Blogs About Reading

Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Create Summer Readers with "Audie 2015" Audiobook Standouts

May 29, 2015

Here's list to grow readers from the world of audiobooks, the format for learning that engages struggling and other readers when books in print do not.

The format, that is essential for students with print disabilities, helps learners access the same books that their peers are reading in print. The literacy that can result from "ear reading" creates "academic" knowledge and the "social" opportunity to "talk books" and be part of literacy conversations struggling readers so often miss.

The Audies

Here is list to send home for the summer. It is comprised of the best in audiobook recordings known as The Audie Awards, which were awarded in New York City at a sold-out gala on May 28. The awards recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment in 30 categories. The Audio Publishers Association (APA) sponsors the compeition for its members.

And the winners for children and teens are:

  • For Teens: Egg & Spoon, by Gregory Macguire and read by Michael Page
  • For Children ages 8 and up: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman, Read by Derek Jacobi, Robert Madge, Clare Corbett, Miriam Margolyes, Andrew Scott, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Emilia Fox, Reece Shearsmith, Lenny Henry, Neil Gaiman, and an Ensemble Cast
  • For Children ages up to age 8: H.O.R.S.E., by Christopher Myers and narrated by Dion Graham and Christopher Myers

Here is the full list of contendeners, with links to each book and audio clips available in the first resource that follows:

Children's titles for ages 8-12

Children's titles for ages up to 8


What's An Audiobook?

Audiobooks come in many packages. Average costs run about $30, but they can be borrowed free from public and school libraries. Versions of this format include:

  • Picture books packaged with CDs,
  • Audio-only books on CD
  • "Playaways" that are recorded books that are pre-loaded onto MP3 players.
  • Digital files that are available on subscription websites such as Tumblebooks that can be downloaded to computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices (check with local libraries for a password)
  • Digital files found on websites that are free, such as Stoyline Online or Storynory
  • Free audiobooks for students with print disabilities that come with learning supports such as text highlighting in sequence with a narrator from Bookshare and Learning Ally (see information that follows at the end of this article)



When students have a print disability and struggle to keep up in school, there is a federal program that supports their learning by providing free alternatives to traditional books in print. The Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) program operates in every state and the District of Columbia. Students who are found eligible by their education teams can learn with materials that work best for them, including audiobooks, PDFs, braille and more. In Virginia, start on the AIM-VA homepage. In other states ask a special education teacher or school administrator about AEM under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and an exception to federal copyright law.

Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with our Reading Rockets audience.

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"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go." — Dr. Seuss