Yes, Audiobooks are Real Books

Yes, audiobooks are real books

Do audiobooks leave the brain distracted and disjointed or are they just another way to enjoy and absorb a story? Are audiobooks real reading, or c504x504_audiobook-loveheating? With the rise of podcasting and storytelling events, both highly respected mediums, why do audiobooks continue to suffer this stigma?

The science of listening: decoding and translating

Daniel Willingham is one of the most respected authorities on learning styles and has written a lot about audiobooks. He explains that there are two basic processes happening when you’re reading. There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words that mean something. And then there is language processing, or comprehension — that is, figuring out the syntax, the story, et cetera. Researchers have studied the question of comprehension for decades, and what you find is very high correlations of reading comprehension and listening comprehension. As science writer Olga Khazan noted in 2011, a “1985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.” Listeners and readers retain about the equal understanding of the passages they’ve consumed, in other words.

Not only are audiobooks a valid form of reading, but there might be some benefits that readers of the written word miss. According to Two Guys on Your Head podcast, “because you can’t go back and re-read when you listen you are more likely to extract the deeper meaning from things quicker.” Could it be that audiobooks boost reading comprehension and analytical skills?

This kind of data might explain the discovery that podcasts help children learn to read. Audiobooks can help the struggling reader, too, who might get frustrated with where they “should” be and give up too soon. Experiencing some success and enjoyment can fuel the hunger to practice and engender an appreciation for reading. “Listening while reading helps people have several ly9515_ocd_read-your-way_bkmrk_thumbsuccessful reading events in a row, where they are reading “with accuracy and enjoyment.” And, listening has been shown to help with decoding, a fundamental part of reading.”

Kilgore Memorial Library has audiobooks available in a variety of formats.  Readers will find traditional cases with physical CDs along with another popular format, the Playaway.  For those readers who prefer downloadable audiobooks, we offer collections from OverDrive and OneClick Digital.  Let us know if we can help you find your next audiobook!

Yes, audiobooks are real books, was first posted to OverDrive Blogs by Patti Carlyle on October 13, 2016, under General, Schools.  Edited for this post by Deb Robertson on November 28, 2016.

 

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About Deb Robertson

Deb Robertson began leading the Kilgore Memorial Library in the fall of 2013. Prior to moving to York Deb was the Director of academic libraries in Sioux City, Iowa; Abingdon, Virginia; and Norfolk, Nebraska. She earned her Master’s Degree in Library Science in 2000 from Emporia State University in Kansas. Deb and her husband Jim have two married children who live with their families in Norfolk and Omaha. For Deb, the only thing better than working in a library is spending time with her grandchildren.

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