How Read Along Audio Books Can Improve Literacy Skills

young girl with headphones and tablet
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Read along audiobooks are a valuable resource for students with learning disabilities in basic reading or reading comprehension. Such students often face severe disadvantages in the primary grades of elementary school while learning to read. These learning challenges may persist in the middle, high school or the college years, where reading is necessary to learn any class content.

Frustrated with their struggles with literacy, many children with learning disabilities or dyslexia will not only hesitate to read but avoid doing so whenever possible. Fortunately, such students can take advantage of the number of resources available to help, including audiobooks.

How Read Along Audiobooks Help

Audiobooks can be used as part of a special education program and can be included in individual education programs or section 504 plans as adaptations for assessment and classwork.

Using audiobooks is one way to help your child continue to learn content in the classroom despite having a reading disability.

Students are usually open to using audiobooks, and many are available on the Internet for free download for playback. This gives them "the cool factor" so important to teens and tweens. Students may also use audiobooks as they read to help them comprehend literature-based assignments or those from the widely used Accelerated Reader program. That software tracks the progress children make in reading.

Find Free Audiobooks for Download

The following roundup of websites all includes audiobooks available for free download. Consulting such books as they read can give students the literacy boost they need to make reading assignments bearable.

  • has a limited collection, focusing mainly on classic literature. The quality, however, is quite good.
  • has a collection of nearly 1,000 works of literature in the public domain. Works were generally published before 1923. So, anyone who's studying, say, Shakespeare or Jane Austen might want to check it out.
  • Project Gutenberg is possibly the most comprehensive collection of free audiobooks online. Volunteers read many of the books, while computers generated the rest. The site also includes selections in several world languages.

Share Your Reading Strategies

Parents and teachers in the trenches use reading strategies every day. If you're one of them, try to find other educators or parents with whom you can share ideas. Discussing your reading-intervention successes and failures may help someone else. On the other hand, you could gain valuable information by asking teachers and parents of children with learning disabilities about their misfires and triumphs. 

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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Wood SG, Moxley JH, Tighe EL, Wagner RK. Does Use of Text-to-Speech and Related Read-Aloud Tools Improve Reading Comprehension for Students With Reading Disabilities? A Meta-Analysis. J Learn Disabil. 2018;51(1):73-84. doi:10.1177/0022219416688170

  2. Li H. The Effects of Read‐Aloud Accommodations for Students With and Without Disabilities: A Meta‐Analysis. Educ Meas. 2014;33:3-16. doi:10.1111/emip.12027