Audiobooks: Reading or Cheating?

Do you think audiobooks are another form of reading or cheating? Can listening to audiobooks really be called “reading”?

Audiobooks are literary resources which can help keep your child engaged in reading. If an audio version of a book unleashes their imagination and helps them understand the heart of the story, then it’s as valuable and as purposeful as a book. Whether fiction or non-fiction, middle grade or picture book, audiobooks may be something you’ll want to add to your literacy repertoire…if you haven’t done so already.

In fact, audiobooks have been used in schools for those who are learning-disabled or impaired, learning another language, and struggling to read. A great example would be the wonderful work of Learning Ally. They are a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping visually impaired and dyslexic students succeed in education. They offer the world’s largest collection of narrated audio textbooks and literature as well as solutions, support and community for parents, teachers and students.

Listening to audiobooks can help bridge the gap between decoding words and assigning meaning. Receiving information both visually and audibly reinforces word recognition, improves fluency, builds vocabulary and supports the development of comprehension skills. -Learning Ally

According to Learning Ally listening to an audiobook will improve the reading level of students. An example would be if they do not understand a word on the page, they may understand it when listening to the word being pronounced and said aloud.

Audiobooks help students by allowing them to focus on the meaning of what they’re reading rather than decoding words on a page. A dyslexic’s listening comprehension may be stronger than their reading comprehension. By listening to text, students access content that’s above their current reading levels making learning more efficient.

Learning Ally also states that “Audiobooks ease frustration, boost confidence and make reading much more enjoyable by allowing students to independently access text and keep up with peers on both content area reading and pleasure reading. Many audiobooks are read by the author or sometimes include commentary. Because of this, kids will form a connection with the author as well as to the author’s thoughts and the how he/she wrote the book.”

From Dork Diaries to non-fiction and biographies, Learning Ally has a wonderful audiobook catalog for your children to browse through and enjoy. You might even find titles you want to read yourself! Check out their catalog.

Authors & Audiobooks 

We interviewed author Jarrett J. Krosoczka about the making of his audiobook for Peanut Butter and Jellyfish (Scholastic). Jarrett shares his expertise and experience, and his views on using audiobooks in the classroom. When we first asked Jarrett about the process he said, “Sure! I’ll include the hardships…soar throats, paper cuts…”


What was the process of making the audiobook? Was it a challenge?

I actually recorded the audio with the animation in mind. Aside from producing an animated version of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, Weston Woods used the audio as an audiobook. As much as I wanted to tweak some of my lines as I recorded, I needed to read the script straight…my words were already in print!

Do you think audiobooks are just as entertaining for children as picture books are?

I do. We sometimes play audiobooks for our kids after we put them to bed, and after we’ve read to them ourselves!

Do you think audiobooks should also be included in classrooms?

It’s important that the reader interpret the author’s words on their own, but I think audiobooks could make for great learning tools in the classroom. When you hear an author read their work, you get to hear their words with an inflection they were imagining when they wrote them.

What was your favorite part about making the audiobook?

My favorite part of the recording was goofing off towards the end of the session. I got to riff as Crabby for a scene that plays during the end credits of the animated version. I also just had a ton of fun with that character overall—he’s cantankerous.

Jarrett had a wonderful time making his audiobook. Visit this site to check it out:

Westonwoods (Scholastics)

Finding Audiobooks:

There are many audiobook review sites online, such as Look for free audiobooks of classic titles such as Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit at Wired for Books and L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz at Audiobooks for Free and look to your public library for  audiobooks which you can check out and return just as you would a conventional book.

(Tip for authors! Make audiobooks with reader engagement in mind. Create a well-narrated audiobook with rich quality that is also a fun experience!)

If you’re interested in making your own audiobook, but don’t know how, be sure to check out our Voice-Over/Voice Acting article for all the essentials you need to make a professional voice recording. Audiobooks are a great addition to the classroom and home. What are some of your favorite audiobooks? Let us know!

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