Monday, August 29, 2011

Do Audiobooks Really Teach Our Kids to Read?

Those of you who know me know that unless I’m at work or at the pool with the kids, I usually have my nose stuffed in a book. Kindle book. E-book. Paperback. Hardcover. Comic book. Doesn’t matter, I love them all. My oldest shares my devout passion for the written word, and my youngest is still learning how to read, so them I understand.
My daughter, however, is something of a conundrum to me. She likes to read, don’t get me wrong, but if given the choice reading a book isn’t what she’d prefer to do with her free time. If she has to read, she’s more likely to reach for a non-fiction book or a book of short stories than a chapter book.
I get it. Everyone has their own reading preferences. There are days I don’t have the patience to read an entire story from beginning to end either, which is why I’m STILL in the middle of the second book of the Dresden Files and the first of Dean Koontz’s Frankenstein, but my books of short stories are falling apart. It’s her passion for audiobooks that I can’t quite wrap my head around.
Princess C LOVES audiobooks. She’ll sit for hours in the living room and listen to the Scholastic audio books on the CD player, and the Ramona books on her iPod got her through our last car trip. With her penchant for listening to stories, however, I worry that she’s missing out on the benefits of actually reading the words off of the page.
With that in mind, I turned to Summer Moser, owner of Summer’s Stories out in Indiana, and asked her for her take on the audiobook vs printed book debate. She’s a mom and a bookstore owner, she has to know a couple of things about books, right?
I was really surprised by what she had to say.
You can read the entire blog post on my blog over at Clever Copywriting, but I’ll hit the highlights here. Bottom line, not only do audiobooks teach kids to really enjoy books by separating the need to sound out and understand words from their enjoyment of the story, they also teach them the ebb and flow and nuances of language and pronunciation that you just don’t get from reading the words off the page.
So are audiobooks as good for our kids as “regular” books? Absolutely. Not that we shouldn’t still encourage them to read, but it’s not the end of the world if they’d rather listen to a book on tape every now and again.
What’s your take on audiobooks and teaching our kids to read?

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