June is audiobook month, and though I haven’t listened to an audiobook recording since I was in kindergarten I can’t help but notice their popularity amongst my twenty-something peer group. I am constantly asked “did you listen to it on audio?” or “did you listen to Meryl Streep’s rendition? Sooooo goooood….. And because I’m not a Harry Potter fan, “omg… but have you listened to them on Audible?”
Though I have’t as yet given Harry Potter or audiobooks a chance as an adult, a lot of people have, including former first daughter,Chelsea Clinton, who, in a recent video for The Audio Publishers Association is singing their praises. In fact, Clinton has recorded the audio for her recent book It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired, Get Going! and though I haven’t “listened” to her book, I’m sure it’s a delight.
As a partner with APA, Clinton declares that Audiobooks allow her, as a “busy mom,” to multitask: she can walk her dog, drive along congested highways and conduct business (I’m assuming these activities don’t require Clinton’s full attention) whilst catching-up on her reading. If you ask me, these seem like stressful settings to enjoy books, but maybe that’s because I don’t enjoy multitasking (not the key to productivity as formerly believed).
Despite Clinton’s reasons for preferring audio recordings over traditional modes of reading, I believe that we shouldn’t discount audiobooks as important educational tools because they are also convenient. Audiobooks are a fantastic accessibility tool within the classroom; not only do audiobooks enable the visually impaired to enjoy stories, but they are also a successful avenue in the development of reading skills in children.
As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t listened to an audiobook recording since childhood; as a child learning how to “sound-it-out,” audio books became a successful strategy for my teachers in the classroom. Audiobooks encourage young readers to engage with storytelling, while simultaneously developing their reading skills by correlating words on the pages with their respective sounds and pronunciations. According to Cristina Arreol for Bustle News, “more than 85% of what we learn, we learn through listening.” For this reason, audio recordings are also a popular guide for people learning a second language because they, audiobooks, use repetition and playback as a teaching technique.
Though audiobooks have changed in a number of ways since the 90s, for one they are played via digital file and not over cassette player, their ability to engage with auditory learners remains essential.