You know I love audio books, so I couldn’t drop the subject without one more list of them.

Last week I made my top ten list of audio books for younger kids, so I thought I should follow it up with a top ten list for the older elementary crowd.

  • Narnia. You’re never too old for Narnia.
  • Tom Sawyer. Southern dialect is a good thing to outsource.
  • Huck Finn. Get the one done by Elijah Wood!
  • Pilgrim’s Progress. The archaic language makes this one a good choice for audio done by a good reader.
  • The Hobbit. Get Rob Ingil’s version, not the dramatized one.
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. You can’t skip the songs if you’re listening to the audio book!
  • Ivanhoe. The old dialects make this a good one to delegate, but the story is basic and action-packed.
  • Story of the World.
  • Johnny Tremain
  • The Black Arrow

Audio books are great for sick days, for Lego-playing afternoons, and for car trips. With an audio book, an older student can experience a book that might be difficult for him to read on his own, yet is certainly able to enjoy the story itself (like Ivanhoe). With an audio book, they can “read” while keeping their hands busy.

Find all my Audible tips & tricks listed here!

If there’s a book you think your older child “should” read, but it seems intimidating, try it on an audio book. In fact, I just used an Audible credit to buy a performance of Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of The Iliad in anticipation of next year’s studies.

The great thing about audio books is that the professional recordings really are “performances” more than readings. Even if it is not a dramatized version (I tend to dislike those), and there’s only one reader, a well-done recording adds interpretation and extra drama into the story that makes it more understandable than even reading it to yourself. An audiobook also slows you down and makes you hear every word, making them an excellent supplement for strong readers, who do tend to skip and skim as they go.

Get a free audible credit, wring the most out of it, and see if you aren’t quickly addicted yourself.


  1. I am just catching up on your posts so sorry to ask this question days after you wrote this post. My questions is (and I’d like you to convince me!): Why pay for audiobooks on Audible when there seems to be many sites you can listen to books for free? I have been using Librivox and have so far (but my experience is still limited), been able to listen to all the books I’ve looked for on Librivox. They seem to have a large collection of classics and the quality seems fine although I have nothing to compare it with.

    1. That’s a great question! If Librivox is working for you, then that’s great. :) Personally, I find the multi-reader books very distracting, the quality generally poor, and the “This is a librivox recording…” plug every chapter obnoxious.

      If you’ve ever checked out audio books from the library, ones done by professional readers, then you can get a feel for what Audible has: the books aren’t simply read aloud, but read aloud with the flair and style and consistency in voices that an actor can provide.

      The library is another good source for quality, well-produced audio books, but until recently, our local library’s audio book collection was fairly limited. Now that they are on Overdrive, the selection is a lot better and I can check out audio books from home.

      I’d compare Librivox and Audible to watching a play. Librivox would be your local high school drama club: varying quality, hit-or-miss, and low budget. Audible is Hollywood. :) There’s certainly a place for both, but our enjoyment of the books is so much more when they’re read by actors who can do dialect and voices and the sound quality is strong – and enjoyment of the books is what I’m after, not just getting through them.

      Hope that helps!

      1. Many thanks Mystie. That is exactly the type of distinction/comparison I needed and you’ve convinced me! I will first try our library and thin give Audible a whirl. It’s not the $ I’m weary of but the keeping track of deals and making sure I’m making the most of what we’re paying for.

  2. The good thing about Audible is that you own the books, so you can always do a membership for a couple months, work the deals and build you collection, then unsubscribe. :) It doesn’t have to be a long-term thing if it’s not something you want to keep watching and working.

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