Audiobook Grant–In Need of Advice/Expertise!

We started the school year with a new superintendent.  During our annual beginning of the year PD day, he introduced a new spin on the CAEF’s grant possibilities.  This year his focus is on “Finding a Way” so he decided to find a way to match our grant opportunities by up to $1500.  These opportunities are available every month and go through the school year.  I’ve been slacking in a major way, but I also wanted to apply for something especially important for my classroom.  I’ve recently discovered the joy of audiobooks, which has prompted my wheels to start spinning.

I’ve noticed this year more than any other year that I have a number of students who really aren’t interested in reading, but they love listening to me read from my read aloud book (I’m currently reading Boy21 by Matthew Quick).  These students are retaining the story more than I would have expected and are excited every day for me to continue Finley and Russ’s story.  These are the students that I think would benefit from audiobooks because I don’t think that it’s a matter of not enjoying reading, but more of an issue of being able to read (well or at all).  If I can give these kids another opportunity to enjoy a great book then I need to do so.

This is where I need some guidance.  I’m currently using Audible for my audiobooks and have been downloading the books straight to my app on my phone as opposed to iTunes because that was confusing me.  Is there a way to have one account to download books and make those books available on more than one device?  Should I have iPods or iPads for my kids to download the books to and use?  I worry about accessibility, finding devices that are safe/easy to lend to students which hopefully won’t be stolen, and the cost of doing this.

I’m really struggling with this one since it’s such a new area of literacy for me.  I think I have until June to write this grant and submit it, so any advice would be really helpful.  I think this can work, but if I’m heading in the wrong direction I’d like to know so I can focus my time elsewhere.  I’ve thought about buying the audiobook CDs, but I don’t know if my students would be as willing to use those because they’d need a CD player and they’re bulky compared to their iPods and MP3 players.  Thank you in advance for any suggestions! 😀


  1. Playaways! These were unbelievably popular at my library. They’re just like iPods, so they look cool, and they can be plugged into cars (and I believe iPod docs) to listen to. They’re pricey at roughly 40-100/each, depending on the title, but PERFECT for a grant opportunity.

    I’d be happy to talk more in depth about ’em if you’re interested.

  2. Make sure to check your local library. Most of them have downloadable audio and ebooks via OverDrive and NetLibrary.

    Like Kelly said, playaways are great, you only need headphones for them.

    Books on CDs can be transferred very easily on any number of iPods as well.

  3. Our library uses play away, and they have been live-saving for those students who struggle with reading. Our public library has free downloads that you can borrow from their website. My daughter added the app to her iPod and can put them directly on it. I have an older iPod and have to first download to my computer and then transfer. Our school library is still waiting for publishers to work out a better deal for electronic books.

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