I don’t remember how many times a child has come into the library looking for a specific book, and when told that there are no copies of the book left but we have the audio book, has uttered the dreaded words, “My teacher wants me to read a book.” Really.
So kids, parents and educators, here are a few reasons why an audiobook can be a valuable aid to literacy and comprehension. And why it may be “OK” after all to “listen” instead of “read”.
Argument #1: An audiobook is not “reading”. It is true that listening uses a different skill set and physically a different part of the brain. There is research that shows that listening may be a more direct communication path for the brain using language to form images, as opposed to reading, which is a learned process of decoding symbols to form images. After all, humans learned to speak first before writing was developed. Although listening may not be reading, nothing else can help a child learn pronunciation of words and comprehension of narrative like listening to a story. In fact there is research that the human mind retains stories and poetry better when it is read or spoken aloud. If you want a very high rate of retention, add in a visual aspect (as with a storyteller) and these retention rates approach 100%. After all, why are we so easily able to quote from movies we love?
Argument #2: We have no time to listen to an audiobook. I have heard this so many times from parents. The truth is you can listen to an audiobook while doing any number of tasks. For example, try cleaning your room while reading a book. Or putting away the laundry. Also, taking an audiobook along on a long car trip really helps to smooth the ride. You may only hear, “Are we there yet?” twenty times instead of hundreds! And you can theme your audiobooks to fit the trip. Going to Disneyworld? Take along our audiobooks from Disney movie adaptations or Kingdom Keepers.
Argument #3: I’m worried that my child won’t read anymore. This argument bothers me the most. In fact listening to audiobooks actually increases the amount people read by 50 to 100% because you can use time that was spent doing other tasks and turn it into “reading or listening” time. Also, being an avid listener and reader myself, there are many times I have gone on to read the book once I listened to the audio. And that included all the rest of the books in a series and other books by the same author. For example, I was introduced to the works of Natalie Babbitt when I listened to the great audiobook of her “Tuck Everlasting.” Also many great stories have been performed on audiobook with full cast adaptations which only makes the story more entertaining for kids that are reluctant readers. Some of my favorites are the BBC full cast recordings like Peter Pan and King Kong.
Argument #4: I don’t have a CD player. Audiobooks are now available on iPod, iPhone, Android and other cellphones. You can download digital versions for MP3 players and use them on e-readers like Kindle and Nook. You can also download many for free from the Suffolk County Library System with Overdrive and OneClick eAudio. There are also many audiobooks available for free on the internet, like LibriVox, Loyalbooks and Openculture. Remember if you need help with downloading any of these you can come to the library, pick up a handout for your device or ask a librarian for help.
So try an audiobook soon. They are fun and they may lead you in directions you never thought possible. The only thing you have to fear is that you may be spending more time listening than you ever thought possible!
Sources and more reading:
Google’s Project Fi service was established in April 2015 providing cellular phone plans for $20 a month which includes: unlimited domestic talk, unlimited domestic and international text, and ability to use your phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Data is an additional charge of $10 per gigabyte and you will only be charged for what you use. If you have a 2GB data plan per month and only use 1.2GB, your account will be credited $8 for the unused data.
The catch, at least for the time being, you must have a Google Nexus phone to use the service. Project Fi is known as a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that will switch your connection to the strongest possible signal in your area that the service has access too.
Project Fi uses free public Wi-Fi connections and the networks of Sprint and T-Mobile to provide coverage in over 120 countries. Google has stated your data will be secure.
Project Fi subscribers can also get a data SIM card for their tablets at no additional charge to share their data plan. This can bring internet access to your iPad Air 2, Galaxy Tab S and more. For now, access to this service is by invite only.
To request an invite and for more information about Project Fi visit https://fi.google.com/
I recently read an article in the N.Y. Times, titled “Addicted to Distraction”, written by Tony Schwartz. Fascinating reading! He shares that reading books has been “a deep and consistent source of pleasure, learning and solace” all his life, and how, to his horror and surprise, he had found himself recently unable to focus sufficiently to actually finish a book! He attributes this lack of focus to an increasing need to check his email and to surf online.
Mr. Schwartz cites some interesting research:
“The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a ‘compulsion loop.’ Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect. Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates.”
