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Sound It Out

Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

My 8-year-old wants an iPod

September 16, 2008

My husband loves music; there's always something on in our house. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Molly has announced that "her own iPod" is on the top of her Christmas list. Which she's started. In September.

I'll admit I'm not crazy about the idea. I envision her wearing her ear buds all the time, tuning us out. She's promised she won't do that, and that she'll still talk to us! Even at dinner time!

Listen To Your Buds, is a campaign sponsored in part by the American Speech Hearing Association (ASHA) that helps parents and teachers learn more about volume levels and portable music players. From the site I learned that kids should wear earbuds that fit outside the ear rather than the kind that you cram in your ear. There's other good information there too, about loud noises and hearing loss and how the ear works.

What will Molly listen to? Mostly Camp Rock songs, I think. And a handful of other pop music that she's heard — Hannah Montana, and (gasp!) a Talking Heads song she heard during Nim's Island. At least that's something the whole family can dance to!

Parents' Choice released a Spring 2008 Audio Award Winning CDs
which might be a good place to start looking for music to load on an iPod, although 8 year old girls are interesting. Most days she seems to be 8 going on 15 and wouldn't be caught dead listening to "baby CDs." As Molly puts it: She likes "real music."

I'm going to dig around some more and do some research on audio books for kids (I'm familiar with AudibleKids, but their prices seem high!) before making a final decision. I'll let you know what I find out.


get her one when she's 13, because then your hormones start to kick in and music means alot to teenager 12+

Yes see the research coming out of Escondido Unified which links recording via iPod with increases in reading fluency particularly among English Language Learners.

I'm suddenly warming to the idea of her own iPod! I also love the idea of aunts and uncles making recordings using garage band or audacity. Thanks for the great ideas--keep 'em coming!

How about creating your own personal audio books with your child? Of course they aren't for public use, but for your own personal use. You or your daughter, or your husband could read the book into a player that makes podcasts. There are players such as garage band (mac), or audacity (pc) which require some small learning, but can be great fun for you and your kids once you get familiar with it. It might stimulate your child to create even more wonderful things, or tell their own stories through podcasting.

You might want to check your local library. It's possible to download audiobooks from many libraries -- at no cost.

How about an audio book swap with neighborhood families or through your daughter's school? An audio book exchange might even lead to some interesting discussions or a kids book club!

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"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." — Paul Sweeney