Do you have trouble getting your child engaged in reading activities? Your child might not be used to it because reading doesn’t have the usual bells and whistles (literally!) that his/her previous activities did. Sound books for kids change the dynamic of reading for children because there is interesting audio embedded into the story so that the child stays engaged.
Some excellent learning books are designed to allow the child to learn the pronunciation of words as well. We have compiled a list of the highest quality audiobooks your child would benefit from so that you can choose one (or several!) to start with. We hope that you can choose the perfect sound books for your child’s skill level using our guide.
Top 10 Sound Books for Kids
1. Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Musical Playbook
This brightly colored sound book is great for babies that are just learning how to use a book. It can be used from birth since there are no complicated concepts to learn with the book, just the use of touch to play music.
Babies can press a host of keys to elicit different musical elements and sounds from the book to keep him/her entertained for hours. The book has brightly colored animals and simple objects like balloons to keep the baby’s eyes attracted to the pages.
The buttons are on the right side of the book and are large enough to be used by the baby when his/her hand-eye coordination is good enough. The pages also have grooves that allow the baby to ‘feel’ the displays of each page.
By using three of the child’s senses (touch, hearing, and sight), this book will connect the feelings of being engrossed and spark with reading. This is a great audio-visual aid for young parents who can start by pressing the buttons when the narration needs it.
2. Very First Sight Words Sentences Level
This book by Dreamland Publications is a favorite among parents and children alike. The book has been recommended for use by children of ages four years and above. The book tries to connect simple words with pictures to encourage children to sound them out.
There are actually two books to this set that have to be bought separately. The second book builds on the vocabulary and simple sentence structures that were introduced in the first book.
The books are designed to reinforce the words and sentences that are taught in school and have a repetitive nature to the words that are used. This is to reinforce the ideas in the mind of the child reading it.
The book is designed colorfully, and the pictures have smiling children and animals that will be sure to keep your child happy while learning to read. The material used for the production of the book is high quality and will not tear easily when used by your child. We recommend this book for any parents that want additional material to help with teaching their children to learn interestingly.
3. Noisy Baby Animals (My First)
This colorful sound book by Patricia Hegarty will be a favorite with your child when it comes to reading time. It has been recommended for children that are just starting to learn reading. Each of the pages is focused on one animal and has many pictures of it.
The buttons are large and are designed to be easily pressed by the child. Each page also has a small description of the animal in large lettering to encourage your baby to read the interesting descriptions of the animals. The onomatopoeic words that are used will be sure to entertain your child and encourage him/her to replicate the sounds of the animals.
The book is sturdy and is made from thick material, which makes it highly durable. Some textures relate to the animals in each of the pages so that your child can touch and feel them. There are six pages in total, five individual animals, and 1 page with a collection of 5 animals. While it has a higher cost, the quality of the printing and overall production is high. We recommend this for children that are interested in animals and need encouragement to start reading.
4. Simple First Words Let’s Talk
This is a well-made sound book by Roger Priddy that is focused on animals and objects that are suitable for babies and toddlers. The author has a passion for educating children through fun, informative, and engaging books and has some of the most successful non-fiction books in this category.
Each of the animals or objects has a corresponding sound that is produced when the relevant button is pressed. The buttons are large and round and can be easily accessed by the baby/toddler that is using the book.
Children are encouraged to reproduce the sounds they hear when they click the buttons so that their speech is developed in addition to their reading skills. Large lettering under the buttons denotes what the audio is related to.
The pictures in the book are brightly colored and have good contrast. The make of the book is sturdy and will last the duration of the book’s service to your child. We recommend this book for parents that are looking to introduce simple words to their children while helping them read and pronounce.
5. Room on the Broom Sound Book (Princess Mirror-Belle)
This vividly drawn sound book has been produced by Julia Donaldson and is sure to be a favorite with your child. This is the same author who produced the best-selling children’s book Gruffalo that has sold 13.5 million copies worldwide.
The book has been published in hardcover in high-quality material and with non-residue ink. The storyline of the book is based on an interesting witch that goes on an adventure with her cat, dog, frog, and bird on her broomstick. It features a storyline that will enhance the moral outlook of your child.
