Monday, June 6, 2011

June is National Audiobook Month! Press Play!

I love to read! Books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, websites — you name it, and I enjoy reading it! I taught literature in schools for 18 years, and in that time I observed a growing trend. My college-prep students came to me with low-level reading abilities. I don’t mean to say they could not read; on the contrary, they could read. They just could not read well.

Reading is its own field, and I do not pretend to be a reading expert, but the major problem my students’ experienced was one of fluency. Reading fluency includes both the speed of reading, and the ability to read with expression. My students could read the words on the page, but the vast majority of them  were unable to read with expression. As we struggled to listen to one read aloud one day in class, it dawned on me the reason they hated reading so much was that it bored them. Not the subject matter, but their listening to themselves reading in their own heads. Unable to read with any expression or effectively follow a written conversation, my students were boring themselves to death and didn’t realize it.

I knew they needed to have good reading modeled for them. I tried to read to them at times and they enjoyed the process, but I couldn’t go home with each one. That’s when I turned to audiobooks. Using audiobooks, students could follow along with a good reader. Over the years I noticed some students demonstrate marked improvement in their reading fluency, but that wasn’t the most interesting thing observed. Many students related to me they just enjoyed listening to the story. The narrator made it more interesting than they thought they could.

I began to listen to a few audiobooks to pass the time while on long car trips, but the more I listened, the more I was hooked. Now, I listen to both fiction and non-fiction, and it is rare you do not find me listening to an audiobook if I'm driving down the road.

I love audiobooks! If you haven't tried one, take a chance and do something different. You could have your own story time -- with your favorite authors! In honor of National Audiobook Month, go on down to your nearest library and pick up an audiobook. It just might change the way you read!

On His Adventure,