Audiobooks have been around since 1930, but they have recently become more popular among people of all ages. Students, especially, have found audiobooks more useful than a physical book in schools and day-to-day reading.
Audiobooks come with many advantages that a hard copy does not offer, but first, there is one main point one must know before continuing on, and that is that using audiobooks is not “cheating” and should be considered reading just as much as words on a paper.
When reading words, two things are being accomplished: the decoding of words and figuring out the syntax, or their meaning. However, by about fifth grade, forming letters into words comes as an instinct to most, just a natural habit. The act does not take any more effort than just listening to the words.
In a 1977 study, 48 students had to either listen to or read 2,000 word stories and write a 60-80 word summary. The students’ conclusions were equal in knowledge and accuracy.
If both forms of reading require the same amount of understanding of words and their meanings and result in the same information, then listening to a book is not “cutting corners.”
A privilege of audiobooks is that they allows listeners to capture a whole different understanding of the story. With a book being read to them, they can imagine the meaning of the words in their own way, along with the author’s and reader’s view. The listener can hear when the reader lathers their voice in sarcasm or stutters to show a character’s hesitation, almost like an actor. Though the scene is not visible to the listening audience, it is painted in their mind as the description of the setting appears, word-by-word.
In a typical book, the words are there on paper, but it is more difficult for the reader to picture the vivid and vibrant scene in their mind.
Freshman Audrey Lynch says, “I love to play my audiobook, lean back, and close my eyes. As I listen, it is so easy to get caught up in a novel and have the picture painted in my mind… it is kind of like watching a movie, but better, as the picture is my own in my own mind.”
As well as being creative when listening, the book’s audience may relax. Nothing is worse than holding a large book on the beach, worrying about damaging the library’s copy. The audiobook downloaded on your smart device is easy to carry around.
Going back to your library’s copy, most libraries have embraced technological advances and offer connected websites and apps that have audiobooks for free. Some common apps used to download audiobooks connected to libraries are OverDrive, Hoopla, and RB Digital.
“Getting an audiobook is actually easier than a hard copy book from the library. I have the app set up to my phone, with my library card linked, and can check out or return a book in the seconds.… It has never been a problem for me; just made my life easier by being free and easy to access,” said freshman Tyler Holland.
Another huge positive to audiobooks is that they make reading faster. When reading a regular book, time must be carved out of one’s day to sit and decode the words by their lonesome. However, with the words read to you, audiobooks can be listened to while in the shower, on the treadmill, driving, and more.
If one has a reading deadline due and trouble reading fast enough or making the time for it, the audiobook comes to their rescue.
Freshman Paul Graetzig said, “Audiobooks are my hero. I use them for just about every book I have to read, as they are efficient. I can eat my breakfast while listening to the chapter, which can be very beneficial if I have a quiz first block.”
Not only can audiobooks help slow readers, but impaired and less motivated readers as well.
Audiobooks can be understood better by people who are impaired compared to physically reading a book, as they may be blind, or just partially impaired due to things like dyslexia. This gives everyone an equal chance to decipher the reading.
It also creates a new and intriguing way to read. For people who do not have the passion for reading words as others do, they are presented with a relatively new option. The choice in how one may read can often make the act more appealing.
Lastly, listening is simply more enjoyable. One can do as they please while hearing an enchanting story spawn in their mind. Better than words on paper, listening is the new reading.
What is your opinion on reading and audiobook reading?
What’s your favorite audiobook and or physical book?