Loving the Audiobook
Audiobooks are the most wondrous of things.
Eons ago, when I worked in the retail bookstores I did not have the proper appreciation for audiobooks that I do now. A couple of key factors contributed to my change of position. My commute to work got a little longer and the radio got boring. So I started by listening to JD Robb and Nora Roberts books on cassette. I found that I loved to listen while driving. It soothed frustrating traffic snarls and made the hour in the car fly by. It was a way to read without holding a book and I found more and more titles that interested me available.
Then we discovered our son had dyslexia and while he loved stories, he didn’t like to read. It was difficult to read and due to the dyslexia, reading was a chore. He was reading word by word and would loose the context of a story a few paragraphs in. It was painful to watch this very bright boy struggle to read and give up over the difficulty. He was in school reading enrichment programs to help with his dyslexia and there was progress as well.
When Ace was 5 years old, I started listening to The Hobbit on audiocassette when driving Ace to his Nana’s house for childcare. He loved it. Begged for more of the story and wanted to listen to it even when he was in the house. We got a small portable cassette/radio stereo and put it into his room and played stories at night. By the time he was seven, he could almost recite The Hobbit, that’s how many times he played those tapes over and over.
We began with short kid friendly stories that he listened to when lying in bed. His favorites were Arthur stories and Franklin and Little Bear, and of course The Hobbit. As he grew, the stories grew longer and they would carry over from night to night. He listened to The Magic Tree House books and Charlotte’s Web. He willingly went to bed as he looked forward to listening to the next installment of whatever story had lulled him to sleep the previous night.
He soon progressed to Shiloh and Where the Red Fern Grows. He loved to listen to stories with animals, specifically animals and boys. We discovered something else while he listened to bedtime stories; his reading comprehension grew at school. We began to combine his reading assignments with the audiotape where we could. It helped him tremendously to hear the cadence of the language and words. He recently had to read Where the Red Fern Grows for school. He did read the book but he also listened the audiobook again to refresh his memory. Now he likes to listen to typical kid fiction. Recent favorites are the Pendragon Series and Drums, Girls and Dangerous Pie.