First commenter wins a Playaway audiobook!

Recorded Books on PlayawayHappy end of the school year! To help you celebrate, we are giving away a FREE Recorded Books Playaway audiobook and matching print book to the very first person to leave a comment for this post! Just leave us your email, and we’ll contact you. In the post, let us know what title you’d like to have on Playaway and how you plan to use it in your classroom. Choose from our unparalleled K-12 collection of Recorded Books on Playaway.

Pairing Recorded Books Playaways with print books is a great way to motivate readers. Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath of White Marsh Elementary have told us that their students love checking out the Playaways and even take them to listen and read at home.

And even if you’re too late to win, still let us know what you like about audiobooks and Playaways from Recorded Books! We are always looking for motivated educators to feature, and we hope you continue to check back with us for great new ideas over the summer. Try subscribing to our RSS feed for updates.

Also – please note that today, as of 1pm (EST), downloads of Joyful Noise have been disabled. But you can still listen/play the audio from online! Scroll down or click on the “Free Audiobook Lesson Guides” category in the sidebar for access to the guides and audio.

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30 Responses


  2. I love Recorded Books audiobooks for my struggling readers in my middle school library at Lindero Canyon MS, and would love to try the playaways.

  3. THE TITLES ARE OUTSTANDING! I was happy to see that The OUTSIDERS by SE Hinton is an availalbe title. We have used this book extensivelty in botht he middle and high school resouce rooms. our studnets who are struggling to read really connect with this book. It would be wonderful to have this book in reocorded format.

  4. I am a media specialist! I would love The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. I have been able to connect a lot of reluctant/struggling readers to this title. A playaway would allow some of my low level readers to listen and read and know that they are reading the same book as their peers. They do not want to be different and they want to be discussing the same books. It would be great to have this book.

  5. Congratulations to Eileen, Jane, and Karen — you’ll all be getting a Playaway! Everyone else, please keep the comments coming! We want to know how you use Recorded Books Playaways, what titles you want, and how we can better serve you.

  6. I use recorded books with our middle school students to encourage reluctant and struggling readers to read. Participation in our state Black Eyed Susan contest has increased since I began purchasing the titles from Recorded Books. This summer we are embarking with a One Book program to bring a shared literary experience for students and staff when we return to school. I would love a playaway of Korman’s Schooled, the title we have selected for our One Book to supplement the ones that I have already purchased.

  7. Let’s try this again. I have a student who was a non reader and with the use of this awesome product was able to re-start a love of literature with him. He first chose The Bridge to Terabithia to listen to. I asked him about why he chose it. His reply was that he had seen the movie. I responded that books have sooo much more inside- he would have to tell me what extras he found- he eagerly listened each day and journaled through pictures what he heard. When he finished we took the AR quiz and he scored 90% for comprehension. I didn’t even get an opportunity to read the choices of answers before he answered. He was so proud! Then he asked how soon he could start again- and chose Number the Stars by Lois Lowery. He shared each day what he heard- he really enjoyed the story and we discussed the historical background too. His score on this book was 100%. He picked up Eldest and turned it on right away. I am the Reading Coach for a Middle school and we have so many students with language impairments. My son and husband are both dyslexic- they love stories, just struggle with the printed page. I wanted to offer the love of literature to them and to my students and Playaway recorded books gives me that opportunity. Awesome! Thank you

  8. Our Middle School Library/Media Center has a large collection of audio book both cass & CD. We have just started adding playaways and the kid LOVE them

  9. Love the books- wish I had Touching Spirit Bear by Ben mikaelson onon Audio- the students enjoy being read to at aany age. If they miss a day, the plaway would help them catch up or reread without disruption.. Roni Dorman

  10. Unfortunately, I was teaching all morning so wasn’t able to check my email until now so missed a chance to be “first” for a playaway. The lesson was promoting the new list of titles for our state children’s book award. One of them is “The Homework Machine” by Dan Gutman and I see that it is a Playaway title so I will have to order it (and a few others) and give Playaway a try.

  11. I would love to have a PlayAway for any of the Young Reader’s Choice Award books or the Washington Sasquatch Award because it enables struggling readers and students with special needs at my school to have equal access to these books that their peers are reading. Students feel a sense of pride when they ‘read’ a book that their classmates are all talking about that would normally be one they might carry around for looks but not truly be able to tackle. Thanks for running this contest.

  12. I’d love to try a Playaway. Perhaps a good choice for ELLs. How long do the batteries last?

  13. We’re thrilled with all the input – thanks everyone! Don’t forget to check out the other contests we have running right now for more freebies!

    @Patty McClune – Playaways (and Recorded Books in general) are a great choice for ELL! The batteries last quite a while – of course it depends on how the students use them, but you definitely shouldn’t have to change them after each student’s use. A teacher/librarian who has already used them intensively may be able to give you a better idea…

    They only need one battery to run, and one battery comes with each Playaway to start out with. Recorded Books does sell rechargeable batteries and battery chargers. See under the ‘Equipment/Accessories’ listing.

  14. We have used playaways for about 2 years. We buy a box of batteries and extra headphones. This year we signed out an extra battery when the playaway was signed out. That worked well. If a battery went dead, it could be easily replaced. I am a hs librarian.

  15. I would like to receive a playaway for my students in the library media center. I think it would be appropriate to introduce the VA Readers’ Choice titles for 2008–2009. My older students, 3rd and 4th grades, need something to turn them on to reading. If it is anything concerning technology, they are all for it. Thanks for listening.

