their Junkyard series and Martin and Sylvia.
    We are heading on a 6 weeks driving holiday in July with 6, 4 & 2.5 yr old boys. Do you have any particular suggestions of audio books you think would suit this age range??

    • I haven’t heard of that website but I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion. Most of the stories we listen to are “classics” so may not suit the age range you are catering to. My younger children do listen to them and enjoy them along with us but a lot of it does go over their heads. The most popular audio materials we own by far have been the dramatised Narnia series and “Winnie The Pooh.” From the age of 4 or 5 they have played these during room time on an almost daily basis. We also use “The Lamb” and “The Jesus Storybook Bible.” They might like the Beatrix Potter stories (My littlies find one or two a bit scary) and we enjoyed reading “The 5 Little Peppers and How They Grew” and “Jo’s Boys” which I think would be available free at Librivox or elsewhere but I haven’t checked.

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