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Audiobook Charity Seeks To End Isolation and Make Reading Accessible For Everyone

Audiobook charity Listening Books saw how pupils with learning difficulties were missing out on reading, and decided to launch their Sound Learning programme.

Smiley Team

1 week ago
FOR anyone feeling lonely or isolated, the pleasure and escape of reading a book can be invaluable - especially for children.

But for kids with special educational needs who struggle with reading, trying to get to grips with a story or even a set text on their school curriculum can instead become a source of stress and anxiety.

Listening Books, a small audiobook charity, saw how pupils with learning difficulties were missing out on reading, and decided to launch their Sound Learning programme.

It started in 2002 as a pilot with 25 secondary schools in London, and a further 100 individuals around the country. The results showed how much students with learning difficulties benefited from being able to access the same stories and books as their friends and peers.

The project now records more than 30 educational books and stories a year, all aimed at children aged seven to 16.

Louise Barling is the charity’s library manager. She explained: “Our Sound Learning project is invaluable for those children and young adults who cannot access the written word.

“As well as all the wonderful fiction we buy, we also ensure we provide those books that are set texts and aren’t already available in audio so that the children who need them can have the same opportunities and the same chance at achieving the same grades, and love of literature, as their peers.”

Parents regularly report that audiobooks have had a hugely positive impact on both their children and the wider family.

Catherine’s daughter Sophie was anxious about school and refusing to attend before they started the project. She said: “At the same time we joined Listening Books, we moved to a more supportive school.

“From that moment I think Sophie has listened to Listening Books every day. She loves it. She listens to it every day in the bath and at bedtime and usually falls asleep listening to a story. It has become her oasis of calm.”

And Sophie feels more confident thanks to the project. She said: “Life would be hard without it as I listen to it to get myself to sleep. It helps in English as I know bigger words and what they mean.”

Now Listening Books want to spread the word about Sound Learning and make sure every child who would benefit from listening to an audiobook can take part. To do this they are appealing to anyone with a marketing background to volunteer a few hours in order to help them put in place a marketing campaign to achieve their goal.

If you think you can help go to for more information or find them on social:


Twitter: @ListeningBooks

Instagram: @listeningbooks


Original Article by Jenna Sloan

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