There are ten vividly enhanced sounds on this sound book that can be heard by pressing the buttons on the right side of the book. Each sound is related to a major character in the book’s storyline. The buttons are large and easily accessible to the user of the book so that it will be easy for your child to learn how to press the right buttons.
The illustrations in the book have an interesting style that is sure to attract and keep your child’s attention. The happy and cheery characters will keep your child happy and joyful while using this interesting sound book. We recommend this product to all parents that are interested in keeping their children engrossed while learning to read.
6. The Gruffalo Sound Book
This is one of the most popular books in the sound book category and has had a publication of more than 13.5 million copies worldwide. Julia Donaldson, the writer and the talented illustrator Axel Scheffler, come together to produce this masterpiece in children’s literature.
The story revolves around a quick-witted mouse that comes across an owl, a snake, and of course, a Gruffalo! The beautifully written storyline comes together with an interactive soundboard of auditory delight to keep your child entertained each time he/she reads this book.
This hardcover book has been manufactured using durable materials that will last for as long as your child is interested in this book. The 12 buttons in the book produce 12 distinct sounds that are related to the characters that are in this marvelously interesting book.
The parents can start out by pressing the sounds in the right sequence until their children learn how to operate the big buttons that are easily accessible. This is one of our favorite sound books in this category, and we have no hesitation recommending this product to every parent with a child learning to read.
7. Phonics & Vocabulary II: Kindergarten Workbook
This wonderful sound book/smartbook is one of the most educationally important books that your child could be exposed to. FlipClass has produced this book for its Little Genius class of books to help pre-schoolers and Kindergarteners learn how to read and pronounce correctly.
It has a blend of sounds, sight words, phonics activities, vocabulary, and reading for a holistic approach towards language learning. This book is recommended for children aged 4 to 6 by the manufacturer, though it can be used for several years more due to the extensive vocabulary present in it. The illustrations that are available in the book are vibrant and brilliantly convey topics and concepts to the reader.
One learning outcome of this amazing book is your child being able to pronounce vowels, consonants, digraphs, blends, and diphthongs correctly. He/she will also be able to identify 250 different sight words.
Additional learning includes rhyming words, opposites, word pairs, and the construction of small sentences. The book has QR codes that can be scanned to produce related sounds and pronunciation using a smartphone. We believe that this book is a must-have for any parent as it has connected some of the most important tools for learning to boost your child’s language skills.
8. Peppa Pig: Happy Birthday!
Peppa Pig books and videos are the most popular mediums for children worldwide to learn English. The simple but engaging characters that explore interesting, relevant concepts will keep your child engrossed while learning to read and pronounce words.
This book’s theme is on Peppa’s Pig’s mom’s birthday and has matching lights and sounds to enhance the experience! There are lights that light up as candles and these can be blown off by your child. There is also a button that plays ‘Happy Birthday!’ when it is pressed.
The construction of the book has been done well, keeping in mind the rigors children will put the book through. Your child can also learn the lyrics and rhythm for the song Happy Birthday while using this book. It will also introduce the concept of birthday and why it is important while giving it an interesting background with Peppa Pig.
We recommend this book for infants that are just learning how to read. It will introduce your baby to the world of Peppa Pig that can serve as an educational tool for English until your child is an adolescent.
9. Animal ABC: Playful animals teach A to Z
This useful book by the great children’s author Maria Harding has been designed to teach your child the alphabet. It has 26 pages, each page devoted to a single letter to teach children that are just being introduced to the art of reading. The theme of the book is animals, and each letter focuses on an animal that has a name starting with the letter that the page focuses on. As children love animals, this will go a long way in keeping them engaged in the newly introduced activity of reading.
The pictures in the illustrations are quite large and contrast well together to ensure that your child’s attention is fixed on the illustrations. The make of the book is hardy, and the pages are made from hardboard that will not tear easily.
Some of the animals used are unorthodox and will widen the scope of your child’s understanding of animals. All of these pros, with its budget-friendly price make this a no-brainer choice for parents looking to teach their children the alphabet in a cost-effective manner.
