Books You Don’t Have to Read: Story Podcasts for Kids

Listening to stories without a book can help build a kid’s imagination and attention span since it requires them to provide mental images and pay attention to the sequence of events. And it’s an opportunity to grow. The Atlantic recently reports that,

"When words are spoken aloud, kids can understand and engage with ideas that are two to three grade-levels higher than their reading level would normally allow. Aural learning is particularly helpful for students who have dyslexia, are blind, or for whom English is their second language, who might struggle with reading or find it helpful to follow a transcript while listening."

More practically, story podcasts can help keep a reluctant napper in bed longer or soothe restlessness on car trips. Plus, your hands stay free to drive, cook dinner or just cuddle up and listen next to your child.

Next time you need a break, pull out your phone and bring up one of these great kidcasts. 


Stories Podcast - This podcast broadcasts weekly original stories and classics like the Tortoise and the Hare, Snow White or Peter Rabbit. It’s got 5 stars on Stitcher and a large back catalog of options. Stories range from 7 to 30 minutes to accommodate varying attention spans or time frames. 

Story Nory - You’ll be a fan of this podcast for years, since content runs from nursery rhymes to Lord Tennyson. Fortunately, the site offers easy searching by level - click on the Junior Stories tab to download traditional folktales (Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood or the Three Little Pigs) or nursery rhymes. Grow into the site’s classic tales (Secret Garden, Rudyard Kipling) or traditional myths and world folktales section as your child’s attention develops. 

SparkleStories - This podcast stands out with reality based stories of families that your child will be able to relate to directly. Collections include original stories on topics including sibling rivalry, summer camp and specific holiday themes as well as stories designed just to be fun. The group has a dedicated app, but does require purchases of stories in packages starting around $20. 

Sesame Street Podcast: It’s moved to HBO and has a podcast! Sesame Street is now firmly in the age of electronic media. Podcasts run from 5-7 minutes and include video, although listening with out the audio will work as well. Content is extremely similar to the show your kids already love. 


Don’t forget Audio Books: If you already have a subscription, Audible offers a terrific selection of classic children’s books, many recorded by well known voices. Don’t want to invest in Audible for the long term?? Librivox provides free recordings that crowdsourced readings of famous books including many children’s classics. 

A few great books to start with:
Frog and Toad (only on Audible)
- A.A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six (only on Audible)
- Or check out this comprehensive list of suggestions divided by age.  

And when you're ready for some hands-on reading fun, check out Storytime's playsets - read the story, and then act it out!