“I cannot listen to audiobooks! I have trouble following along. It just doesn’t work for me.” If you have voiced one of the following statements, you probably have not given audiobooks a chance. Listening is a gift and a learning style. There is a reason why millions of people are listening to books while jogging, cycling, or walking during a lunch break, folding clothes, or commuting to and from work. They want to find relaxation from a message instilled in a book. Acquiring the ability to listen takes practice and attention; however, once the skill is learned, the act of processing information for either short segments or long periods can be achieved without the taxing feeling of exhaustion.
An audiobook listener named Joy expresses, “I’m currently listening to Ruby Dee reading Their Eyes Were Watching God.
I feel like I’m sitting on someone’s front porch sipping lemonade while listening to her life story.”
Listening and Reading Comprehension
At the University of Memphis, a study was conducted revealing that the act of listening offers substantial advantages over reading. Out of mere politeness, we are preconditioned to listen to entire conversations. While readers may stop at the slightest interruption or skip paragraphs, listeners will continue until there is a distinct pause or a conclusion to a chapter. We unknowingly can contribute this to a “musicality of words.” This implies that we understand by interpreting the patterns of stress and intonation, specifically the rise or fall of pitch, in the language. The act of listening provides a much more intense experience.
A gifted narrator may create specific voices for each character. To the delight of the listener, the storyteller’s capacity to differentiate between voices according to a character’s age, sex, and personality can instantly elevate a listener’s appreciation of a book. Perhaps you will love the unique voice of Tim Curry, Jim Dale, James Earl Jones, Bronson Pinchot, Will Patton, or Davina Portman. You, too, will claim your favorites and discover a unique enjoyment of the narrated story.
Jackie confirms, “From an app on my phone, I have listened to everything by authors and narrators David McCullough and Neil Gaiman.”
Sometimes the act of becoming familiar with a writing style, a list of characters and settings requires help from a reader. By introducing the hearing sensation of audiobooks to children, they too will enjoy the magic from the storyteller and develop a love of reading. Following along with the book offers an understanding of unknown words by hearing the pronunciation, especially of names, places, realms, and worlds. While a series is a great escape, listeners will chance new titles just by enjoying a particular narrator. A list of a few of the most popular narrators:
- David Tennant: How to Train Your Dragon series, The Wizards of Once, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- Bronson Pinchot: The Hero’s Guide series, Furthermore
- Jim Dale: The Harry Potter series, The Stoneheart Trilogy, The Starcatchersseries, The Book of Beginnings series, Peter Pan, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Return to the Hundred-acre Wood, Around the World in 80 Days, A Christmas Carol, The Little Miss Collection
- Jesse Bernstein: The Percy Jackson series, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
- Simon Jones: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Unwanteds series, The Thief Lord, Erec Rex books
Lisa expresses, “A whole world opened up to my daughter by listening to audiobooks. From BFG(David Walliams), and Dragon Rider(Brendan Fraser), and now to the Septimus Heap series (Allan Cordunerand Gerard Doyle), she cannot wait to listen to the next segment. By “reading” two levels above her reading level, she is still learning about words, problems, characters, and is capable of answering questions. Is a joy to find my child so excited to find out what happens next in the seven-book series.”
When there is nothing interesting on the radio, there could be a fascinating audiobook to enjoy together! And who said being read to is only for the young?