Audiobooks are a great way to make reading come alive for readers of all ages and at all levels. They can be particularly helpful, however, for children who need to sharpen their reading skills.
Do you have a struggling reader at home? Are you trying to help the children in your classroom sharpen their reading comprehension skills? In that case, consider the audiobook. Audiobooks are a great way to make reading come alive for children.
“Isn’t that cheating,” some may ask? “After all, it’s not reading words on a page.” Nothing could be further from the truth. If the goal of reading is to understand a story, learn from it, and use our imagination to think along with the story, then yes, listening to an audiobook is reading! According to Reading Rockets, “understanding the message, thinking critically about the content, using imagination, and making connections is at the heart of what it means to be a reader and why kids learn to love books.”
Audiobooks can help children raise their reading scores. How? Listening is essential to reading. We need to be good listeners to become good readers. This is why reading aloud to our children is so important. Listening helps build fluency and vocabulary. Listening to an audiobook set in another country or time period makes us better at understanding different accents or older fashioned expressions. A child who listens to such audiobooks when young may be able to better read–and most importantly, understand–Shakespeare or 19th century literature in high school. The ability of a child to understand what he or she is reading determines how well they can grasp information, retain it, and then apply it in both academic and real-world contexts.
I often listen to audiobooks during my commute and as I travel throughout the city on library business. I’ve gotten so caught up that I’ve driven around my block several times just to listen to the end of a really good chapter. That’s the mark of a really good book: one that doesn’t let you go. Audiobooks can grab children and draw them into a exciting narrative. After experiencing a story in this way, a child may be more likely to pick up another audiobook, or maybe even a print book. Nashville Public Library has a large collection of audiobooks, both on CD and in Playaway format. A particularly helpful option for struggling readers is the Playaway Bookpack, which contains both a Playaway and a print version of the same title in one package. You can also download audiobooks directly to your smartphone or tablet from Overdrive (also available through the library). Get to reading and listening today!