  16. I am thinking about ordering Playaways for our library next year. I have used them on a trial basis through our AEA 11 this year and was very impressed.

  17. I’m not a fan of Playaways for the sole reason that when you buy it, you are are limited in what you can do with it. CDs don’t break and will last 10+ years. Students can be staggered (student A can start on CD1 when student B has already moved on to CD 2)

    With a CD, there is much more flexibility in the types of players that can be used – headphones, speakers, or the nearest computer – whatever is matches the need of the moment – without digging up cables, etc.

    I feel similiarly about iPods. Our school spend ~$600 on two iPods for audiobooks when we could have bought two personal cd players and 10+ audio books on cd.

    I see buying books as PlayAways as a step backward in making the materials available to students.

  18. I love audio books! So do my students. They especially love the playaways. One student said she likes to listen as she walks for exercise. I even have some of my teachers sold on them. One even told me she uses them on the treadmill.
    Thanks Recorded Books!
    Teacher Librarian

  19. Graeme, thanks for bringing us up to speed on your experiences with audio in the classroom. CD’s are versatile–which makes them valuable in the classroom. The advantage I see for Recorded Books on Playaway is that the Playaway plays itself, so it spares you the trouble of assigning and managing electronic equipment. Also, there’s something cool about the Playaway-format that can motivate students to participate.

    Darlah, I’m hearing more and more about how well audio works with fitness. Of course, we know adults listen to recorded books while they are exercising–just as they do when commuting, but it is a more and more popular approach for students, too.

  20. The brochure on playaways caught my eye. I was considering ordering them for the
    next school year. They would be awesome for reluctant and struggling readers to
    motivate and inspire. I love the recorded books and my children think they are COOL!
    I would like Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

  21. Our teachers and students love recorded books. The playaways are a step up for us as we have a mix of cassettes, CDs, and now a few Playaways. The students really like the new format because it makes them feel like we are trying to stay current. I know I missed the freebie, but I would love to have The Angel Experiment by James Patterson. I hope I’ll be able to find some additional funds to supplement our small collection.

  22. My students already enjoy borrowing books on tape and on CD. I’d like to get my library into 2008, and begin using playaways for greater access. Many homes no longer have cassette players, and this makes over half my recorded book collection obsolete. I would LOVE to use a Playaway on a trial basis!

  23. I heard Jant Allen speak at a conference last week. She suggested using recorded books in In School Suspension. I talked to my principal and persuaded him to try it! This summer I get to choose some titles. I hope to start with Lois Lowry’s Number hte Stars.

  24. I’d love to have the Playaway for A Thousand Splendid Suns. In Florida, we have a Teens Read list for 2008-2009 that includes that tile. I am trying to give teachers the tools to make great recommendations to the kids. I want the teachers to borrow this for their busy lives, and then refer the book to kids.
    Most teachers, especially in high school, don’t have a lot of spare time to read, so this is a great way to get the job done. Then I can have lots of students wanting to borrow the book that a favorite teacher recommended.

  25. I am a parent of a child with Dyslexia. I am looking for Audio books that are recorded at a slower speed to help him. I heard such a think exists but don’t have enough information to discern where to get them. He is a rising third grader reading on a grade 1.5 level. Can someone help me?

  26. @ Claire Rusk: Recorded Books has a couple of products that might be able to help him.

    1. Playaways. You can speed up or slow down the audiobook when listening.
    2. SteadyReaders. These are recorded a bit slower (10-15%) than normal conversation, and will still allow your child access to the same books other kids are reading.
    3. SmartReaders. These are easier books, and are recorded even slower. One recording on each is at 40% slower than normal conversation, the other at recording is closer to that of the SteadyReader.

    All of these products are available at under the ‘Special Products’ tab. Also, you may want to try him on regular-speed audiobooks, if you haven’t already. Look for books that are a reading level of grades 1-2, but an interest level of grade 3 – we have lots of these! You can search for them using the ‘Advanced search’ feature on the website, or by browsing through the school catalog.

    Hope that helps!

  27. We are using Playaways to build our audiobook collection for the general public as well as a replacement for our Talking Book Service (serving people with print disabilities).
    Playaways are great for both patron groups, allowing us to spend money on only one format and increase our collection size. The packaging also allows us to mail them to the patrons with disabiliites without worrrying about damage. Our patrons are excited about the format too, but we do have a couple of issues.
    We use the rechargeable batteries and recharge them between uses. However they seem to be losing the ability to hold a charge so that even shorter titles do not play all the way through. Do you know of any way to prevent this?
    Also, because we want to use the Playaways for people with disabilities ( this is a growing market as people age), it would be great if the buttons on the player were more distinct to help the user distinquish between volume, power, FF, Rewind, and Play functions. Is there any possibility that Recorded Books could address this in the design?
    Thanks for any information you can supply.

  28. @Dede: Glad you like your Playaways! As far as the batteries, you may want to try having the patrons provide their own batteries if you’re a public library. That’s what a lot of libraries are doing (you don’t, after all, provide batteries when you lend out an audiobook on CD). Other than that, I don’t know what to suggest other than to try different batteries.

    Your suggestions for the buttons are very good. I’ll pass them along to Playaway!

  29. my grandmother really loves playaways because she has very bad eyes and cant see the print in even large print books, but they are so expensive and i just cant afford to buy them for her new, if anyone knows of a site to buy them used please let me know

  30. Molly, you should check your local public library! They should already have an audiobook section, and probably have some Playaway titles as well. If they don’t tell your librarian you want them! 🙂

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