Talking books have been around for a long time. My dad used them during the late 1960s and early 1970s after multiple sclerosis gave him double vision and made reading difficult. But with the rise in popularity of audiobooks among the general public and available in a variety of formats, I forgot about the free resource Dad enjoyed so much.
The Talking Books Program
The Talking Books Program is a service of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), a division of the Library of Congress. The talking books website says the service is available “through a national network of cooperating libraries, NLS administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.”
Talking Books Kids’ Zone
The home page, which isn’t very pretty, has a link to the NLS Kids’ Zone. That page contains these categories (and a few teaser titles) for audio, braille, and print/braille book from the preschool to eighth grad levels:
- Newbery Medal and Honor Books list
- Coretta Scott King Award and John Steptoe Award for New Talent book lists
- Schneider Family Book Award list
- The Chronicles of Narnia book series
- Harry Potter book series
- Redwall Abbey book series
- Swallows and Amazons book series
The site also has links for kids’ magazines and state listings for the libraries in the talking books network.
Talking Books Kids’ Catalog
The main page also has links to a searchable kids’ catalog, and information about who’s eligible and how to sign up for the service. None of the links are pretty, but the products are free. So take a look and see if your child qualifies for the service.
If you already use the service, please leave a comment about your experience. Or share tips about how to maximize your child’s enjoyment of talking books. Thanks!
photo credit: www.freedigitalphoto.net
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