Many young people with reading, writing and communication difficulties do not realise their full potential. Even if they are very bright they may have difficulty accessing the National Curriculum. This inevitably undermines their motivation and self-esteem.
Research shows that audiobooks allow the listener to retain their visualisation and picture-making skills. A reader who struggles to ‘decode’ the words will have difficulty absorbing their meaning on a first reading and is therefore much less likely to be able to visualise – so comprehension, memory and, of course, enjoyment, all suffer. The listener, however, has not only the advantage of being able to visualise as they listen, their understanding is also helped by the tone of voice, accent, emphasis and timing given to the text by the professional reader.
'When someone else is reading I can understand it more... When we have tests on the book, I can definitely tell about the book because I have listened to the [audio]. I think you get the picture more by listening to the [audio] because of what goes into your head.'
If children do not read much, they miss out on vital language resources and their written output fails to reflect their ability. Listening to books in audio form they acquire not only a whole new range of experience, but a vocabulary beyond their own reading level and everyday conversation. Their horizons expand, they absorb the structure and conventions of storytelling and develop much greater confidence to communicate both orally and on paper, which has enormous benefits to their writing.
'They understand what a chapter is now. The structure of listening has helped. They understand paragraphs because when they have the text in front of them they can see and hear from the [audiobook] that there is a new idea. They have learnt about speech marks, because they hear different voices.'
When they discover the excitement of books through listening, pupils want to read more rather than less. If they follow the text while listening, their word recognition and reading speed improve.
'I used not to read because I thought it was boring. As soon as I’ve [listened to a book], I thought I would go to the library and get a book and, if it is good, I’ll read it.'
Good listening skills are essential for effective learning in all areas of the curriculum and will help pupils with their school work. Audiobooks improve concentration and engage pupils with their studies helping them to achieve at a higher level across the curriculum.
'Listening [to audio] has made him more inclined to listen in general.'
Audiobooks enable children to develop vital literacy skills in an enjoyable way, they restore confidence and self-esteem, and create a situation in which pupils can achieve success.
Click on the catalogue link to see just how many audiobooks we stock that support the National Curriculum.
With thanks to Evelyn Carpenter who was commissioned by Listening Books to evaluate our 3 year Sound Learning pilot project and subsequently wrote the report 'Sound Learning: an Evaluation'.
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Find out the many ways that using audiobooks at home or school can help students support their studies.