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POYEL: Creating an Audio Library for Quiet Time

I’ve talked a lot here about my general state of panic ever since C stopped napping regularly.  As you guys know, I do a lot of my blogging when the kids are sleeping.  That means that if C is no longer going to nap in the afternoon, then he needs to be doing something else that’s independent of me (and if you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time at all then you know that won’t be sitting in front of the TV).

 

My first attempt at tackling this conundrum came in the form of busy bags, which have been quite successful.  But, as any experienced parent will tell you, when it comes to toddlers you can’t rest on your laurels.  You must always be ready with another plan of attack when you initial offerings loose the shine that comes with being new.

 

 

Today I’m going to tell you all about my second idea: an audio library that I made for free using our own books.  The thing I love most about this project is that I designed it so that, from start to finish, 3 year old C can operate everything completely on his own.  The second best part is that I put it together using applications that are free and accessible to anyone: Blogger and YouTube.  I know there are plenty of great audiobook apps available these days but what is so great about this idea (if I do say so myself) is that it allows kids to interact with books instead of a computer, which is my preference for little ones.

 

The only real requirements are that you have a camera and a way to attach audio to a photo.  I used the free video software that came with my mac but you don’t need anything nearly that fancy.  Although not required, a touch tablet like the iPad or even the iPhone is also helpful because it allows young children to operate everything without using a mouse.

 

Ready to learn how to build your own audio library?  Click through for the step by step.

 

The first step is to gather up some of your child’s favorite stories.  For the first batch I’d recommend mixing up some longer books (to get as much time out of the activity as possible) with some of his daily reads (to get him interested right away).

 

 

Pick your first book and take a picture of it.  The next step is to figure out a way to attach the audio of you reading the book to the photo.  I did this using iMovie on my mac.  If anyone knows of other easy ways to do this please share in the comments!

 

 

Next go to YouTube and create an account.  Once that’s done you’ll want to upload your videos.

 

UPDATE: SOME OF YOU HAVE WONDERED ABOUT COPYRIGHT LAWS. AT THIS STAGE, BE SURE TO MARK YOUR VIDEOS AS PRIVATE BY CLICKING ON THE “VIDEO MANAGER” BUTTON IN THE UPPER RIGHT CORNER.

YOU’LL THEN SEE A SCREEN LIKE THE ONE ABOVE, CLICK ON THE BLUE BOX TO THE RIGHT IN ORDER TO CHANGE THE SETTINGS FROM PUBLIC TO PRIVATE.  YOU CAN SEE ABOVE THAT THE FIRST VIDEO NOW DISPLAYS A LOCK, THAT MEANS IT IS PRIVATE.  THE ONE BELOW HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED YET AND SHOWS A GROUP OF HEADS, INDICATING IT IS STILL PUBLIC.

I AM NOT A LAWYER OR AN EXPERT IN COPYRIGHT BUT KEEPING BOTH YOUR VIDEOS AND BLOG PRIVATE IS AN ESSENTIAL FIRST STEP IN ENSURING THAT YOUR RECORDINGS ARE NOT DISTRIBUTED FOR USE BY OTHERS.

Keep uploading and eventually you’ll end up with an entire channel of audio books.

 

Next you’ll need to create a blog.  I know this sounds like a big job if you’ve never done it before but I promise you, it’s simple.  Go to Blogger and create an account.  To set up your audio library blog follow these easy steps:

Click on the “New Blog” button in the upper left corner of the screen.

Choose a name and address for your new site and click on “Create Blog”.

Next, click on the drop down menu next to your newly setup blog and go to “Template”.

UPDATE: THIS IS WHERE YOU CAN ALSO MAKE YOUR NEW BLOG PRIVATE.  IN THIS SAME DROP DOWN MENU, SELECT “SETTINGS”.

IN THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THE NEXT SCREEN YOU CAN CHANGE “BLOG READERS” FROM “ANYBODY” TO “ONLY BLOG AUTHORS”.

In this screen go to the second to last option under “Dynamic Views” and click on “Apply To Blog”.  Of course you can choose a different layout if you prefer but I like how this one puts a photo of each post side by side, making it easy for C to see his options and select whichever book he wants.

 

Once your template set, click on “New post”.

Return to your YouTube station, click on one of your recordings, and hit the “Share” button.

Once you see this screen, click on “Embed”.  Next copy all of the code in blue.

Return to your new blog post and click on “HTML”.  Paste the code here.

Enter a post title (I use the book title), then click on the orange “Publish” button.

Click on the “View Blog” button and you’ve got your first audio book in your collection all ready to go.

 

I know that seemed like a lot of steps but once you do it a few times you’ll totally have it down.  The last step is to create a one-touch way for your child to access your audio library blog.  This will differ based on the device you use.

