Audiobooks have long been a popular means of enjoying literature, providing an excellent way for people to immerse themselves in stories while on the go or just relaxing at home. But now, audiobooks are proving to be a valuable tool for educators as well. Research has shown that audiobooks can be a powerful aid in the classroom, helping to boost literacy, comprehension, and enjoyment of reading.
For struggling readers, audiobooks can be invaluable. When students are able to hear text spoken aloud, they’re more likely to engage with it and comprehend it. Audiobooks can also help build vocabulary and develop oral language skills, especially among students who may not have access to a rich reading environment at home. Audiobooks can be used to scaffold reading material, allowing students to comprehend literature they would not have been able to in print.
Audiobooks can also be beneficial for students with learning disabilities, who may struggle with traditional print-based books. Audiobooks can provide access to the same content as print-based books, but in an alternative format that may be easier to comprehend and emphasize phonological skills. This promotes inclusion and equity in the classroom.
Listening to audiobooks in the classroom can also be a great way to increase student engagement and motivation, especially when it comes to longer texts or challenging works of literature. By incorporating audiobooks into reading complements, students can be more invested in the works, as they are hearing an authentic voice that brings the story to life. A study by KQED on Amazon’s Alexa’s reading efficiency reported that listening to audiobooks increased engagement from students, and motivated students to continue reading.
Audiobooks have even more to offer in the classroom than just promoting reading skills. They can be used to teach listening, pronunciation, and voice recognition skills. Audiobooks can also be used in a multimodal approach, encouraging students to engage with literature using multiple senses, such as listening and reading simultaneously.
In conclusion, audiobooks can offer an alternative to traditional print-based books, and can be a valuable tool to support literacy development, inclusivity and equity, and student engagement and motivation. In an evolving, modern world, teachers need to use the technological resources provided to promote critical thinking, comprehension and creative writing through a multimodal approach.
McNabb, M. (2009). Audiobooks as Assistive Technology. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 52(4), 336-345.
KQED Education: Can Amazon Alexa Help Teach Kids to Read? Study Finds Yes
Ricketts, K., & Nation, K. (2009). Children’s Pronunciation of Words in Reading Vocabulary: A Comparison of Traditional and Technology-Based Approaches. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(1), 70-81.
Johnson, L. (2010). Audiobooks and the Next Generation of Readers. School Library Journal, 56(11), 28-30.