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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Audiobooks Can Improve Word Recognition, Pronunciation and Visualization Abilities

Did you know that audiobooks or books on tape can improve word recognition, the proper pronunciation of words and also develop visualization abilities?  Passive learners may not obtain these perks, but with guided instruction on active and mindful reading, these benefits can be easily attainable.

How Can Students Reap The Benefits of Audiobooks?
For young learners to get the most out of audiobooks, they must learn to be active participants in the reading process.  They can take one of two roles.

1) Students should follow along with the text as they listen to the book:
  • If students read the text while listening to the book, they can begin to recognize whole words.  Instead of decoding or sounding out the words, the audiobook does this for them, and they can just focus on tracking the words across the page.  
  • An added plus to scanning the text while listening is students will quickly learn the proper pronunciations of sight words and other tricky words such as "chaos," and "deoxyribonucleic acid."  In fact, for many students they experience improvements in spelling too as they pair the proper pronunciation with the visual of the word.  
2) Students should close their eyes while listening to the audiobook and make a conscious effort to visualize the setting, characters and plot.  Learning to create a movie in one's head improves attention and will also make the process more fun and memorable.  Understand that many students that struggle with reading do not fully develop their abilities to visualize, and they may need instruction and practice with this needed skill.  If you would like to help your students to develop this ability consider purchasing Mindful Visualization for Education.

Where Can I Get Affordable Options for Audiobooks?
There are a number of sites online that offer audiobooks.  If I child has a learning disability, they can qualify to receive audiobooks through their school or learning specialist from sites such as Learning Ally and BookShare.  Furthermore, here is a website that offers 224 Places for Free Audio Books.  Below you will see a list of just a few of them:
  1. Project Gutenberg: http://www.gutenberg.org/
  2. Audible: http://www.audible.com/
  3. Open Culture: http://www.openculture.com/freeaudiobooks
  4. Free Classic Audiobooks: http://freeclassicaudiobooks.com/
  5. Books Should be Free: http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/
  6. LibriVox: https://librivox.org/
By helping young learners to actively use audiobooks, they can improve their reading abilities and find more joy in the process.
 
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
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