Why Audiobooks Should Be On Your Family’s Summer Reading List

Why Audiobooks Should Be On Your Family's Summer Reading List | Houston Moms Blog

School is out for the summer, and summer reading programs are kicking off. We all know how important it is to be reading to our kids and fostering their independent reading skills, especially in the summer months when they aren’t attending school. Browsing the shelves of your local library, exploring a cozy bookstore, or even Amazon Prime-ing are all all perfect ways to find that perfect summer read. But there’s another option for kids and moms alike to read more books this summer:: audiobooks! In this age of technology, audiobooks are readily available, easy to access, and have great appeal to both voracious and reluctant readers.

Listening to Audiobooks Counts as Reading

There is a myth that listening to audiobooks is “cheating” and not really reading. But science proves this is false- to the brain, reading words on a page and listening to words in your earbuds are about the same. Of course, the process of decoding {actually learning to read printed words} is vitally important, and younger elementary kids need consistent practice on this skill, but listening to stories aloud in addition to decoding gives them great practice with reading comprehension. 

And moms- we know how to read! Decoding isn’t something we need to practice; our brains have that down. So for us, listening to an audiobook versus turning the pages of a physical book {or swiping the screen of our Kindle} accomplishes the same goal- reading! So throw out any guilt you have about listening to audiobooks- there are no rules about what counts as reading.

Audiobooks Allow for Multitasking

Listen, as dreamy as it sounds to curl up for hours on a lazy summer day with the latest buzzed-about novel, we know that kids don’t usually afford us that luxury. We spend more time in the car, at the kitchen sink, or tacking the laundry pile than we do on the beach with a book. But with audiobooks, we can indulge in a great romance or murder mystery while we sort underwear or prep dinner. 

Kids can multitask with audiobooks too! They can listen to books while they do chores, build with Legos, or ride in the car on the way to summer camp. Is your family taking a road trip this summer? Choose an audiobook the whole family will enjoy and the long hours in the car will pass much more quickly while you bond over a great story.

Why Audiobooks Should Be On Your Family's Summer Reading List | Houston Moms Blog

Where to Access Audiobooks

Just like with print or electronic books, there are various ways {and costs} to access audiobooks. Each service has pros and cons, and you can choose or combine the avenues that fit your family’s needs and budget.


Audible is probably the most well-known site for purchasing audiobooks. It’s part of Amazon, and for $14.95 a month, you get 1 “credit” for an audiobook purchase {there are other plans available if you want more than one audiobook per month} Members also can pick 2 free Audible Originals {exclusive content} each month. 


  • Audible has the widest selection of audiobooks and the latest releases.
  • First time users get one audiobook completely FREE
  • You get a 30% discount on additional audiobooks you purchase 
  • The Audible app is user friendly and easy to navigate. 
  • You own the audiobooks in your library. 
  • Audible lets you return audiobooks for any reason within 365 days of purchase, so there’s no risk of “wasting” a credit on a book you may not like.
  • Kindle owners can use Audible’s WhisperSync and go back and forth between reading and listening- the service will hold you place in the book/audiobook!


  • Audible is one of the more expensive options for obtaining audiobooks
  • Credits do roll over, but only for a certain number of months, depending on your membership.
  • If you cancel your membership, you lose your credits. If you do want to cancel, be sure and use all your credits before you do.


Scribd is often referred to as the “Netflix for books”. For $8.99/month, you’ll have access to unlimited* audiobooks from their library!


  • Scribd is less expensive than Audible, and there’s no limit to how many books you can listen to each month.
  • Membership includes audiobooks and e-books
  • You can use one subscription for the entire family, and books can be accessed from multiple devices.


  • You don’t own the books you listen to in the same way you don’t own the content you stream on Netflix.
  • *Scribd is advertised as unlimited, but some voracious readers report restricted access to multiple books that are popular/new releases, depending where you are in the billing cycle.

Libby App by Overdrive

The Libby app connects your library card(s) to an individual library’s available audiobooks {and e-books}.


  • Just like borrowing books from the library, it’s completely free. 
  • You can link as many library cards as you have access to, increasing your selection.
  • The app is user friendly- it’s easy to search for books, authors, and genres, and downloading and listening to audiobooks on the app is simple.


  • Your selection of audiobooks is limited to what your library has available.
  • Many times, you’ll have to wait weeks or months for a book you want to listen to by putting it on hold and waiting until it becomes available.
  • Books are checked out for only two weeks at a time, and there are no renewals- if your book is popular and you don’t finish within two weeks, you go to the back of the holds line.

Other Services

  • Hoopla:: also connects your library card to audiobooks and e-books, but also includes movies and music.
  • Audiobooks.com:: For $14.95 a month, you get 1 premium audiobook + 1 book from their VIP selection. 
  • Downpour:: Monthly memberships are $12.99 for 1 audiobook credit.
  • Google Audiobooks:: Part of the GooglePlay store, no subscription is needed and most titles are $14.95 or less.
  • Audiobooksync.com:: Teens 13+ have access to 2 free audiobooks a week throughout the summer.

Why Audiobooks Should Be On Your Family's Summer Reading List | Houston Moms Blog

Happy Reading and Happy Listening!

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