What I remember most clearly is the sound. It was a tinkly, bright, happy sound. Each time I heard it I would dutifully turn the page of my book and wait for the narrator’s voice to resume reading the story. As a child in the 1990s, I loved checking out the cassette tape/book combination kits from the library. I would bring them home and eagerly load tape after tape into my red and white Fisher Price cassette player.
I’m happy to report that, although the technology has advanced since then, that tinkly page-turning sound remains the same. The latest version, now available at the library, is called a Wonderbook. Every Wonderbook is a print book with a ready-to-play audiobook inside. Children can simply press the bright orange play button to hear the book read aloud via the built-in speaker or they may choose to plug in headphones for a more intimate reading experience. After reading along, children can switch their Wonderbook into “Learning Mode” to listen to open-ended, educator-vetted questions about the book that they just read.
It’s no secret that reading out loud to children helps to build their language and reading skills as well as their fluency. The benefits of listening to audiobooks are numerous, and combining audio with print can be a powerful learning tool for students of all ages and abilities. Wonderbooks provide a multi-sensory reading experience that kids themselves can be in charge of, no cassette player required.
Wonderbooks are available now in our children’s audiobook collection. The initial purchase of the Wonderbook collection was funded in part by donations from Beyond Words 2022, the annual fall fundraiser of the Friends and Foundation of the Princeton Public Library.
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