10. Peppa Pig: Beep Beep Brrrm!
This product is another fantastic sound book by Peppa Pig publications. As said previously, Peppa Pig material in literature and video form are the most popular worldwide for the teaching of English to children. This book is recommended for small children that are just starting to read sentences.
The theme of the book centers around Peppa Pig, George, Mommy Pig and Daddy Pig going off in their red car to enjoy a picnic in the countryside. There are several issues they come across in their journey that makes the reader think whether they will ever get to have their picnic!
There are five buttons on the right of the book that will make traffic and other noises to go with the story of Peppa Pig’s journey being interrupted by traffic. The make of the book has been made keeping in mind the rough use that products are generally subjected to by children.
The illustrations have been made using the colorful Peppa Pig branding with bright contrasting colors to keep your baby engrossed for a prolonged period of time. As with all other Peppa Pig productions, we don’t hesitate to recommend this fantastic book as an English language learning tool for your child.
Please take note of the recommended age range for each sound book as the level of the audio is directed towards specific age groups. For example, a child aged eight will not be too interested in repeated cow noises in his/her sound book. Also, take note of the contents of the sound books as the book might be either too advanced or too basic for your child depending on his/her skill level at the moment.
Some subject matters are designed for specific genders. Some sound books are based on princesses, and some boys might not be interested in them. Choose subject matter that would interest your child to get the maximum out of the sound book. For example, racing sounds in a book about race cars would keep your boy engrossed while reading the book with you.
Most sound books have a limited amount of sounds that are to be used throughout the reading of the book. For example, a sound book about farm animals might have ten different animal sounds. Make sure that there is a variety of sounds for the book that you buy and that it is sufficient for the subject material covered in the book.
The keys to your child’s sound book will be pressed again and again. Some sound books that are of low quality might have sensors within the keys that break very easily. Poorly glued or fitted keys will result in the sound book being unusable after a few times of use.
Make sure that the electronics involved in producing the sounds are of high quality. The keys should be of good quality and also be big enough for your child to press them with their little hands, as it is harder for children to be precise with their movements.
Most of the sound books available are in English, as most people around the world want their children to learn the language of commerce and international communication, which is English. Make sure that the sound book is in the correct language that you want it to be in. However, you might choose books of two different languages if you want your baby to practice bilingual communication from a young age.
It’s a good idea to see whether the sounds that are made by the sound book are actually correct when it comes to pronunciation. Some sound books might have used voice actors that are not using the correct pronunciations to go along with the phonetics that the book is trying to teach.
Check samples of the audio in these more advanced books before you make a purchase to make sure that your child is receiving the top end of guidance for pronunciation.
When you expose your child to any sort of learning material such as sound books, the content of the material must resonate with your morality. Check to see what the storyline is of the sound book to ensure that the storyline conveys a message you would like conveyed to your child. Sometimes going for a more bland and well-tested brand of stories like Peppa Pig for English might be the safer route.
Check to make sure that the sound books have good binding and high-quality glue that is used to ensure that the book can be used over and over. Sometimes the binding is done in a manner that allows parts in the middle of the book to come out. When this happens, there’s the likelihood of this page being misplaced by your little tyke. If this happens, the book cannot be used again effectively.
There are sound books with soft covers and hardcovers. Soft covered books don’t take so much space when they are stored, but they are disfigured easily, and children find it easier to destroy these types of books. Hard covered books are more stable, and it’s easier for children to hold them. Try to go for hard covered books if your child is still getting used to handling books.
Sound books for kids can come with pages using thin paper, thick paper, or cardboard. They can also be in a rough finish or laminated. Laminated pages with thick leaves are the best for children that are still in the beginning stages of learning hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. This is because children tend to tear pages off books when they lose concentration of what they are doing. There is also the possibility of them spitting up on the pages or spilling drinks/food onto the pages. Laminated pages allow you to clean the pages off easily before storing the book. If the sound book is for an older child, it can have pages of any type.
Sound Books for Kids – Safety Tips
As sound books are relatively expensive, it’s a good idea to allow them to be used by your child under your supervision at first. This is especially true if the baby is not used to books and their uses.
