By Audible Kids

Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2008

Audible Kids

Give the gift of storytelling...without putting a book under the tree. Fourth graders are pros when it comes to downloading songs for an iPod. This year, give your child something a little different to tickle his ears, and his brain! Audible, a popular service for adults, recently introduced a special site just for kids, jam-packed with amazing titles, some of which kids can even download for free, care of the non-profit group, Reading Is Fundamental. If you're somewhat skittish about giving your kid an audiobook because you think it might make him less likely to pick up a "real" one, know this: listening to literature may not be the same as reading it, but it has a wide range of benefits, from teaching kids to think critically about content, to increasing their vocabularly, to improving their listening and comprehension skills. With this service, parents can set up an allowance for audiobooks. Your kids can browse through their choices and add them to their cue, much as they would on Netflix, and depending on the rules you set, they'll be able to purchase titles up to the allowance amount, or their choices will be saved for you to review, and then purchase for them. What we love about this is that it empowers kids to actively choose books that excite them, explore new authors, even share their lists of favorites and reviews with friends. A great way to encourage a love for literature. Tuck a gift certificate in their stocking this year, and download a title or two to their favorite device. Our picks: Cornelia Funke's Inkheart or The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch.