DIY Children’s Book on Tape

You found an old tape recorder in your mother’s basement. Your nieces and nephews prefer the technological alphabet of IPad, X-Box and YouTube to anything from your childhood. What do you do with an old piece of machinery like a tape recorder? Hmmm, this reminds me of something…

The year was 1980, with Mrs. K. In my six-year old-eyes, she was the best first grade teacher, ever.

Homemade Books on Tape were prevalent in Mrs. K's classroom. We loved them and the big headphones that went with them.

In her classroom full of creativity, Mrs. K’s Read-A-Book station attracted the most of my attention. After completing assignments, classmates and I could put on giant headphones with the curly-thick wires leading to a tape recorder! One of us would press “Play” (careful to avoid the orange “Record” part of the button). Then the magic began. Mrs. K’s melodic voice would read to us, even though we could see her talking to another student across the room. Each time a bell rang on the tape, one of us turned the page. (I’m positive this is how I first heard the fun, tongue-twisting words of Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo, by Arlene Mosel.)

One day, I ran excitedly home from school. I had an idea! Instead of watching a re-run of Gilligan’s Island on Channel 5, I read aloud my favorite book, Go, Dog. Go!  Each time the page needed to be turned, I rang an orange bell from a family board game. Not only that, I recorded it all, each word and DING! into my dad’s tape recorder.

Sadly, my younger brothers demonstrated disinterest with my production, so no one else benefitted from it. The memory, however, stays with me to this day and each time I run across a copy of Go, Dog. Go! I nod, and reminisce at the joy it brought me then, and still does.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy a book? Reading or listening…

Under a blanket, in bed, curled up in a comfy chair, or…?Kids' Books on Tape Old School Ding

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