Children tend to spit out food crumbs and saliva and spread a whole host of bodily fluids and dirt on all of their playthings. After your child uses his/her sound book, the book should be wiped down to ensure that no harmful microorganisms are allowed to replicate inside the book.
Sound books have electronic devices in them that produce sound. This means that if too much pressure is applied to the sensitive electronics inside the book, the audio system might not work the next time you try to use it.
Most sound books are powered by button batteries that will last the lifetime of the book. As you can’t generally change the battery that comes in a sound book, make sure that none of the keys are pressed when storing the book.
Types of Sound Books for Kids
1. Musical Sound Books
These sound books are generally for babies that are still at the level of recognizing shapes and objects. There can be a vast range of pictures that are vibrant in a sound book of this category. The buttons that are pressed would give a range of recognizable musical notes that your child will be enthralled with. It is a good level to start your child off in for him/her to be familiarized with the concept of a book.
2. Animal Sound Books
These sound books are generally themed around farm animals or forest wildlife. They have a range of animals that have buttons close to them that produce the relevant animal noises when pressed.
These sound books are great for children that are just learning about animals and getting used to small words such as animal names. Overall these books are great for starting your child off on reading.
3. Story Sound Books
These are great sounds books for your child to get interested in reading small stories. The rewards for reading small sentences could be pressing the relevant buttons to produce the right sounds for the page. It could also be used to getting children interested in listening to stories if they are not up to reading words by themselves.
4. Phonetic Sound Books
These sound books are advanced and can be used for teaching children the right pronunciation of words using a mix of books and newer technology. Some of these books have QR codes that can be scanned to produce sounds from smartphones.
Other sound books might have dictionaries programmed into the books themselves so that the proper audio for words can be retrieved at the click of a button. These sound books enable your children to learn vocabulary and correct pronunciation extensively without being exposed to the whole internet and all its challenges.
1. How are the batteries replaced in sound books?
Sound books generally have small button batteries that are either sewn into or pasted onto the book itself. These systems are not designed to have replaceable batteries. It is a little different for sound books that are focused on phonetics for older kids. These sound books might come with AAA or AA batteries that can be replaced. The directions will generally be given on the sound book itself.
2. Can a 1-year-old child use a sound book?
There are sound books designed for children, even as young as six months old. The type of sound book will be different according to the age group you are looking for, however. For smaller infants, sound books that are focused on music or animal sounds would be the best options.
3. Should the sound buttons be pressed by the parent or the child?
In the beginning, especially if your child has never used a book before, your child will not know what buttons to press and when to press them. Of course, your child will focus on pressing the buttons from the get-go as soon as he/she figures out what they do, but the parent might have to press them in the right sequence at the right times to make the story in the sound book come to life.
4. What is better, hardcovers, or soft covers?
Hardcovers are better for children that are younger and need help using books. Hardcovers also help keep books looking fresher for a longer period of time, automatically smoothening down the ruffled edges when stored. Hard covered books have longevity while soft covered books are gentler on your wallet.
You might want to buy a sound book in hardcover if you think the child will use it for a prolonged period of time. If it is a sound book that you think your child will get bored of quickly, a softcover would be a more intelligent investment.
5. How many sound books should I buy for my child?
The answer would come to be almost limitless! Sound books are some of the best audio-visual aids to help your child learn written and spoken language quickly. They also inculcate a sense of interest and wonder in the child for learning and reading. Buy as many sound books for your child as you can without unbalancing your sensitive budget!
Sound books are a great way for your child to get eased into the wonder of reading. As your child grows older, sound books can be used to teach your child extra vocabulary and pronunciation. It’s important to choose the right sort of sound book for your child so that it maximizes the development of his/her language skills. It’s a good idea to start with a simple sound book and work yourself up to more complex ones with words in them at a later date.
We hope that the buying guide that we have provided will give you an idea of what to look for when you are buying your first sound book. Make a note of the safety tips that we have provided to ensure that your investment is safeguarded so that your child can benefit from it for a prolonged period. Good luck, and we hope that your choice in sound books will continue to help your child learn and grow as he/she grows older!