Audiobooks | The benefits of audiobooks for all readers
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One of the toughest things to make school-age kids do, aside household chores, is read a book. If your child prefers curling up with a good paperback to completing missions on Overwatch, give yourself a hearty pat on the back! You’ve nurtured in your child one of the most important habits they can acquire: reading books. For other parents, getting kids to read can be a real struggle.
There are various reasons why a child may be put off by reading. Sometimes the material might be too challenging that it frustrates the reader. Other times, too many distractions make it hard to stay focused. Perhaps there’s too much homework every day that there’s hardly time to do much else. Whatever’s holding the child back from experiencing the pleasures of reading, there’s one reliable alternative: audiobooks.
Some people dismiss listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or “lazy reading.” That’s a misguided perspective. We read to get information, to expose ourselves to different viewpoints, to feel what it’s like to be in somebody else’s shoes, and to delight in the fruits of mankind’s boundless creativity, among other reasons. Audiobooks deliver the full reading experience, while helping struggling readers with decoding and comprehension, or allowing proficient readers to multitask.
Audiobooks offer several benefits for both struggling and proficient readers. Here are some of them:
For beginning or struggling readers:
1. Remove the barrier of decoding
Decoding is the process of translating written words into speech by sounding them out. A child who’s beginning to read has to actively decode, or sound out, each word. Often, this can be frustrating and diminish reading enjoyment. Audiobooks remove the burden of decoding, thereby allowing the listener to focus on the story. Listening to the audiobook while following along the printed version provides reinforcement to word recognition and pronunciation.
2. Improve comprehension
Text is not just words and phrases strung together. Text conveys emotion and intent. Struggling readers may find it difficult to decipher whether a sentence is a compliment or sarcasm, just by reading words on a page. A professionally read audiobook uses the appropriate pitch, pacing, and rhythm. By hearing how the sentences are spoken, readers can infer the emotion, intent, and meaning behind the text.
3. Build vocabulary
Audiobooks expose readers to new words used in context. Hearing the text read aloud helps with correct pronunciation and retention of the new words learned.
4. Introduce learners to books above their reading level
Audiobooks allow students to explore more challenging reading material. Some readers are put off by the old-fashioned language in classics. But when the book is read by a talented performer, the sophisticated language becomes less of a barrier.
For proficient readers:
1. Allow multitasking
Audiobooks enable readers to multitask. The most common tasks paired with listening to audiobooks are housework, exercise, or arts and crafts.
2. Make good use of time while waiting
It is said that an average person will spend approximately six months standing in line over their lifetime. Audiobooks can put that time to good use. Similarly, audiobooks can make road trips and long commutes more enjoyable.
3. Learn a new language
Language learning remains one of the most popular uses of audiobooks and for good reason. Audiobooks make it easy for learners to become accustomed to the sound, stress, rhythm, and intonation of a foreign language.