When I was in 2nd grade at Olive Elementary, many, many years ago my teacher created a magically listening center. We would get to go into a cozy corner, choose a book and tape set, stick the cassette into the player, put on a giant pair of headphones and listen to the story. I loved the beep that told me when it was time to turn the page. Back then, I thought it was just fun. Now I realize that my teacher understood how beneficial it was for beginning readers to hear others reading to them.
Listening to a human-read audiobook supports reading skills. Young readers hear the sounds of letters and letter patterns. It increases word exposure and improves vocabulary. Listening to a book helps struggling readers move beyond decoding and right into learning. The world opens up! Background knowledge is so important when it comes to reading. Each child enters the classroom with a different set of background knowledge. Audiobooks help build background knowledge. Audiobooks increase comprehension. Having to read word-by-word doesn’t create a whole reading experience. Listening to an audiobook creates that experience.
Gone are the days of cassette tapes and here are the days of NCPL’s Read Aloud Collection. These books are an all-in-one listening experience. Each book has a built-in player that allows the children to listen and read the text simultaneously! They are easy to use and a great way to build independent readers!