Audiobooks as a Window to the World


  • Maria Cahill University of Kentucky
  • Jennifer Richey Texas Woman’s University School of Library & Information Studies



Audiobooks, Reading research


Library, literacy, and children’s literature professionals promote the benefits of transacting with audiobooks, and awards are bestowed upon audiobooks worldwide. Research spanning decades and conducted worldwide has explored the use of audiobooks for promoting literacy skill development. These studies have explored various uses of audiobooks and report mixed results for different types of readers and for readers of varying levels of proficiency. Yet, huge gaps exist in the research with many aspects of audiobook use still uninvestigated. This paper reports the disconnect between professionals’ claims regarding the benefits of audiobooks for children and those verified by empirical studies. It identifies the gaps in the scholarship surrounding audiobooks and calls attention to those areas in which audiobooks have potential to support children’s interests and needs.

Author Biographies

Maria Cahill, University of Kentucky

Maria Cahill is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky where she holds a joint appointment in the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of Educational Leadership. Her research focuses on the role of libraries in supporting the literacy development of children.

Jennifer Richey, Texas Woman’s University School of Library & Information Studies

Jennifer Richey has worked as an Assistant Professor at Texas Woman’s University’s School of Library and Information Studies in Denton, Texas since 2011 where she teaches courses focusing school library certification, young adult literature, and youth library programs. Her primary research interest is on health information literacy of adolescents. Prior to that, she was an elementary school librarian in the Austin, Texas area.