What is reading? Are we talking traditional books, reading devices, and audio, too? What do you think when someone says listening to a book isn’t reading? Some would answer that only reading in the traditional way is reading, and listening to an audio book is just listening. Shouldn’t there be a blended mixture of both?
If a student listening to an audio book isn’t reading, then what is it? In the strictest sense, it may not be deciphering letters and words, or visually scanning phrases and words or letter sounds. With audio books, we hear the author’s words, in most cases read by actors, great reading voices, or the author. The reading methods are different, but imagining what characters and settings look like is still a brain-worthy event—reading or listening.
With the new functionality of tablets, students can follow along, take notes and discover word meanings while listening, too. We know that reading aloud to students has a long history and numerous benefits. It can help make readers out of non-readers when students follow along with the reader. Digitally, a student can simulate a teacher read-aloud and read along—anywhere. Teaching audio reading, with digital devices, should be a regularly scheduled part of every reading program and every reading day.