Saturday, January 15, 2011

Audio Books, part 1

Audio books, part 1

Do you use audio books as part of your home school curriculum? We know that audio books are great for children who have reading or visual learning problems. The good news is that audio books are of great for all students. In the past, audio books were not looked on as educational materials as much as they were looked on as entertainment. I’m a firm believer that education should be entertaining. Of course, not all education can be entertaining, but the parts that can be, should be.

There are major benefits to listening to audio books. First there is the practice in listening skills . As your child hits fifth grade many of the benchmarks for that grade are things that cannot be measured. “Improved listening skills” is one of those benchmarks that you will just have to decide for yourself if it is an improvement over previous years. It is not really a fair test to see whether listening skills are improved by asking your child to do something, and that thing not getting done. In the larger picture, this benchmark is meant to show overall improvement in the skill. One way to measure if your child’s listening skills are improving is to have them listen to the audio book, and then tell the story back to you.

Another skill that can be improved by the addition of audio books to your child’s education is comprehension. Reading comprehension is a skill that should be constantly improving. While the audios are not technically reading, the same measurements of success can apply. Comprehension in its most basic form is simply the understanding of language. For some children, listening to the audio will be too fast, but for many children, especially those children who have difficulty reading, the audio book does not present the information too quickly. Audio books can have an added benefit for children whose primary language was not English. Many times those children comprehend spoken speech at a higher level than they can read. It seems a shame not to expose them to age appropriate literature because their reading has not caught up to their verbal skills.

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