Free audio books for kids are the perfect thing to make a road trip fly by or make a too-rainy or too-hot afternoon more fun. I even came across one parent who said her children listen to audio books while they clean their rooms. If you have a voracious reader or listener at home, you’ll especially appreciate some free audiobooks for your kids this summer.
- Allowing children to access text that is beyond their current reading level
- Modeling what reading should sound like (appropriate pace and expression)
- Making reading more engaging or more enjoyable
The great news for parents is there are several places that offer free audio books for kids online (and some selections for adults too)!
Where to Find Free Audio Books for Kids:
Lit2Go is completely free and easy to use. Each work is available in Mp3 format, making it easy to use. You can listen right through the website from any device. A huge bonus for kids is that Lit2Go also offers the text of each work in PDF format, so children can follow along as they listen. This is a wonderful opportunity for building reading skills.
The site has a wide range of older texts, including works by Charles Dickens, Fredrick Douglas, and Rudyard Kipling. Parents may find something for themselves to listen to this summer as well.
Here are a few (but not the only) books children may enjoy from Lit2Go:
Project Gutenberg is a well-known source of ebooks, but it also has links to audiobooks in various formats, including Apple iTunes Audiobooks and MP3s. If you’re not familiar, Project Gutenberg claims to be the oldest digital library. It is a major volunteer-driven effort to digitize cultural works and make them widely available, and it is mostly populated by works that are no longer copyrighted and therefore in the public domain.
This means, you will mostly find older titles here. It’s a great resource, but if you’re looking for recent works by diverse authors, this is not the source for that endeavor. However, if you would like to revisit older literature, this is the place. And it’s completely free!
If you search by category, you will find icons next to each title indicating whether it is available in text, audio or both.
Librivox has compiled audio readings of works in the public domain—again you won’t find the latest releases, but you will find old classics. The readings are all done by volunteers, which is pretty amazing. Some works are read by a single reader just offering their time to make these works accessible, while other audios may include a full cast of voices for each of the various characters.
You can download the audio or listen through the website from any device. Librivox does not include PDFs of the text.
You can also find short stories and individual fables:
Storynory is a great resource for kids. It offers a podcast and website with audio streaming and downloadable Mp3s all for free. “Storynory has grown into the largest—not to mention the best-loved—archive of free children’s audio-books on the internet,” according to The Telegraph.
Storynory not only offers classic children’s books but also fairy tales, myths, and poems. It has something for all ages, and the website is colorful and easy to navigate. One of my only complaints about Project Gutenberg is that the website is a little clunky to navigate, but this isn’t so with Storynory.
Because Storynory is specifically for children, I’m not going to provide specific links to audio books from its site. You can visit the site, and browse its menu by classic audio books, fairy tales, myths, and more. Check it out, and you’re sure to find something for your child!
K12 Read Aloud Classics
K12 Read Aloud Classics is a free app with readings of classic children’s stories, poems, and fairy tales. The stories are also illustrated, which can be appealing for young children. It also offers nursery rhymes for toddlers. Some of the stories offered include The Three Bears, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and The Three Little Pigs. This resource is ideal for young kids on the go. If they’re squirmy in the car, in the waiting room, or just at home not feeling well, this can be a great way for them to experience classic stories and nursery rhymes.
While the app is free to download, there is a limited selection of free stories. Beyond that, you’ll have to pay for access to a larger selection.
Your Local Library
Don’t forget about your local library, which likely has audiobooks available for checkout. Often you can even access a selection of audio books to check out and listen to without even going to the library.