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What's the latest in "read and listen" technology?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
When I was a kid, I had a Fisher Price record player, and little plastic records that went with books and the record would read to me and tell me when to turn the page. I can still hear that little DING.

My sister had a Fisher Price cassette player with the same setup.

Fast forward *muffled mutter* years, and DD's favorite thing in the universe is to be read to. She would be happy if I did nothing else but read to her. I read her probably upwards of 20 books a day, and she begs and cries for more. Alas, this is somewhat impractical for me as I also have another child (who doesn't particularly care to be read to, but likes to be played with), and a 3rd arriving soon will undoubtedly cut into that even more.

So I want to get her whatever the 21st century setup is. CDs seem like they're already kind of outdated... but is that still the norm? Any recommendation for a child-friendly CD player? The library also has a ton of books on CD, so that would be nice.

It seems like this should be moving more towards Mp3s... anyone know anything about that? I'd love to download readings of books we already have. And, of course, then I'd need a child-friendly Mp3 player. This seems like it would be so simple... but, of course, she can't read yet so she'd have to be able to find the book she wants.

I went to Target today and they had an entire line of Toddler E-Readers. I'm not opposed to these, but the book selection for all of them seems to be limited to written-by-committee books based on Disney movies. Which I'm not entirely adverse to, but I am adverse to those being my ONLY options for books.
post #2 of 8
I don't have a lot of information, but one suggestion I have is to check out your public library for storytelling. Our public library has a telephone service for kids. You dial a number, and it provides a couple of different recorded stories. They change up the stories about once a week. It isn't the greatest solution, but in a pinch it's good for about 20 minutes of distracting a kid while you do something else.

Our library also offers audio books that you can download to mp3 players. I don't know what kind of selection it has for children.

You can download lots of audio books from audible.com and itunes, which would make an MP3 player a good choice if you can find one that's kid friendly. I was interested enough to google "kid friendly MP3 players". The ipod Shuffle gets good reviews:


That made me wonder whether an ipod Touch or an iPad wouldn't be a possible choice, if she's using it mainly at home and under your supervision. I know it seems like a ridiculously expensive suggestion for a child, but I imagine you'd find good use for either as a shared family resource.
post #3 of 8
I'm not sure if this would meet your needs, but http://www.mrsp.com has a bunch of stories read by Kathy Kinney (Mimi from the Drew Carey show, but without the makeup ).
post #4 of 8
This may be old school, buuuuuut... We gave DD a cassette player and a whole bunch of read-along books with cassettes from my childhood for her third birthday this year. She looooooves them.

I know they're low tech, but they're easy to find on eBay and easy for little ones to use on their own.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your advice! Those websites look really cool. The Mrs. P one particularly. I want to spend more time poking around there.

The one thing that I'm ware about just downloading audiobooks is that I think the *ding* is kind of important to make sure the child can follow along with the text and turn the pages to the right pictures. At this point, it's the pictures that she really loves, y'know? She just wants to know what's happening in them. I swear I say "I don't know, let's read this page and find out what he's doing" more than any other phrase right now!

I may very well go the ebay route We'll see. It's too bad that the LeapFrog pen that reads books to you has such an awful selection of books. It was really simple to use and well designed. If they had more than about 5 non-Disney books, I would totally buy it.
post #6 of 8
Can she use the computer?

I found an on-line library of chidren's books with audio, teaching assists, multilingual (English, French and Spanish) holdings and a pretty good selection of picture books.


Hmm...I just tried the link, which I copied from a page on the New York public library website. The link above now doesn't give access to the actual books, but if you go through the library site, I can read and listen to the books. I don't know what happened in copying and transferring the link, sorry. Anyway, check out the NYPL page and follow the links from "On-Lion for kids" to Tumblebooks and hopefully it all works for you. N.B. If you try other links to Tumblebooks on the NYPL site, you get asked for a library card number, but not if you go through the "On-Lion for Kids" link.
post #7 of 8
I was thinking about your post this morning... if you've got an iPad there are apps available for read-along books. I don't know how big the selection is, but it looks pretty cool.
post #8 of 8
my son got a tag jr for christmas last year, and he adores it... it also helps me when he wants the same book overandoverandoverandover, lol... he likes being able to carry it around and pick the books he wants to read
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