Making Audio Books with QR Codes

Recently, our district decided to unify our reading instruction practices by implementing The Daily 5 and CAFE by 2015-16.  The five parts of The Daily 5 include Writing, Word Work, Read to Someone, Read to Self, and Listen to Reading.  As teachers started assessing where they were, and how they could best implement Daily 5, they noticed that there was a dearth of audio books available for Listen to Reading.  The premise behind Listen to Reading is not only to listen to stories, but to follow along in the text.  Hence, it’s necessary to have an extensive library of audio books AND the accompanying texts.

ImageTo solve this problem, I enlisted the help of the National Junior Honors Society.  These students are constantly in need of community service hours, and besides, who doesn’t love to read children’s books?  Classroom teachers gave me books from their classroom libraries. I took them to after school sessions at the Junior High, and the students there used iPads and the Voice Record Pro app to record the stories.  Files were converted to MP3 versions (the app recorded them in MP4), renamed, and uploaded to Google Drive (here are the recording directions I made for the students).  Once in Drive, QR Codes were made and uploaded to Drive.  All parts were then added to a Google Doc (Title, Author, Illustrator, audio file link, and QR Code).  Finally, QR Codes were printed and affixed to the front of the books with packing tape.  By sharing the Google Doc Master List, teachers can search (using that handy CNTRL + F feature) for books they have in their library which already have a QR Code available.  Primary students then scan the codes and listen!

It takes a bit of behind-the-scenes work, but I believe this to be a low-cost (as in just about FREE!) way to increase your classroom audio book libraries.


8 comments on “Making Audio Books with QR Codes

  1. Ally says:

    How do you get the files to play? I followed your directions, but the files do not automatically play. Any suggestions?

  2. Jill Rosenboom says:

    How do you convert them in a MP3?

    • matthewweld says:

      Jill, The Voice Record Pro app records it in mp4, but you can convert to mp3 within the app. Before you save the file, there is a choice for file conversion. Good luck!

  3. Saira says:

    Hi Matthew,
    I love this idea and would like to implement it in our school library. I have been looking for more information on the legal side of the project but there doesn’t seem to be any guidance that I can find.. I was just wondering, are there any copyright issues that I would have to be aware of? Or is it ok to make audio books for use in a classroom setting as no money is being made from it? Any help is much appreciated.

    • matthewweld says:

      @Saira – thanks for the great question. Based on my research of Copyright, I feel this can be used in the classroom by an individual teacher for instruction. I’m not sure a library would fall under the same protection, as there is a greater dissemination of copyrighted material. Check out this Copyright Checklist from PBS for more information and guidance.

  4. Dawn Gallant says:

    GREAT IDEA!!!!
    Is there a way to create the QR code so that it doesnt get directed to your google drive when the code is scanned?? I dont know if im missing a step but after making the code its directing me to my google drive which i dont want the kids going to.. thx for your help.

    • matthewweld says:

      In order to configure the QR codes so they don’t go back to your Drive, you would have to house the files somewhere else, like Dropbox. You could also see if your Google Administrator could set up a Drive just for public files, or you could create a personal Gmail account just for the Drive, although you don’t get much storage space (for free).

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