Nothing beats a good story. It's great entertainment, and studies show that the more kids are read to, the better they do in school. While we'd all love to spend more time reading with our kids, sometimes that's just not possible. In that situation, the second best thing may well be having somebody else read with them.
The San Francisco Public Library has a free Dial-A-Story service. It's available in English at
When we called the number, we didn't get a story; rather we heard a lively children's song (who knew that "Here we go Loopty Loo" would be such an ear worm?) that went on for a couple of minutes. Presumably they rotate their content, so you may want to call back often.
The Dial-A-Story service is available 24/7. It's not a toll-free call, so you'll want to consider the possible cost you may incur when calling.