Up to 85 percent of what we learn, we learn by listening. This is just one statistic for how listening to audiobooks can promote literacy in children. According to “Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report of the Commission on Reading,” the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.
With June being National Audiobook Month, I thought I would take a different approach to the benefits and fun of audiobook listening. Children who are read aloud to, or who listen to audiobooks, learn proper pronunciation of words, increase their own reading speed, expand their vocabulary, and improve their language fluency. Additionally, of the various styles of learning (visual, verbal, physical), more than a quarter of the K-12 student population are auditory learners.
One benefit of audiobooks is they can be enjoyed together! I am a big fan of audiobook listening while driving, especially on long trips. I introduced the concept to my husband and we’ve completed many books together on our vacations. Now that we have young children, we enjoy finding family-friendly titles that everyone can enjoy along the drive. Not only does it add a little family bonding time, but it also helps speed up the drive and eliminate the “Are we there yet?” questions.
Audiobooks at the Delaware County District Library are incredibly easy to access. If you stop in to a library branch, you can take home a book on CD or Playaway, which is a book contained in a small, MP3 player that you ca neither connect to a car or a pair of headphones and listen to on the go. Using a smart device, apps like hoopla digital, Libby or RBdigital connect to your library card and allow free downloads or streaming.
Here are just a few gems for every type of listener that are worth a listen this summer.
• “New Kid” by Jerry Craft. A full-cast recording tells the unique story of this graphic novel. The story centers on seventh grader Jordan Banks, who loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade.
• “New York 2140” by Kim Stanley Robinson. The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been, though changed forever. Every street became a canal, every skyscraper an island.
• “A Brief History of Seven Killings” by Marlon James. On December 3, 1976, gunmen stormed Bob Marley’s house, machine guns blazing, nearly killing all inside. Marley left the country three days later, not to return for two years. Deftly spanning decades and continents and peopled with a wide range of characters assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts, this is the fictional exploration of that dangerous and unstable time and its bloody aftermath, from Kingston in the ’70s, to a radically altered Jamaica in the 1990s.
• “Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World” by Steven Johnson. In this examination of the power of play and delight, Steven Johnson offers a surprising history of popular entertainment. Roving from medieval kitchens and ancient taverns to casinos and shopping malls, he locates the cutting edge of innovation wherever people are working hardest to keep themselves and others amused. Johnson makes the compelling case that anyone who wants to know where technology and social trends are headed next should be paying close attention to the way we play.
If you have a question that you would like to see answered in this column, mail it to Nicole Fowles, Delaware County District Library, 84 E. Winter St., Delaware, OH 43015, or call us at 740-362-3861. You can also email your questions by visiting the library’s web site at www.delawarelibrary.org or directly to Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org. No matter how you contact us, we’re always glad you asked!