Like Mr. Schwartz, I find that the Internet and its seemingly endless and myriad offerings can be the ultimate distraction machine! I too have been a voracious reader all my life and am always, and have always been, in the midst of reading at least one book. Like the author, I had found lately that the pull of email, Facebook, texts, and just plain surfing was beginning to feel like an addiction that was seriously cutting into my reading time! I realized that I had to do something, and fast. The technology that had pulled me in so recently and effectively was my new smart phone. I had been a late adopter of this technology, and its hold on me totally took me by surprise! I decided to take action and promptly eliminated several shortcuts from the phone meaning that if I really want to check something online I am more apt to do it an actual computer, which is obviously not something I walk around with. What a welcome relief!
In the month since I have taken action, I have finished two books. Ahhh. I’m back to my old self and calmer too.
So if you really want to relax, visit the Library, check out a (real) book – put the phone down, step away from the computer, and just READ!
Maggie has only recently moved to Ireland when tragedy strikes and her goal becomes seeing Nirvana perform in Rome.
Dragons Live everywhere and they’re threatening to exterminate a Canadian town unless dragon slayer Owen, and his bard Siobhan, come up with a plan to save them all.
Think Librarians are a yawn? Then you haven’t met Mr. Gabriel, the new librarian at Cynthia’s school. He’s not dull; he’s a demon!
When Emi discovers a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, she must move beyond her carefully crafted world to track down a decades-old secret.
Suffering from serious injuries, Cadence doesn’t remember much from the summer of her fifteenth year on Beechwood Island. Two years later, she returns to try to fill in the gaps.
An intense fantasy about Adelina, an outsider girl who is rescued by the legendary Reaper, the leader of the Young Elites. But can Adelina keep her friends and sister safe?
Artistically gifted twins, Jude and Noah, tell their compelling family story in rich alternating voices.
Answering an odd help-wanted ad that cautions “ Do not stare at the frog,” Abigail finds that her life is about to change in ways she couldn’t have imagined.
When an accident leaves Veda, a classical dancer in India, a below-knee amputee, she becomes determined not to give up her passion.
Travis Coates has lost his head – literally. Dying of leukemia, he has had his noggin surgically removed and cryogenically frozen. But when he’s revived, all is not the same it once was.
On Monday, March 14, 2016 from 4 pm – 7 pm the Islip Public Library will host our first ever Volunteer Fair in the library’s community room. Many local volunteer organizations will be in attendance so please join us! No registration required.
If you are an organization and would like a table at our volunteer fair, you must complete an application. Please come into the Library and ask at the Adult Reference Desk, contact us by mail with information about your organization, or complete the application online now.
Social, Health, and Career Benefits of Volunteering:
Hey, have you heard there’s a new Star Wars movie? Have you seen it three times, bought the lunch box, and changed your middle name to BB-8? If the answer is yes, then you must also know that Star Wars Episode VIII isn’t coming out until May 2017. Here are a few other galactic movies that will help you pass the time.
If you are a Star Wars fan, you may have certain feelings about Star Trek. But did you know that J.J. Abrams, who directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, also did a phenomenal job of directing the new Star Trek series. The latest Star Trek series has an edgier tone and non-stop action.
If you’re hesitant about becoming a Trekkie, you should check out Guardians of the Galaxy. It has a superb cast including Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Benicio del Toro, and Hollywood’s new ‘It Man’ – Chris Pratt. The film is a bit humorous and has a 91% positive rating on the Rotten Tomatoes website. If you’re a music buff, grab the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, which features some great hits from the 70s and 80s.
Still looking for more? Avatar is one of the most visually stunning movies of our time and has recently announced that it will be a tetralogy (four movies.) Academy Award winning director James Cameron, best known for Titanic, will also direct the next three movies. Avatar is thrilling, touching, and enlightening. The next Avatar will be released sometime in 2017, so be sure to watch this one soon.
If movies just aren’t enough, grab the Star Wars Battlefront video game, which is available for PS4 and Xbox One. Star Wars Battlefront lets you immerse yourself in the original trilogy by playing some of your favorite characters and exploring classic planets from the movie. You can even pilot the beloved Millennium Falcon!
For those of you who haven’t yet seen the new Star Wars, and we know you’re hiding out there…you probably need to revisit the entire Star Wars franchise or at a bare minimum watch episodes IV, V and VI before seeing The Force Awakens. This mini marathon would also be a hit with any new Star Wars fans in your home. The Islip Library has added about twenty boxed sets to our collection of Star Wars I, II, III and Star Wars IV, V and VI so you can watch them over and over again. Come on in and talk to our professional Star Wars guru librarians so we can share with you the proper order to watch them in!