Why you should try non-fiction audiobooks

Published on: 17 January 2019 Author: Listening Books

Listening Books is a UK charity that gives audiobooks to adults and children who have difficulty reading. Here's why they think every child can benefit – and have fun – with non-fiction audio about the world, whatever their circumstance. 

Do you know what your favourite non-fiction book is?

Lots of us can name our favourite fiction book – whether it’s Harry Potter or The Midnight Gang – but not many of us think about non-fiction in the same way.

Of course, reading stories is very important, not just because children who read more tend to succeed academically, but also because it’s enjoyable to escape into another world. However, especially for children who don’t naturally enjoy books, non-fiction can be an important way to introduce reading for pleasure.

For many children with a print impairment such as dyslexia or additional learning needs, audiobooks are a vital way to enjoy books, because they remove the barriers that make reading so difficult. This means they don’t have to spend time decoding words and can instead follow the thread of a book and have a much better experience.

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Here are three reasons you should try listening to non-fiction audiobooks

The information is real

There are so many amazing stories that can leave a lasting impression on children because they really happened. Take this clip from The Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook by Louie Stowell – did you know that there are space sickness bags on the International Space Station?

Space is such an exciting topic to read about because it’s real. If you love space then you don’t just have the option to read books with facts about space – there are also titles about becoming an astronaut, or working as a scientist that sends robots into space!

Non-fiction audiobooks help children to explore their natural curiosity independently, rather than being restricted by what they can learn in a classroom. This can spark an interest in reading and books that lasts a lifetime.

Amazing sound effects and music

But if you know a child who isn’t interested in non-fiction, what then? 

Well, audiobooks can also make books a more fun and inclusive experience. One of the first experiences of reading for many children is having a book read to them, and audiobooks can help reproduce this.

This clip from the audiobook of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst shows how audiobooks can make non-fiction more exciting.

Sound effects and music help to give context to the facts in the book that make them easier to understand, and funnier! This can be especially useful if non-fiction feels a bit too close to school subjects. If books about science or maths seem way too dry or boring to be reading in your spare time, then audiobooks can help to make them much more interesting to listen to.

To understand more

While fiction is wonderful for helping to introduce difficult topics, non-fiction can also be really good at doing this. Young children in particular can find it really difficult to verbalise how they are feeling, especially if they are dealing with difficult emotions. However, by having someone talk to them about a topic through the medium of an audiobook, this may help them to understand the situation more.

For example, in this clip, Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young ask people listening to the audiobook of Who Are Refugees and Migrants? to think about a complex situation. Why would someone want to leave their country? How would they feel in this situation? Listening to a book can help children understand ideas because of the tone that the narrator uses to give context to what is being read. This makes complex subjects and emotions that children may be interested in learning about easier to take on board.

Find out more

Do you want to find out more about finding non-fiction audiobooks to listen to?

Listening Books is a national charity who offer an audiobook library for both adults and children who find reading print or holding a book difficult as the result of an illness, disability, learning disability or mental health condition. We record up to 30 non-fiction audiobooks a year for children as part of our Sound Learning service that supports the National Curriculum and are fun and interesting! Find out more about at: http://soundlearning.org.uk. You can also find Listening Books on Twitter and Facebook

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