Friday, June 25, 2010

Five Ways to Use Audio books

1. Sheer Fun

Audio books are still books. And the reasons you read a print book are the same reasons that you listen to an audio book – simply for the fun of a great story whether it be a suspenseful mystery, a heart-rending narrative, or a silly adventure.

It’s not “cheating” to “read” an audio book. It still counts as reading although the process is admittedly different than visually reading print. (Jim Trelease agrees with me on this.) So if you’re looking for pure entertainment, an audio book is a great alternative to mind-numbing television or video games.

 In our home, we keep the audio book CDs on the bookshelf where my daughter can access them at anytime. Although she still has to ask for permission to watch movies, she is allowed free reign with audio books. I often find her in her bedroom sketching or playing while an audio book is playing in the background.

 2. Redeeming Otherwise Wasted Time

Listening to audio books while riding in the car is probably the biggest opportunity to redeem a big chunk of time in your week. I first fell in love with audio books in just this situation. I was working full time by day and working on a master’s degree by night. Listening to classics (on cassette back then) during those long 45 minute drives kept me alert on the road. I “read” A Tale of Two Cities, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Jane Eyre during those years. With my busy schedule, there was no way I could have fit in reading long novels. But using those long hours in the car gave me the time to read classics that I still remember fondly.

But travel time isn’t the only time that you can rescue for reading. Consider playing an audio book during bath time, meal preparation and clean up, household chores, or quiet/nap time.

 3. Buying Time for Mom

Most moms realize the value of reading aloud to their children. But sometimes time is short. An audio book is a great way to expose your children to books without your actually doing the reading. When you play the audio CD or MP3, you can fold laundry and sweep while you listen along with your children.

If your homeschool curriculum includes many living books, consider replacing a few of them with audio format to free up more time for your other tasks.

In our home, we have that common rule that we don’t watch a movie based on a book until we’ve first read the book. Audio books are perfect for getting in this requirement quickly and painlessly.

 4. Adding More Advanced Titles

Children can understand audibly at a higher level than they can read silently themselves. So audio books are a perfect way to give your children a nudge tow ards slightly more challenging books. Remember, audio books are not cheating.

5. Motivating Reluctant Readers

Most children like being read to even if they don’t like reading alone. Audio books are a great way to encourage independent reading, especially if you listen to the first book in a series. Once your child is hooked, you can offer her the second book in print form.

 Audio Book Do’s
  • Stop and discuss the book periodically.
  • Listen with your children as much as possible. 
  • Choose books for fun as well as educational value. 
  • Allow kids to use their hands while they listen (crafts, chores, or play). 
  • Buy unabridged versions of books so you get all the original goodness.
Jimmie is a former public school teacher and now a homeschooling stay-at-home-mom to her eleven year old daughter “Sprite.” Although she admittedly tends towards a Charlotte Mason learning philosophy, Jimmie is not afraid to “break the rules” and do what works for her particular situation -- living abroad with an only child in a bilingual environment. Visit her blog Jimmie's Collage.

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