Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to make your own audiobooks!

As I have mentioned our 8yr old daughter is working her way through her dyslexia curriculum and doing very well with it. We however wanted to continue to challenge her mind and encourage her to expand to books meant for her age range. We began a 3rd grade literature program at the beginning of this school year and while the books are right on for her developmental age the words are above her current reading level. We started out reading the books together as a family. That worked well as long as I was able to find a quiet moment in the day when none of the other 5 children needed my attention. As you can imagine that didn't happen often. We decided to switch to audiobooks and have her read along in her own book.  We are loving the audiobooks and the independence she is able to have with her reading. She reads her books when and where she wants, such an amazing thing! The trouble? Not all of her books are available as audiobooks and lets face it audiobooks can be expensive!

I decided to start recording our own audiobooks. Of course I had no clue how to go about recording the books. I mean do they make cassette players anymore? Am I showing my age? I asked around and was directed to a small digital recorder available on amazon. I wasn't so sure I wanted to spend $30-40 on a digital recorder so I kept searching and decided to see if my android phone had a digital recorder app available. Of course it did......and for FREE. Okay I am sold!

We chose to install the Titanium Recorder for several reasons.
  • It was free
  • Ease of use. Push the blue microphone to turn it on then push the red microphone to turn it off
  • Ability to label the recordings (book name,chapter numbers, child intended for, etc)
  • Able to sync recordings with dropbox and then be used on any of my devices
We completed a few test runs and we were quickly up and running. I sit down in the evening after all the kids are in bed and look through the teachers manual for our daughters literature program. I record the chapters based on the way they are broken down in the curriculum. So if she needs to read 2 chapters per day I record both chapters in one recording. This makes it easier for her to know when her lesson is finished and keeps her from playing around with any of the settings on my phone.

So how long does it take to make our recordings? Well lets start by saying I am not reading War and Peace here. These are chapter books intended for young children. As you can see above each 2 chapter set took roughly 6-7min to accomplish. I spent about 30 minutes reading this one book into the recorder. I could have broken it down to just 10-15 min a night if I had needed to do so.

I do have a few tips:
  • Make sure you are recording in a quiet environment. You want your child focused on the words they are "reading" not someone talking in the background.
  • Speak slowly. My first recording was apparently rushed and our daughter had trouble keeping up in her book.
  • Have some water nearby. I found I needed a water break after every recording session.
  • Keep the recorder close to you but not too close...clear as mud? I kept mine at chest height and it works out well.
  • Have your child use headphones while listening. It helps to keep them "in the book" and makes hearing the recording easier.
I would love to hear about your experiences making your own audiobooks!

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