Listened to Any Good Books Lately?

audiobooks coverDid you know that June is National Audio Book Month? Really!

Do you know what a cassette tape is? Well, ever since the cassette tape was the latest high-tech audio medium, I have been a huge fan of the audiobook. Recorded books helped me pass the hours on long car trips, enjoy beach days, and cram for final exams on complex literary tomes. Today, I recommend audiobooks quite often to parents who have reluctant or challenged readers. I speak highly about the MP3 books available through the local libraries when it comes to getting children excited about reading and supporting their academic growth.

Audiobooks help students of all ages improve vocabulary levels, fluency (how to read text quickly and accurately), and comprehension. The narrator of the book is typically a gifted actor who turns words and phrases into a movie in the mind. These books can be listened to from any location including the gym, yard work, chores, and even reading along with the actual book. Driving in a car does not lend itself to reading, but it does to listening! Now books can be accessed and utilized in a broader range of ways!

What makes audiobooks great?

1. Audiobooks are super easy. No need to carry around a big clunky book. Pop one in when you’re on the road or while you cook together. Have your child listen while he cleans his room or helps with the dishes.

2. Audiobooks can beef up your little one’s reading skills. Following along visually while listening can enhance word-recognition ability, while listening alone can expand vocabulary, according to Mary Beth Crosby Carroll, a reading specialist at The Children’s School in Brooklyn, NY.

3. Audiobooks allow your child to “read” more difficult books. She’ll be able to delve deeper into complicated topics and listen to better-quality books than she might find at her own level. That exposure strengthens comprehension skills, particularly for children who have reading difficulties, says Crosby Carroll.

4. There’s no stigma. Struggling readers are often reluctant to read below their level for fear of being picked on. With audiobooks, nobody has to know what they’re listening to.

5. Audiobooks are fun! Well-done readings give the story a more concrete sense of drama. We love Jim Dale’s Grammy Award–winning narration of the Harry Potter series and Stockard Channing’s indignant Ramona the Pest.

Where can you find them?

We’re fans of Audible.com. In addition to buying books one at a time, you can become a subscriber to access free content and receive credits toward books. Check out the reviews for audiobook-specific info. Most audiobooks can also be bought wherever you normally buy books. And don’t forget your local library! (I get mine for free from the public library through my computer/smartphone!) To borrow digital files, you may need to download a free app, usually the OverDrive Media Console. Some even have books on mini iPod-like players — always a hit with kids.

Next time you pick up a book…just press PLAY!


Resources

This article from Scholastic lists why audiobooks can have a strong and positive impact on your child or family reading habits.


Dr. Jeanne GiardinoDr. Jeanne Giardino, FLVS instructor, has a true passion for all things literacy. She enjoys the collaborative process in promoting reading in all aspects of virtual education. Having held a variety of positions with FLVS since 2006, she brings a global perspective to her current position. After 20 years in the field of education, she maintains a wealth of literacy knowledge and enthusiasm for student success.



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