There is something very special about hearing a story. For many people, it summons warm memories of snuggling up with mom or dad and a book at bedtime, overhearing adult family members share stories around the kitchen table, or telling ghost stories around the fire.
What’s more, hearing a book read aloud can go a long way to making the many benefits of reading accessible to even struggling or “reluctant” readers. Vocabulary can improve, comprehension goes up, and a book can be enjoyed that might have been too challenging for them to read alone. Even for fluent readers, there is a lot to like about hearing stories out loud.
I can only remember hearing a few books on tape as a child. But a few years ago, I discovered that the wait list for audiobooks is often significantly shorter than the wait list for print copies. Ever since then I’ve enjoyed listening to dozens of short stories and novels. I still like to sit with an actual book when I get the chance, but here’s a list of a few more things that I especially like about audiobooks:
- I can listen to books in my car, on my phone, online, on cd (yes, I still own and use a Discman)… so, just about everywhere.
- I can listen to books at times when it would be impossible (or super dangerous) to read them (while driving).
- On nights when I am too tired to even read a few pages before I go to sleep, I can still put on my headphones, close my eyes and listen to a story instead.
- Some books are performed as a radio drama with a full cast of voice actors and sound effects. Sometimes authors narrate their own stories, that’s pretty cool too.
So, whether you are considering things that you can do together as a family, or if you’re tired of the long commute into work and back everyday, consider trying out an audiobook. And if you’re feeling up to it, grab a glass of water and read a book to someone you love.