Free audiobooks for children with vision impairment and dyslexia

Post date: 
Wednesday, 7 December 2016
Student listening to an audiobook on her phone

Since launching a year ago, more than 150 under 16s with vision impairment or dyslexia are now using RNIB Overdrive, the charity’s free download service for Talking Books.

RNIB Overdrive allows users to download audiobooks from an extensive collection of titles and listen to them using a free app. This means that young people can use their smartphones to read books for work or study at the same time as their peers, without the need to buy a new device.
Popular titles include The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, with books from the Harry Potter series topping the charts for younger readers alongside titles by David Walliams. New books are added regularly, with one of the most recent titles being J. K. Rowling’s screenplay for Fantastic Beasts and How to Find Them, following the film’s cinematic release in November.

Like all of RNIB’s library services, RNIB Overdrive is free to join and use for anyone who can’t read standard print – whether that’s due to vision impairment, dyslexia or any other reason that makes reading a standard printed book difficult – making this a potentially life-changing service for thousands of children in the UK.

Emmet, who is 12 and dyslexic, used to rely on his mother reading to him to enjoy his favourite Harry Potter books, but since signing up to RNIB Overdrive, he has been able to read books independently. Emmet said: “[Now I can] join in conversations with my family and friends about books that they have read and I have listened to”.

Top 10 downloaded books in 2016 for young adults (13 to 15 year olds)

  1. The Hunger Games (Book 1), Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2), Suzanne Collins
  3. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3), Suzanne Collins
  4. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green
  5. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, James Patterson
  6. Divergent (Book 1), Veronica Roth
  7. Northern Lights, Phillip Pullman
  8. Forever, Judy Blume
  9. Twilight (Book 1), Stephanie Meyer
  10. Miss Penegrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Ransom Riggs
RNIB’s collection of Talking Books includes many popular set texts and non-fiction books as well as new releases for all age groups, so there are both educational and personal benefits to the service for young readers. Borrowing, listening to and returning books is all managed within the Overdrive app, so young people can manage their own reading lists independently, while parents and carers can rest assured that only age-appropriate books are available to download. Users can also choose to receive Talking Books on DAISY CD or USB stick, or can borrow from RNIB Library’s extensive braille and giant print collections.

Watch RNIB's video of three young readers chatting about their favourite Talking Books

World Book Day | Children choose their favourite books

For more information or to sign up to RNIB Overdrive on behalf of a younger reader, please visit RNIB’s Online Shop, call their Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email them at [email protected]

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