I recently came across this article on audio books and their benefit for young children. Audio books for young children are also known as books on tape, and some traditional classrooms call them "listening centers". I've had books on tape and cd in the classroom for years and absolutely agree that they're wonderful for young children.
Sometimes when we're having a meeting at school I'll use a book on tape/cd for the meeting instead of reading the book aloud. It's a completely different experience for the children. They're mesmerized, taken to a completely different place in the world of the story. It doesn't matter if it's the youngest child or the oldest child in the space, they get completely drawn in.
Quoted from the article,
"Hearing a book read on tape helps her see how the words on the page can come alive in a fluid, expressive way. It helps her focus on the sounds of words read without interruption and provides a model of fluent reading. Audio books also give her an important introduction to listening — a skill that she must master in order to learn to read. "
So true, so very very true.
Audio books for young children are available at the local library if you don't have access to any, and I have had much success in ordering them inexpensively through Scholastic Books.
Scholastic Audio Books