The solution to our audio book dilemma

The following is a post written by Cathy Potter. Thank you for sharing your Tales2go experience, Cathy!

I’m a school librarian at Falmouth Elementary School in Maine. I was a 5th and 6th grade teacher for many years before I decided to take the plunge and become a school librarian. My passion has always been literacy, and I enjoy integrating technology into all areas of the curriculum.

In 2011, Falmouth built a new K-5 school that has 935 students and 46 classrooms. We updated our technology when we moved into the new building which meant that it was time to weed the audio books on cassettes that had been collecting dust in the library. I knew we needed audio books in our K-5 collection, but purchasing hundreds of books on CDs didn’t seem like the best solution. The CD audiobooks the library owned were often damaged or missing discs, and only one person could check out the audio book at a time. Many students didn’t even know what to do with CDs because they don’t own CD players at home.

Falmouth Student Listening on Tales2go
When we moved into the new building our district purchased iPads for students to use in their classrooms and in the library. I was really excited when I discovered how readers could stream audio books using the Tales2go app. This was the solution to my audio book dilemma. Students could have access to thousands of audio books, and I didn’t have to worry about lost discs. It also meant multiple students could listen to the same story at the same time, which works really well for reading groups.

Students and teachers at FES use Tales2go in a variety of ways throughout the school day. Some teachers share Tales2go stories as part of their daily read aloud. It’s a wonderful model of reading with expression. Several fourth grade teachers play the audio book Lost on a Mountain in Maine as part of a Maine geography unit. One of our second grade teachers checks out books from the library and sets up listening centers in her classroom. Students listen to stories on the iPad while tracking the print in the physical book. By using a headphone splitter, multiple students can listen at the same time.

Students listening to Tales2go

A number of third grade teachers have made Tales2go an integral part of independent reading. Students may choose to listen to books on Tales2go during their daily silent reading time, and they use the bookmark feature to continue listening at home in the evening. Fifth grade teachers have had success with using Tales2go in reading groups and literature circles. Students who have difficulty accessing complex texts can listen to the books on Tales2go and take part in group discussions and written responses. Tales2go often has books on our state book award reading list (Maine Student Book Awards) making it possible for more students at FES to participate in the program.

Student choosing audio book Tales2go

Listening to audio books is an excellent way to improve listening comprehension and auditory skills, and it allows students to picture stories in their minds. Tales2go has been a game changer for us at FES. It provides our readers with access to quality books, makes reading accessible for all and generates excitement for reading.

Here are some of our favorite Tales2go books at FES:

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

The 39 Clues series

Rules by Cynthia Lord

My Weird School series by Dan Gutman

Diary of Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies

Cathy Potter is the K-5 School Librarian at Falmouth Elementary School in Falmouth, Maine. She is currently the chair of the AASL’s Best Apps for Teaching and Learning Committee and reviews apps for School Library Journal.

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