One-Click Audio Wins Award of Excellence

One-Click Audio from Recorded Books Named an Awards of Excellence Winner by Tech & Learning

one-click audio

Recorded Books’ One-Click Audio has been selected as an Awards of Excellence winner by Tech & Learning magazine. One-Click Audio was recognized by a panel of over 30 educators as a winner in the Best Upgraded Products category.

With One-Click Audio, school libraries can offer teachers and students access to a wide selection of downloadable audiobooks. Users can download audiobooks to a computer and then import the files to an mp3 player, such as an iPod, if they prefer to listen on the go. The upgrades to One-Click Audio include a new download manager, an improved “holds” system, and faster search and download capabilities. Accessible by patrons inside or outside of a subscribing school or library, One-Click Audio serves as a digital alternative to cassette and CD audiobooks.

According to Scott Williams, Recorded Books President, “Audio support is an important element of fluency strategies for struggling readers. We are pleased the judging panel recognized the significance and convenience of a platform like One-Click Audio in providing options for audio support to teachers and students.”

One-Click Audio is available through yearly subscription plans. Its Media Center features an easy-to-use interface with streamlined navigation. Fast downloads, automatic software updates, and support for a wide range of portable devices provide a unique user experience.

“Now that the use of technology in schools is no longer a novelty but a reality, it is no longer about the promise of what a product can do; it is about the proof,” says Kevin Hogan, Editorial Director for NewBay Media’s Tech & Learning Group. “This year’s Award of Excellence products were tested by edtech experts from the New York City Department of Education and the University of Michigan, our top T&L advisors, and more. These companies can be proud that their products were selected as winners by this prestigious team of judges.”

For subscription pricing for One-Click Audio, email oneclickaudio-at-recordedbooks-dot-com.To learn more about Recorded Books K-12, go to


Motivate! Author Interview Series: Vaunda M. Nelson and Kevin R. Free

Bad News for OutlawsNext in the Motivate! Author Interview Series, we have both an author and a narrator! You’ll have a chance to submit questions to author of Bad News for Outlaws, Vaunda M. Nelson, and award-winning narrator Kevin R. Free.

Vaunda Micheaux Nelson received the Coretta Scott King Award for her children’s book Almost to Freedom. Here she relays the extraordinary story of Bass Reeves, a lawman in the Old West who escaped slavery to become one of the most successful U.S. Marshals in history.

Two Utah classrooms will be joining you in submitting interview questions to the author and narrator, so ask away! All questions must be submitted by Sunday, November 7, 2010.

Comments are closed – thanks!

Motivate! Author Interview Series – Submit Your Questions for Kevin Bolger

Next up in the Motivate! Author Interview Series is Zombiekins author by night, teacher by day Kevin Bolger. After all, who better for the October interview than an author who specializes in fourth grade zombie attacks?


Last month, a group of students in Utah submitted questions for Rita Williams-Garcia. This month, we’re letting YOU submit the questions! You can ask your own questions or involve your students (be sure to let us know if your question comes from students!). Submit your questions here or on our Facebook page. Submit your questions by next Friday, October 15 October 20, and we’ll pick our favorites to send to Kevin. If your question is picked, you’ll win a copy of Zombiekins for your classroom! The interview will be posted at the end of the month, just in time for Halloween.

And don’t forget – there’s still time to enter to win the wimpy kid, Greg Heffley, for your classroom!

Guest Post: Audiobooks and Fluency

Recently, we featured audiobook reviews from guest blogger Jana Warnell, an elementary school librarian in Montana. You can read her reviews of Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. She also shared with us how to hook reluctant readers with audio. Check out more reviews and librarian insights from Jana at her blog,

Today, Jana shares with us how audiobooks can help to increase fluency and expression.


One of the biggest benefits I have heard in using audio books with my children and students I work with is the increase in fluency in their own reading aloud. I first noticed this with my oldest son. We had listened to a few shorter audio books while driving around our town when he was in the fifth grade Later that school year he had a book he was enjoying and wanted to read a section to me. I was amazed the first time he read aloud to me. His fluency and cadence were so much stronger! I credit it fully to audio books because he hadn’t been reading too many print books during that whole time, maybe one, possibly two.

When a child hears a book read well they are treated to expression, smoothness, dramatic pauses, and confidence. Teachers provide this when they read aloud, but their time is limited. If you could add another half hour of quality listening to your students’ (or childrens’) day, think how much that would benefit them!

Even using audio books for picture books in early elementary classrooms is a bonus. Sometimes when a teacher reads a picture book out loud it is their first time, or the first time in a year. They can forget the cadence that is needed to read a book, especially rhyming books. Using audio books with a professional narrator who has practiced the book plenty of times before it is recorded would make it one of the favorites of the classroom! I bet they would request that listening experience over and over.

Remember that kids don’t need to be drilled in skills for them to be effective. Sometimes just being exposed to a desired skill helps them pick it up and they don’t even realize they are improving. Audio books are a way to help them increase the fluency of their reading, inside the classroom and out.

Have you had success using audiobooks to increase fluency? Share your story here or on our Facebook page!

What Gets Your Students MOTIVATED?

We want to know what gets your students MOTIVATED to read! Do they love the best-sellers? Is there a title that gets them talking? Do your booktalks leave them wanting more? Will they pick up anything on a Playaway? Do they love listening to downloadable One-Click Audio audiobooks on iPods, or reading eBooks on an eReader?

Tell us what gets your students motivated on the RB K-12 Facbook page and you’ll get a chance to win a free audiobook from Recorded Books! The contest runs from 8/12/2010 through 8/14/2010. We’ll pick up to 10 winners per day, and you can enter as many times as you’d like. Spread the word and tell your fellow teachers and librarians to enter, too!


NOTE: To enter, you must leave your comment on the Facebook page. We appreciate comments here, too, but only those on the Facebook page will be entered to win!

Lots of Great Ideas for Using Strega Nona with Students

A couple weeks ago, we asked you to share why you’d like to win a copy of classic beginning reader title Strega Nona for your school. We got lots of wonderful responses that you should definitely check out. In the end, I chose Patricia Young of Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District, NY:

Mamma mia! As an Italian-American, Tomie DePaola’s books have resonated with me for years, and inspired my teaching units. My ELL students easily connect with his family stories and colorful characters. The tone and purpose of his stories shine through his sensitive approach to human frailty and have fostered deeply purposeful conversations in my class. I would be honored to share this particular book in honor of my mom who came yearly to read it to my classes in her brilliant Italian accent.

AudioFile Golden Voice narrator John McDonough is no Italian grandmother (though he is a former Captain Kangaroo!), but I hope his reading does this story the justice I’m sure your mother’s reading did, Patricia. I will be contacting you and sending out your copy of Strega Nona on CD and print book.

Because of all the great ideas, I also had to pick two other winners who will receive a grab-bag goodie from my desk.

Olivia Perez of Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District, Texas writes:

Wow!! I don’t have space or time enough to tell why I’d like to win. I’m an ELA/ESL instructional specialist for secondary schools in my district. I work closely with 2 middle schools and 4 high schools. Our teacher trainings focus on assisting ELL’s, reading/writing interrelatedness, and language arts as a whole. We are beginning a new turnaround in focusing on reading for next year. We encourage teachers to try audiobooks for struggling readers and to use picture books (just like Strega Nona) to teach out of. We have modeled this through the National Writing Project training. In the summer we are lucky enough to be able to work closely with groups of students in raising scores, helping them to graduate, and raising reading/writing. I’d love to be able to ‘gift’ this at a training to a lucky teacher or during a session with an even luckier student!

Lisa Jorgensen writes:

I would love to win this Tomie DePaula audio book for my school. I was able to attend a couple of Dr. Janet Allen’s workshops here in Memphis over a couple of summers. I was very excited to see where her research was taking education. Two years ago, when my elementary principal asked for what we most needed in each classroom, my answer was a “listening center”. Imagine my surprise when 6 weeks later, a cassette/cd. player with four headphones showed up in each classroom. Except, we don’t have any listening materials except for the textbook copies. We need to have this for our library so that the school will see how wonderful audio books will be!!!! We can invest!!!!

I’ll be contacting the winners soon. And again, thanks so much to all our commenters! Look for more contests throughout the summer.

Winners of the Best Children’s Audiobooks Contest Announced

It was definitely not an easy task to pick the winners of the Top 20 Children’s Audiobooks post. We had 35 commenters and all had wonderful suggestions and comments. There were many great suggestions that did not make it into the final top 20 lists, so please check out all the comments for some great reading suggestions.

In the end, by tallying up titles with repeat votes, I compiled two lists: one of the top 20 Recorded Books children’s audiobooks, and one of the top 20 audiobooks from Recorded Books and other publishers combined. The winners are in no particular order. I also included some descriptive quotes from some commenters on why they chose the book.

So…drumroll please!…

Top 20 Recorded Books Children’s Audiobooks
(Titles included in the Grand Prize Giveaway are italicized)
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain – Narrated by John McDonough
Blackbringer – Narrated by Davina Porter
Bridge to Terabithia – Narrated by Tom Stechschulte
City of Bones – Narrated by Ari Graynor
Clementine – Narrated by Jessica Almasy
Dragon Rider – Narrated by Brendan Fraser
Flight #116 Is Down – Narrated by George Guidall – “This put me on the edge of my seat! I was literally breathless through some parts.”—Maggi (Mama Librarian)
Island of the Blue Dolphins – Narrated by Christina Moore
No Talking – Narrated by Keith Nobbs
Poppy – Narrated by John McDonough
Rules – Narrated by Jessica Almasy
A Series of Unfortunate Events (series) – Narrated by Lemony Snicket and Tim Curry
Stuck in Neutral – Narrated by Johnny Heller – “The audiobook gives voice to the voiceless Shawn.”—Lee Catalano
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Narrated by Sherman Alexie – “The “Rez” accent is not essential to appreciate this adolescent chronicle of straddling two worlds, but is sure doesn’t hurt.”—DaNae
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Narrated by Jeff Woodman
Good Masters, Sweet Ladies – Narrated by a full cast – “Sure I’d read the book before it won the big award, and sure I was mighty impressed with Schlitz’s skill with words. But hearing it how it was meant to be heard, moved it from a grand award-winner to pure genius.”—DaNae
The Graveyard Book – Narrated by Neil Gaiman – “I’m not sure if a children’s book should sound this sexy, but I will happily take my ghost stories with this kind of verbal velvet.”—DaNae
The Last Apprentice (series) – Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch – “Even though Christopher Evan Welch isn’t British, he skillfully creates some scary times out in the English countryside.”—Lee Catalano
The Ranger’s Apprentice – Narrated by John Keating
The Whipping Boy – Narrated by Spike McClure

Top 20 Children’s Audiobooks
(Starred titles are Recorded Books-produced titles)
Bridge to Terabithia* – Narrated by Tom Stechschulte
Charlotte’s Web – Narrated by E.B. White – “I can just imagine Mr. White telling the story to a group of kids. His voice takes the listener right into that intimate circle.”—Katrina Johnson
Good Masters, Sweet Ladies* – Narrated by a full cast
The Harry Potter Series – Narrated by Jim Dale
Hatchet – Narrated by Peter Coyote
Beverly Cleary’s books narrated by Neil Patrick Harris
Holes – Narrated by Kerry Beyer
The Inkheart Trilogy (series) – Narrated by Brendan Fraser – “I understand why Brendan Fraser was cast as Mo in the movie, he has got a great reading voice.”—Jana Warnell
Maniac Magee – Narrated by S. Epatha Merkeson
Rules – Narrated by Jessica Almasy
Saffy’s Angel – Narrated by Julia Sawatha
A Series of Unfortunate Events* (series) – Narrated by Lemony Snicket and Tim Curry
Stargirl – Narrated by Mandy Siegfried
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian* – Narrated by Sherman Alexie
The Giver – Narrated by Ron Rifkin
The Golden Compass – Narrated by the Author and a Full Cast
The Last Apprentice* (series) – Narrated by Christopher Evan Welch
The Lightning Thief – Narrated by Jesse Bernstein
Where the Red Fern Grows – Narrated by Anthony Heald – “I listened to this with my sons and they loved the story. Anthony Heald did a great job, but I am still more fond of my fourth grade teacher’s narration (good memories).”—Jana Warnell
Year Down Yonder – Narrated by Lois Smith – “I don’t know who this Lois Smith is, but in my world she will have closet full of Lane Bryant dresses and a passel of shenanigans up her sleeve that would do Grandma Dowdle proud.”—DaNae

So, who is the winner of the grand prize? Jana Warnell of Montana! Congratulations! I will be contacting you by email so you can claim your prize.

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