One of the most common reasons people love audiobooks for kids is because listening to stories reduces screen time. In the same way that children love to snuggle up to an adult for bedtime stories, audiobooks provide an audio hug that both draws listeners in and encourages them to get comfy and stay a while. If you haven't embraced the audiobook trend yet, here are just three reasons parents, teachers, and librarians love them for their students.
Audiobooks support text comprehension.
There are several reasons this is true. First, listening removes the need to decode printed text. Sounding out words can be a speed bump for some readers - especially emerging readers or readers for whom English is not their primary language. Audiobooks provide a way to access content without the speed bumps, allowing students to focus on the content, leading to better comprehension. Second, audiobooks are performances. Many titles incorporate sound effects, additional voices, or music. These enhancements increase the enjoyment factor and prompt the imagined scenery and settings. By stimulating the listener's mind's eye, audiobooks encourage a deeper feeling of 'getting lost' in a story.
Listening to sophisticated languages increases vocabulary.
Stories provide the ever-important context we need to understand new words. Because listening doesn't require any decoding of printed text, listeners can focus on the content, and often absorb new words more easily. Listeners' ears can slide easily over new terminology because the surrounding context is read smoothly. Students likely won't even realize how much their personal word banks are growing. Hooray for hidden learning!
Audiobooks expand interest areas.
As I've mentioned, audiobooks are performances. Ask any audiobook lover and they'll tell you they have some favorite narrators. One of the less frequently mentioned benefits of audiobooks is that once you find a narrator you love, almost any title they perform suddenly sounds more interesting. Maybe your favorite genre is fantasy, but one series was read by a particular narrator whose voice instantly relaxes you. Try searching for other titles performed by that person. Maybe they've recorded a biography or historical fiction novel that, when read in that soothing voice, could draw you in just as much as a fantasy story.
How do audiobooks help you manage screen time, for yourself or for your students?