Audio Books, part 2
Previously, we mentioned audio books and their benefits to young readers. Audio books offer the opportunity for your child to practice listening skills and comprehension. Improved attention span is another benchmark that gets listed for fifth grade. A story that is engaging, entertaining, and does not require working at the written word makes it easier for students to pay attention to it longer. Some students, with ADD/ADHD teaching challenges, find that because their hands can be occupied with something besides holding the book, they can listen longer, extending their attention span. Listening to an audio book also means that children with attention issues get more practice, and the reward is that they get a good story out of it. If their attention wavers, then they miss part of the story.
Even if you do not want to consider audio books actual “reading” there are two other skills that are improved by listening to audio books. Grammar and vocabulary use both can benefit. By hearing the way a sentence should be structured, and realizing what type of sentences sound right and which sound wrong, children learn by example. Vocabulary use and comprehension can also benefit from hearing the words spoken. Children are presented with examples of words used in sentences, in a spoken format, so that they know how a word is pronounced. By hearing the word in context, they are presented with a meaning of the words, and examples of use. Children who listen to audio books often score higher on vocabulary portions of tests.
As a final thought when deciding whether or not to utilize audio books in your child’s homeschool education consider these benefits. Your child will still get practice in critical thinking. He or she will still have practice in recognizing the literary elements of theme, character, plot, climax and conclusion. They will gain an appreciation for literature. And they will still have the opportunity to escape to other worlds and other times, exercising their imagination. Aren’t all of those examples part of the reason we read in the first place?