 

For the iPad, simply got to the address of your new site, click on the last icon in the upper left corner and select “Add to Home Screen”.

An icon similar to the one above will then appear on your desktop.

 

All that’s left to do is to teach your kids how to use it.  Once they have their books nearby,  they simply have to press the desktop icon, press the book they want to read, and press once more.

 

 

It took C all of 3 minutes to get the hang of it.  He loves it and so do I!  It’s no sweat adding more books as we go and I’ve gotten quite a few blog posts written while he sits contently on the bed next to me reading along to his favorite books with a set of head phones. (It’s especially cool that it’s me reading to him.)

 

What do you guys think?  Will you try this or does it look too complicated (it’s not, I swear!).  I’m sure there are tons of other ways to do this, probably many that are even easier, using other application such as iTunes.  If you have ideas let me know in the comments.

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P.S. Looking for more ways to simplify and connect with your family?


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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra April 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

I love it”

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Sabrina April 9, 2012 at 8:38 am

Love this! Just curious: how did you indicate when to turn the page?

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Good question. Since C is only 3 I just waited a few seconds and said “turn the page”. After watching him listen to the books though, it’s clear that pretty much any signal would have worked from a bell chiming to probably even just a fairly long pause. iMovie has all kinds of sound effects I could have added – I was just too lazy :)

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Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 7:58 pm

My Mum used to do this with casette tapes! She had a little bell that she would ring to tell me to turn the page!

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cécile April 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

fabulous idea!

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Nanci April 9, 2012 at 11:36 am

I love this idea! It also seems great because could have Mama, Daddy, grandparents, aunts, uncles, reading books and adding to the collection, yes? Could they add books to the YouTube channel that has been set up, or do permissions get sticky to do this?

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Mhairi April 9, 2012 at 11:48 am

Totally fabulous idea. I love this, I have been borrowing audio books from the library and have them on a MP3 player for them. We have all the Beatrix Potter and Dr Seuss books. And a large number of Thomas the tank engine books, but no books to read along with them as we listen to these in the car. I love the way your child is totally engage in the photo with the book. Thanks for sharing your idea and taking the time to show how you did it.

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Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Fabulous idea buy aren’t this a violation of copyriht here once you put on youtube

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

To be honest, I’m not totally sure. I think if your intention was to distribute the readings then yes, it definitely would be. Of course, sharing the files kind of defeats the purpose because the main idea here is to have the child interact with a physical book and you have to own the book in order to accomplish that. For a blogger I’m embarrassingly uneducated about YouTube. I thought there was a way to keep your videos private but I could be wrong? If not, you could also just upload the photo of the book and then link it to a video stored either on your computer or on a photo sharing site like photobucket. I opted for YouTube because there’s so much more free storage that way.

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 10, 2012 at 5:43 am

I did indeed find the place where you can make the videos private and have added that step to the tutorial.

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Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm

wow bad proof reading on my part. Isn’t this a violation of copyright

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Kelly April 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

This is fantastic! I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough for this. At 9 months she is more interested in eating the iPad than actually sitting and watching something.

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Anonymous May 25, 2012 at 9:28 am

LOL! That sounds painfully familiar. Tough to have a toddler and infant in the same house sometimes.

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Judean Patten April 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm

This comment has been removed by the author.

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Judean Patten April 9, 2012 at 2:04 pm

This is brilliant! Your step-by-step directions are fabulous, very clear! Thank you!!

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Chrystal April 9, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Great idea :) Was also thinking you could probably just store the videos directly on your iPhone. They can access other videos that way, but they can access the whole Internet the other way so there’s not much difference there. Not sure if there’s a way to make folders? ’cause that would make it easiest if you could. Either way you need to be sort of listening to make sure they’re not doing something else. Thanks for the ideas!

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Cindy J May 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

Do you mean still use youtube for the video itself?

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Andrea April 9, 2012 at 5:15 pm

So you don’t take pictures of every page? Just a picture of the cover? I guess I was imagining this like the other reading book apps I have where the entire book is photographed and a person is reading it aloud to the kids and as the pages are turned, the story continues.

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 9, 2012 at 6:22 pm

No, I want my kids to interact with the physical books and not just the iPad. This is basically just a fancy way of turning my books into books on CD but storing them all in one place where my little guy can go through them all on his own.

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Anonymous April 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm

Thanks. To be clear I am not advocating using borrowed books or making anything public, but using books I own and privately recording them for my use only.

This article speaks about, “The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.”, which would not be affected by these practices.

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Anonymous April 10, 2012 at 5:24 am

Er… do you realize that the audio you are posting on youtube is public?

