The audiobook service that’s free for disabled people, with 3,000 books for children and young people

Title image of the Calibre audiobook logo and a pair of headphones

While children are always encouraged to read books, for many diving into a good story or even a school text book throws up huge challenges.

Whether it's a visual impairment, dyslexia, a physical difficulty, or a concentration issue, sometimes finding enjoyment or learning through books can prevent them from moving forward.

Audiobooks are one solution but they can be expensive. However, Calibre Audio is a national charity that provides a free audiobook service for anyone with a disability that makes reading print difficult. The charity has over 3,000 audiobooks specifically for children and young people, including Key Stage 1-4, GCSE and A-Level texts to assist with studies. As well as providing a useful and free way to access school texts, the service is a fantastic tool for children to escape and unwind with unlimited borrowing.

Calibre Audio has kindly sent us an article to share with families and schools to help more people to find out about the service.

Calibre Audio–helping to bring the joys of reading to every young person

At Calibre Audio, we offer a completely free audiobook service for anyone that finds it difficult to read the printed word. We have an amazing collection of over 3,000 audiobooks specifically for children and young people, ranging from Key Stage 1 up to GCSE and A-Level texts to assist with studies. As well as providing free access to school texts, with unlimited borrowing, the service is a fantastic tool to allow children to escape and unwind and enjoy a wonderful array of stories.

Calibre audiobook Logo

The Benefits of an Audiobook

For children and young people who struggle with reading, whether they have dyslexia, a visual impairment or a disability that makes reading print difficult, a lack of access to books can have serious implications on their ability to learn and develop. It can also be very isolating and impact their confidence, independence and self-worth. 

Access to audiobooks has proven to be especially necessary during the recent lockdowns. As well as supporting a homeschooling education, audiobooks have an important role to play in boosting mental health. They can allow growing minds to break away from the barrage of news and information overload, providing enjoyment and a way to help them to cope with the world around them. 

We know that home learning is sometimes a struggle, and several of us here are facing the challenges of virtual classrooms ourselves. To help out parents we’ve pulled together a list of the best free resources currently available and hope you find them useful. You can visit our regular blog page for more tips, tricks and curated book selections here

Our Audiobook Collection

Our collection is crammed full of leading contemporary children’s authors, including Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, J.K Rowling, Malorie Blackman, David Walliams, Phillip Pullman – as well as all the classics. And because we know how listening to the audio version enables so many children to keep up with their peers, we also stock books from the GCSE, A-Level and PSHE national curriculum. Under 16s can also borrow audiobooks from the main collection (we have over 12,000 altogether), other than those with an X-rated restriction (with scenes/language inappropriate for young members).

We’re continually adding new titles to ensure we provide an eclectic range of books that not only include bestsellers but also more unusual and personal requests from our members. We also have the ability to record books that haven’t yet been made available on audio. Our members are at the heart of our charity and help shape the service – and books - that we offer.

There’s a wide choice of ways to listen to our books whether that’s through our new Play Calibre streaming service, finding us on the Dolphin EasyReader app or using our free postal service to receive books on memory stick. 

Kate, Parent of Young Calibre Member and Calibre Audio Marketing Manager said:  “My nine year old daughter, Faye, was diagnosed with dyslexia just over a year ago. She has always loved books and reading but it’s a constant struggle as the words jump around the page, are easily misread and it becomes very tiring. Calibre has been a huge support by providing audiobooks versions to complement her reading. We enjoy reading together, but then she will settle down with an audiobook, streaming from her iPad, until it’s time to sleep. She still reads printed books but listening to audiobook versions as well allows her to consume so many more, helping her keep up with her friends as well as satisfy her voracious appetite for stories.”

Membership is completely free for anyone with a disability that makes reading print difficult. You can find out more about how to join here, sign up to our newsletter here and listen to our podcasts by searching Calibre Audio podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts. Find Calibre on Twitter

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Tania Tirraoro

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