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Benefits of Audiobooks
Audiobooks have been around since 1932. I love listening to audiobooks. My kids grew up listening to audiobooks. I’ve seen many benefits of audiobooks beyond what I could have ever imagined.
I still hear the occasional concern from parents who fear listening to an audiobook isn’t the same as reading. Or, parents who fear audiobooks will hinder reading development in their child. Most studies lay these fears to rest. And, there are an overwhelming number of benefits for children when using audiobooks.
If you’ve been holding off on adding audiobooks to your family’s life, consider these 12 benefits of audiobooks.
Benefits of Audiobooks
1. Introduce Students to Books Above Their Reading Level
As your child begins reading on their own, it’s likely you’ll find they can comprehend stories above their reading level. Audiobooks are a great way to introduce your child to stories that are above their reading level.
Audiobooks can also be a way of introducing more advanced books that offer them interesting storylines and vocabulary. This gentle exposure to new vocabulary is a wonderful way for kids to learn new words.
2. Audiobooks Can Help Build Readers and Help Struggling Readers
People have questioned if listening to audiobooks will make it harder for their kids to learn to read. On the surface that sounds like a valid concern. But when we discuss reading, we need to remember there are two parts of reading: reading mechanics and reading comprehension. Most kids can comprehend a storyline well before they have the reading mechanics down pat.
Audiobooks are a great way to build your child’s exposure to language. Children learn new words and hear them in a context for usage. Audiobooks are a great way to offer kids who are struggling with reading mechanics rich literature.
An audiobook means a struggling reader can still enjoy a book even though they might not be able to “read it” with their eyes.
3. Audiobooks Help Build Good Listening Skills
Listening to audiobooks not only builds listening skills, it helps increase your attention span and ability to focus. Kids can begin with short stories and gradually build up to chapter books.
Adults wanting to begin can start with shorter novels. Or, listen to a story you’ve read before. I also love listening to business how-to or other audiobooks with shorter chapters. These types of books can be listened to while you cook dinner, exercise, or do a household chore. They are a great way to increase your listening ability.
4. Highlight the Humor in Books
Humor comes in many forms. When we read a book, it’s up to us to use the author’s written words to inflect the tone of the characters’ words. It’s easy for kids to miss dry humor as they read a book. A narrator captures humor perfectly. And, many audiobooks for kids will even underscore humor with a touch of music.
5. Introduce New Genres That You Might Not Otherwise Consider
Most of us have genres of books we love, and genres we avoid. Audiobooks are a great way to introduce yourself to new types of books. Sometimes, you might find you like listening to a genre even if you don’t like reading it.
6. Audiobooks Provide Opportunities for Family Listening and Discussion
Some of our family’s favorite memories are listening to audiobooks while traveling. There was no fighting in the car. Instead, we were all laughing along to something like Lemony Snicket. Listening together as a family gives your family the opportunity to laugh together. It even gives you the opportunity to discuss tough topics with your kids that stories sometimes subtly address, such as racism, bullying, peer pressure, and coming of age.
7. Audiobooks Recapture the Essence of Storytelling
I remember my 5th grade teacher. At the end of each day she read to us. I loved it. She was a great storyteller. I’ve also heard some really poor storytellers. Ones who simply read the words on the page with a monotone voice.
Every audiobook narrator brings their own special flair to the telling of a story. Listening to a variety of narrators can model how to read confidently, and how to create unique voices for characters and the overall story when children read a book on their own.
8. Audiobooks offer you exposure to dialects and pronunciations
We all stumble over words at times. Sometimes, we think we are pronouncing a word correctly only to learn later we’ve been saying it wrong. Listening to audiobooks offers exposure to a rich collection of words. Narrators go to great lengths to ensure they are speaking the words in the story properly. This includes using the dialect of the character.
9. Audiobooks help make constructive use of travel and chore time
I often listen to audiobooks or podcasts when I am traveling. It’s a great way for me to carve out extra reading time. Most weeks I’m easily able to get in an extra five hours/week of reading time by listening to an audiobook during times when my hands are engaged but my brain is able to listen and process information. And, I’ve found listening to audiobooks while I drive, cook, and exercise is a fun way to help pass the time on these otherwise boring tasks.
This isn’t just a good use of audiobooks for adults. Kids can listen to audiobooks while they clean their rooms or do other simple tasks.
10. Audiobooks are a clutter free way to add more books to your home
Let’s face it, most of us only have so much space in our homes. So, audiobooks are a great way to add books without adding additional clutter to clean. Less dusting, more reading!
11. Audiobooks can help you enjoy more books
There are so many topics I want to learn about, but slogging through a boring nonfiction book on the subject is tough. Listening to an audiobook makes learning fun. And, most nonfiction titles are broken down into chapters that make listening a little at a time easy.
12. Audiobooks are inexpensive and even FREE!
No longer do audiobooks come with a hefty price tag. You can get access to audiobooks from library services like OverDrive and OneClickdigital. Here you can download audiobooks to your computer or mobile device.
And, there are a host of monthly subscription services that make audiobooks incredibly affordable. Audible, StoryNory, and Epic, are a few of my favorites. MyAudioSchool has a great collection of educational audio stories.
And, be sure to check out Bookshare if you or your child have any reading barriers.
Does your family use audiobooks? Share some of your favorite audiobooks with us.