Audio Reading

ducklings2What 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.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
One Comment
  • Iain Home
    Iain Home
    16 August 2013 at 7:28 pm -

    Given that it is half way through August, I thought I would steal a march on the department stores and start talking about Christmas…well almost…Snowmen!

    The Snowman book by Raymond Briggs does not have any words; it is all illustrations but you could never say there wasn’t a story there. This book is a masterpiece of pencil illustration.

    In 1982, it was turned into a film in conjunction with Channel 4. I sat and watched it as a 5 year old on a 5″ black and white TV that I had received as a Christmas present the day before…now that was technology! There were no words in the film either apart from the Howard Blake song, “Were walking in the Air”.

    So where am I going with this? The article was about audio books! Well, there is an audio book of this story but that surely makes no sense…the book and film have no words so how do you turn it into audio? In fact the opposite it true. It makes a lot of sense. It is a really rich, descriptive recording and the version we have is narrated by the actor James Nesbit. My eldest daughter loves it and I have to be honest, there is never any argument from me when she decides it is close enough to Christmas to listen to it again.

    And the one area that hasn’t been mentioned so far but where the audio book has to be recognised as a positive addition to literature is for those who are blind or visually impaired. My kids get to use audio books as an additional media source and a convenient alternative and they have no idea how lucky they are but for some, and especially in the case of The Snowman, the audio book is the only way that story can really be accessed! I even looked for it in Braille but couldn’t find it.

    I am going to continue to vote “yes” for the audio book and I can’t see that changing.