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Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com April 10, 2012 at 5:38 am

It’s actually not – there’s a step in the post specifically outlining how to make the videos private.

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Heather April 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm

I agree – brilliant! Thanks so much for taking the time to make this tutorial. I’ll be attempting my first audiobook recording this week.

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Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky April 10, 2012 at 3:29 am

Great idea! I’ve been thinking of recording myself telling some stories for use in my classroom, for those moments when I need to assess individual children or get a quick job done. I have also thought about doing it for my toddler. I agree with Chrystal that you could just store them directly on the phone or tablet and create folders or pages for access (and avoid all this copyright argie-bargie! I have no idea about these things either!).

First time visitor, so glad to have found your blog.

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Taylor {Sew Much Love} April 10, 2012 at 3:44 am

I seriously love this idea! You are a genius!!

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Annie Banannie April 10, 2012 at 10:41 am

Great post! Is there a way to “lock” the iPad so that my almost 4 year old won’t wander away from the audio library and into other apps? He can work my iPad better than I can…scary!!

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Anonymous April 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm

I LOVE this idea, wondering if anyone has suggestions for software to attach audio to a picture on the blackberry playbook?

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Anonymous May 25, 2012 at 9:26 am

Awesome idea. I’ve been wanting to do something like this myself, but its great to see someone else’s project first. I wonder how I could go about this without having to use the internet. Sometimes we’re in the car with me driving and my little one wants to read stories. She’s great at entertaining herself, but I think she would enjoy a change-up. Any ideas?

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Jen (aka: Photojenic) June 3, 2012 at 3:30 am

You can do the same thing in Evernote without having to upload to the interwebs. Both Free and Premium users should be able to do it. And it will work on any Evernote compatible computer or smart device with the Evernote app.

1. Create a new note.

2. Chose the camera icon and take a picture of the cover of the book.

3. Hit return a time or two after the photo to leave a little bit of space. Then hit the microphone icon to record yourself reading the book.

(Steps two and three can be swapped if you want the audio before the photo)

4. Sync your new note with Evernote servers and you should be good to go on any device!

You might want to make a separate notebook within Evernote just for your audio files. You can add as many new notes with books/audio that your account allows. I don’t know if there is a way to directly link the notebook onto your smart device homepage however.

Hope this helps!

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Ashley Wells November 29, 2013 at 11:54 pm

This method seems a lot easier! Thanks for sharing!

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Laurke Denise June 12, 2012 at 2:40 am

I really need to learn how to use Evernote…seems like there are so many possibilities with it! This is a great post, and an excellent use of technology to make life easier.

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Michelle June 17, 2012 at 2:49 am

This is what I do… Record your stories as mp3 (any sound recorder available on your computer, non-Macs will have Sound Recorder under Accessories on the Start Menu, don’t know Macs to know what to call it, but I know there is a basic sound recorder you can use) and then use iTunes to index them and add a cover photo for the “album”. My 4 year old can sign herself in to my laptop with her own user and then find only the albums in iTunes that I want her to access, as well as only the sites (like Peep and the Big Wide World!!!) that I want her to on the browser.

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Jamie September 24, 2012 at 9:33 pm

You can actually do this in Garage Band on a Mac. You can attach the picture to it as well and then play them in itunes. They can be in their own playlist. I used to do this for my ESOL students. I’m so glad I saw this post because I just had a baby and I can’t wait to start recording her books for her!

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daniebob November 29, 2012 at 12:06 am

Some publishers do still put out books with CDs in the back. The CDs are usually audio recordings of someone reading the book. When you go to the library or the bookstore, ask for book and CD pairs. They’re usually available for picture books, which is great for your little guy. As he gets older, though, you may have to check out an audio book and a separate book to read along with.

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Gretchen February 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Is there a way to get them to play on a Kindle? I used Evernote on my Iphone and it will play on my PC but not on my Kindle. It says the Kindle doesn’t work with wav files.

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mpmk February 4, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Sorry Gretchen, that’s above my tech level. Anyone else know?

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Ha Le February 27, 2013 at 6:26 am

Thanks for sharing.

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Mejam May 9, 2013 at 8:40 am

Great idea!
I have been experimenting with a similar idea. I used the ipad to take photos of each page of a story book and used an extremely easy app called book creator to compile the pictures into a book. I then used the voice recorder in the app to add sound to each page. This works really well and saves the books in iBooks. It is great when on holidays etc because you can take the books with you without the bulk. However I love your Idea of the kids still interacting with the physical book. I will continue to use book creator but just take a photo of the cover.
Thanks!!!

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Steph (MPMK Founder) May 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Ah – so much easier! Thanks for the great app tip.

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