Librarians and educators know that every young reader is different. It’s a well-documented challenge to get all students to not only read more but also to improve reading scores. This year, we started to offer two digital book download services for schools that are designed to engage students by combining the educational benefits of audiobooks with the technology students love.

First there’s AudioBook Classroom, which turns every school computer into an instant reading, listening and learning station. This digital audiobook technology works on a school’s local network. Any computer connected to the network can be used to access a collection of curriculum-based and recreational audiobook titles. Students can select from more than 1,000 audiobooks, listen to them on a computer, or transfer titles to their personal MP3 players like the iPod. These audiobooks will help students of all reading levels by building confidence in reluctant readers and allowing young readers to engage with books that are above their reading level.

The second service, School Download Library, provides eBooks and audiobooks for download straight from a school’s website to a student’s home computer, similar to the download websites created for libraries. This service, too, is compatible with iPod and other MP3 players. School libraries can add best-selling and new release titles to a download website and select from pre-packed reading lists and ‘always available’ titles. Students can enjoy these titles at home or anywhere with just their student ID and an Internet-connected computer. Say goodbye to those “I left my book at school” excuses.

While we know this blog is mostly for our partners at public libraries, the ideas that you have given us to improve download websites for libraries have helped create these audiobook and eBook download services for K-12 schools. So, what do you think about audiobooks for young readers?

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