Check It Out: Audio adventures for children

In the popular Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke, several characters have the ability to bring book characters to life — just by reading aloud the words on a page: "Mo could paint pictures in the empty air with his voice alone."

Thanks to modern technology, there are more ways than ever to listen to stories and bring them to life for your child.

Reading a book aloud is a great way to enjoy literature and reading. There are studies that show that reading aloud can increase reading comprehension, and help struggling readers gain confidence.

"Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read," education expert Marilyn Jager Adams has said.

Aside from the scholarly benefits, listening to stories is a great form of entertainment. Do you have a road trip planned sometime soon? Try listening to a book — and see how everyone in the family can join in the fun.

The Newport Beach Public Library has many options for you to consider. For very young children, our CD kits include a picture book with a CD recording of the story. You and your child can follow along with the story as you listen.

The library also offers a Dial-A-Story telephone line. Just call (949) 717-3877 and listen to a new story every week from the convenience of your telephone.

The library also offers downloadable audio titles from MyiLibrary or Overdrive that allow you to listen on your computer, iPod or MP3 player. Not to be forgotten are the most familiar type of audio recording, audio books on CD. For your consideration, here are a few of our most popular and outstanding audio recordings for children.

Not surprisingly, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling has a well deserved spot in our lineup.

Narrated by Jim Dale, the audio series has enjoyed great success because of its universal appeal — both children and adults have been enthralled by the magical world that comes to life in the audio format.

Other popular series such as Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" are also popular in the audio format. Actor Tim Curry narrates the series and with his acting talents truly brings a sense of woe to the already 'unfortunate' series.

For younger listeners, Lenore Look has written several early chapter books starring Alvin Ho. Alvin is a young boy from Cambridge, Mass., who just wants to make friends and get along with his family. Only, his fear of everything tends to get in his way. Everette Plen, the then 11-year-old narrator, gives Alvin an authentic voice that really allows you to connect with Alvin Ho.

"Dark Life" by Kat Falls and narrated by Keith Nobbs, is an underwater adventure set in a future where most of the world is covered in water. A few brave pioneers have abandoned the crowded land and opted for life in the water. This new fiction title will have readers on the edge of their seats.

You'll find these and many other award-winning titles, popular favorites, and beloved classics at each Newport Beach Library location. Stop by today and start your adventures as a library book listener.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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