I recently discovered a way to encourage my son to find reading for the enjoyment of a story. I found that an audio drama excited his curiosity and inspired him to ask for more books.
I’ve often written about my son and how he started reading at a very early age. I can remember he would take his Winnie the Pooh board books and then re-type them into our computer’s Word program when he was so little. By the time he was 3 he could read fluently. We would drive down the road and he’d read billboards, and street signs. He’d pick up magazines and sit and read them to me.
By the time he was 6 he would pour through encyclopedias, dictionaries and science books. He would dutifully read any book, regardless of length, that I would give to him. But, in all of that time he did not read for the enjoyment of the story. He read as a way to fill his insatiable need for knowledge.
That isn’t a bad thing, in and of itself.
Yet, when I would think back to my own days as a child, especially summer days, I remember fondly sitting by the pool or on the big rock on the hill behind our house, or under the covers at night with a flashlight reading books. I remember the joy that books brought to me as I imagined a world outside of my small hometown.
And I wanted him to find that enjoyment too.
Over the years I’ve bought, borrowed, and downloaded a lot of books hoping to find one that would be the inspirational story he would need to want to read more books for the purpose of simply enjoying a good story. And, over the years he has read many stories, some which were my own favorites. But, he never really came to love the art of reading for enjoyment.
I received this audio drama for free in exchange for this review and am being fairly compensated for my time in trying and reviewing the product. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
Introducing Audio Drama to Inspire the Joy of Reading
That was until I introduced him to The Dragon and The Raven from Heirloom Audio.
When the Audio CD first came in the mail I happened to be in bed because I wasn’t feeling well. So I said, hey why don’t you lay down here and we’ll listen to this book together. Reluctantly, he agreed. He’d rather be off playing Minecraft and building cruise ships, but he’s always a dutiful child and I think he did so because he thought it would make me feel better if he listened to the story with me, since I wasn’t feeling well.
We put the CD into my laptop and before long the dramatic music began and the story began to unfold.
It wasn’t long before he was totally invested in the story. I could tell because he would begin to hum along with the musical score. He’d gasp and get excited appropriately as the excitement of battles took place. Listening with him reminded me of when I was a little girl and my older sister and I would lay in bed and listen to radio dramas.
The Dragon and the Raven is a story set in England during the invasion by the Danes. Young Edmund finds himself having to grow up quickly, to become a man as the only home he’s ever known is overtaken by brutish Danes.
I saw something spark in his eye!
We listened for a good bit of the story.
Young Edmund soon finds that while he had longed to be considered a man, the truth of having to be a man means facing hard things.
We came to a good place in the story to take a bit of a break and my son went off to do something else. And, I thought. Oh, well. I thought it was going to be something he’d want to enmesh himself in until it was over, but, alas it seemed not.
Well that wasn’t at all the case. The next day I had to run errands. Which is my son’s least favorite thing to do in the whole world, because he has much better things to do with his time, than be in the van running from store to store, bank, dry cleaners, etc. But, not that day!
Before we left he said, “Hey mom, can I take along that CD we were listening to yesterday?”
“You mean The Dragon and The Raven?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s the one, it was great and I’d really like to hear more.”
“Of course.” I tried not to show my excitement.
Throughout the rest of the day he was listening to the story of Edmund. After seeing his father die in battle, he finds himself before young King Alfred and together they learn that the only key to victory is one that leads them back to God.
By the time we returned home we had completed the first CD.
About a week later it was time for us to head back east to Ohio and West Virginia to visit with family and friends. Of course I tucked the CD into my bag. It is, after all, a 12 hour trip.
At some point I asked if he’d like to listen to the rest of The Dragon and The Raven and he was thrilled. We donned our earphones. We happen to have an awesome Chrysler Town & Country that has zoned audio, so we could listen via earphones, and my husband could still listen to sports talk radio as we drove.
As the rest of the story of battle, intrigue, taking to the sea, and a budding romance began to fully unfold in our ears, the excitement in my child built. I could see him in the back seat and I knew that he was fully invested in the story because he simply sat listening. He wasn’t playing a game on his tablet, phone or laptop. He wasn’t watching out the window or flipping through a LEGO magazine. He was simply, listening to the story.
I could tell that he was entirely hooked!
I’m not going to spoil the story for you. It is a beautifully woven masterpiece, one that your whole family can listen to and enjoy.
Seeing a Change After the Audio Drama
A few weeks later, summer being in full swing, I decided to see if he had truly been inspired by the audio drama. I laid a random chapter book in his path hoping he’d gravitate toward it. And do you know what? He did! He picked it up, and went off to his bedroom to read, just because he was interested in the story. And each day for about a week he diligently read a couple of chapters.
At the end of that book, he said. “You know, mom. This is the 1st book in a series of book. Can we get the rest?”
Oh, be still my heart! “Yes, we can.” We did, and he is continuing his newfound journey of discovering the joy of reading for no other reason, than to enjoy a good story. I truly think the audio drama from Heirloom Audio broke down a wall that had separated his love of learning from books to expose a joy that can come from a good story.
5 Audio Dramas to Choose From
Heirloom Audio has masterfully produced 5 historical audio drama stories. There are currently five available.
- The Dragon and The Raven
- Beric the Briton
- With Lee in Virginia
- In Freedom’s Cause, the real story of Wallace and Bruce
- Under Drake’s Flag
They are all adapted from the marvelous works of masterful storyteller G.A. Henty. The thing that I love the most about these stories is that they are clean, wholesome, family friendly and have a Christian moral to the story woven into the historical drama.
Audio Drama Giveaway
How cool is this? Heirloom Audio is giving away two copies of The Dragon and The Raven. And you could win one for your own family. Simply use the widget below to enter to win.
Follow Heirloom Audio on your favorite social media channel to stay up-to-date on all of the products they offer. In fact, I noticed in their store that they have a companion curriculum to go along with The Dragon and The Raven. Now wouldn’t that make a nice additional supplement to your literature study for the year?
- The Extraordinary Adventures of G.A. Henty
- Beric the Briton on Facebook
- Heirloom Audio
Have you used audio dramas in your homeschool? If so, tell me how they have affected your students? I know I plan to gather a few more for my son to have available throughout the year.
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