Amidst all the other listening activities and ideas, pairing audiobooks with print books is a teaching technique we don't get to talk about much, here on the blog. However, as we'll hear from Derek Deremer, pairing is not only a legitimate method of supporting students, it can be just the thing to engage your reluctant readers! Derek is an ELA teacher supporting 8th graders in South Carolina and he agreed to share how he is using audiobooks with his students.
T2g: How are you using audiobooks in your every day classroom routine?
DD: We are largely using it as a remediation and audio support tool for struggling and reluctant readers. A few years ago, I began having students listen to audiobooks while reading their respective books. Through my own anecdotal research of adults and students, it seemed most people who are struggling or reluctant readers were not read to when they were younger. I hypothesize (and maybe this has been proven) that there is some inner desire to have someone read a book to us, and in a growing age of technology, it's being prioritized less and less by parents. Therefore, when a human voice reads written words to us, there's something innately captivating about the intimate process. It has worked time and time again over the years and that's my only conclusion: kids love being read to, even into their early teenage years. It's what's caused roughly ten of my kids this year to claim that "this was the first book they actually read." And considering I watched them go through it 10-15 minutes a day, I could verify that their eyes in fact followed along, and they did read it. It helps them focus their attention on the words, and it makes it nearly impossible to do 'fake reading'- something that any teacher could tell you about.
T2g: How did you get your students interested in listening to stories initially?
DD: At the start of the year, I went through your catalog and selected about ten books that I knew were popular with students in the past. I wanted to make sure they were happy with their first read, as I figured that would be essential for buy-in. At open house, I had many parents essentially laugh at the notion that their child would read, and students needed to get hooked.
T2g: What else are your students listening to on Tales2go?
DD: We were lucky that some of our prior Battle of the Books selections were in your catalog, so we have a dozen copies of big favorites I mentioned, like Famous Last Words, If You're Reading This, Prisoner-B3087, and Adrift, among many others. Students seek out books that they know are on the program and our library has made a specific catalog on Destiny featuring all the books in our library on it.
T2g: Derek, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us! Anything else you'd like to add?
DD: I believe this has a lot to offer and I've witnessed the benefits first hand.