2007-11-21 / News

Audio books can be family fun

In today's fast-paced world of hundreds of television channels, millions of Web sites and iPods in every kid's backpack, sometimes it seems that entertainment is becoming a solitary experience that each family member enjoys alone. One innovative form of family entertainment that is becoming more and more popular with parents is the audiobook - stories the whole family can listen to on CDs, at home and in the car. Particularly popular, these days, are fantasy and magicoriented tales that can be engaging for both parents and children alike. Audiobooks are being used by parents as a great way to get kids to use their imagination, and as innovative tools to get children interested in reading. As many parents can attest, audiobooks make for wonderful diversions on those long family car trips. "We all like a good story. It's no wonder more families are turning to audiobooks, as nothing beats having a great storyteller read one to you," said Jennifer Feldman, Publisher, Scholastic Audio Group.

Here are some ideas for enjoying audiobooks with your family:

* Treat new audiobook releases the way you would new movies and get the whole family excited for upcoming stories. This season, for instance, highly-anticipated new family-friendly releases include, "What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth fairy," by Gregory Maguire, who also wrote "Wicked," the best-seller that became a Broadway musical; and "Seeing Redd," the second in the hugely popular "The Looking Glass Wars" trilogy.

Other much-heralded tales that are debuting include "Into the Mist," a prequel to the magical creature-filled "Land of Elyon" series; and "Paint the Wind," an epic horse story in the tradition of Black Stallion.

* Make the car a place for storytelling. Instead of turning on the radio, engage your family's minds by taking audiobooks on the road. A good story can make those long car trips seem shorter!

* Schedule regular audiobook nights the way you would a movie night. Prepare some favorite healthy snacks and listen to a chapter of an audiobook.

* Dream up your own sequels and prequels together. Challenge your kids to invent their own tales of what happens next to characters once an audiobook is finished. Tell the stories to each other and have kids draw pictures of what they think the characters and scenes look like.

Above all, choose audiobooks that are both entertaining and educational. Just as with movies or TV shows, some audiobooks are not suitable for the whole family.

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