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Are Audiobooks A Real Reading?

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That isn’t real reading my mother would always tell me when she would see me walking around with my headphones in listening to The Martian, Harry Potter, or The Name of the Wind. Audiobooks have become a daily addiction for me. Whether it is on my commute to school everyday or walking between classes I almost always have an audiobook going anytime I get a spare few minutes to myself. I would always tell her that I am getting a slightly different view of the world in those books. I get a view that I think is closer to what the author would want me as the reader to feel an understand. Especially when audiobooks have more than one reader for the different voices for the narrator and individual characters. Audiobooks have alway appealed to me because of the ability to listen to them when I am doing almost anything else, audiobooks can help younger readers with books above their age levels, and an increase in overall comprehension in audiobooks.

Audiobooks are incredibly easy to to use while doing anything else. The first time that I used an audiobook was when I shortly started my first job doing data entry. If you have any experience doing data entry you will know that it is completely and utterly mind numbingly boring. I quickly found that music would not keep me entertained while typing numbers into a spreadsheet. Then I happened to see an Audible advertisement, Audible is Amazon’s audiobook service. From then on I was hooked to listening to audiobooks on my phone.

In addition to being great forms of entertainment while being able to multitask audiobooks can be great for a way to keep up with reading when you do not have enough time to do so. For myself I have a two hours worth of commute every day and I usually fill those two hours with audiobooks. In high school I was an avid reader and would be able to find time at lunch or study hall or after finishing class work having time to read. But now in college with the increased workload and working a part time job I have a lot of difficulty finding time to read. But listening in the car and in between classes have given me back that time to read. Deborah Jacobs from Forbes has said that “I can read this way on my iPhone while walking to the subway; forget my discomfort standing in the rush hour crush; plug the device into the kitchen radio during the time it takes to cook and clean up; and even slip the iPhone into a pants pocket when I’m doing other chores around the house”(Jacobs). She agrees that listening to audiobooks through a smartphone is a great way to multitask while doing house work or traveling. Deborah Jacobs also says that “This summer I am much more likely to be listening to books than turning the pages. About a year ago I discovered that audiobooks are a great antidote to the problem of never having enough time to read for pleasure”(Jacobs). I very much agree with her that audiobooks are great for people who do not have enough time to keep up with reading as much as they would like.

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For me audiobooks can help me understand the way the author wants to have their words to sound. For example in The Name of the Wind, which I was recently relistening to, the author has gone on record as saying the characters name Elodin is pronounced it closer to Eledin. I would naturally pronounce it with an o sound. Another example of this from The Name of the Wind is the word lethani. When I first read this book I had always thought of it as a word that would almost have a break in it let-hani. But the author Pat Rothfuss would say it more closely to lethhani. Maggie McGuire of scholatic.com writes that “Exposure to new vocabulary comes with independent reading, reading aloud, or listening to audiobooks. Audiobooks can also be a way of introducing books above your child’s current reading level, so that more complex stories and vocabulary can be introduced and enjoyed. Your child will benefit from the introduction to new and varied vocabulary without the frustration of not yet being able to read it himself” (McGuire). Even my two examples are both made up by the author this kind of example can be continued to young children who do not have advanced reading skills. For example many younger readers may have trouble reading longer more complicated words that they are unfamiliar with but when listening to an audiobook a reader can easier use context clues to fill in the blank of what the author is trying to get across to them.

One argument my mother always made towards favoring hard books or at least ebooks was that it is much harder to understand what the author is trying to say and in a book it is very easy to go back up a few paragraphs if you feel like you missed something. But in an audiobook you may need to go back thirty or sixty seconds and listen to all of the material that the author had just covered. As Olga Kazahn said in an online article on Forbes “When the material is difficult, for example, physical reading provides an advantage because the individual can re-read and look to surrounding words for context clues, said University of Memphis professor Arthur Graesser, who studies learning and cognition. In fact, he points out that the studies finding a high correlation between listening and reading comprehension might have had different results had they used complex texts rather than easy ones.And yet in some cases, listening offers major advantages over reading, even with material as tough to parse as Shakespeare. That’s because an audio book pre-determines an aspect of language called prosody, or the musicality of words. Prosody is how we known that someone is being self-reflective when they ask aloud if they left the gas on (or when Hamlet asks whether “to be or not to be”)” (Kazahn). Prosody is an incredible tool that audiobooks has over traditional books. Being able to instantly recognize when an author is switching to types of voice by hearing them can be much easier than reading them. Also Kazahn says that “Of course, audio books are often used in different settings than traditional books are, which can also impact the way we remember what we read. People who say they can’t concentrate on an audio book as well as a paper one are likely overlooking the fact that we are more likely to multitask while listening to audiobooks than while reading regular books. (There’s also the simple flaw of attribution bias. If someone listens to an audiobook and later forgets key plot points, for example, they might ascribe the forgetting to it being an audio book rather than their overall poor memory)” (Kazahn). In addition to her point I think that once you get more used to listening to books instead of reading them the comprehension comes more naturally.

Audiobooks will continue to grow in popularity as time goes on and our society gets more and more technologically dependent because of the ability to multitask while listening, the ease of which younger readers can grow their vocabulary and read above their grade level, and the increased comprehension that audiobooks can give listeners. Audiobooks are a great way to expand the amount of time you have to enjoy books and are an easier way to pick up information.

References

  1. McGuire, Maggie. “The Benefits and Pleasures of Listening to Audiobooks.” Scholastic.com, www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/benefits-and-pleasures-listening-to-audiobooks.html.
  2. Jacobs, Deborah L. “Listening To Audiobooks While You Do Something Else Is The Ultimate In Multitasking.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 26 June 2014, www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2014/06/25/summer-reading-listening-to-audiobooks-while-you-do-something-else-is-the-ultimate-in-multitasking/#701a304272aa.
  3. Khazan, Olga. “Is Listening to Audiobooks Really the Same as Reading?” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Oct. 2011, www.forbes.com/sites/olgakhazan/2011/09/12/is-listening-to-audio-books-really-the-same-as-reading/#1ceb4ece167a.

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Are Audiobooks A Real Reading? (2022, February 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/are-audiobooks-a-real-reading/
“Are Audiobooks A Real Reading?” Edubirdie, 21 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/are-audiobooks-a-real-reading/
Are Audiobooks A Real Reading? [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/are-audiobooks-a-real-reading/> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2022].
Are Audiobooks A Real Reading? [Internet] Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 21 [cited 2022 Dec 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/are-audiobooks-a-real-reading/
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