September 27, 2018

Audiobooks build reading skills

Audiobooks are gaining in popularity amongst library patrons. The Audio Publishers Association reports sales of audiobooks in 2017 were up 23% over the previous year. While we see the popularity of audiobooks among adults in our libraries, there are compelling reasons to promote audiobooks to our younger patrons.

One of the main goals of elementary school teachers and parents is to teach children to read by giving them the tools and skills they need to be successful. Audiobooks support these skills. Providing visual as well as auditory materials creates a multisensory experience beneficial to many students, especially those with learning and developmental disabilities or for those whose primary language is not English. A child’s fluency, inflection, and pronunciation all improve from listening to audiobooks, especially when paired with print materials.

Need some numbers to back up these claims? Look no further. Listening to audiobooks:
• Increases reading accuracy by 52%
• Improves comprehension by 76%
• Increases recall 40% when combined with print materials (vs. print alone)

(For a beautiful infographic with these statistics and more, visit this page on APA’s website.)

If the statistics don’t win you over, then remember that audiobooks are just plain fun. Children’s audiobooks are frequently enhanced with music or sound effects, and narrators will often use distinct voices, making the listen even more enjoyable. If you have never listened to the Harry Potter series read by Jim Dale, you are most definitely missing out.

Are you at a loss for where to start? We have several articles about audiobooks for older kids and teens. Find all our audiobook Recommended Reads lists by searching: ND Recommended Reads AND SU Audiobooks. 

As with our print materials, NoveList adds appeal terms to our audiobook titles to reflect characteristics specific to the listening experience Did you love the distinct voices Jim Dale used in the Harry Potter series and want more fantasy audio like it? (Please note that subjects, genres, and themes carry over to the audio formats of our print records.) Try searching AP Distinctly voiced AND GN Fantasy AND RL 4

Especially with classics, your choice of narrator can be overwhelming. If you have a patron who wants to hear a sample before committing to the audiobook, search TI Alice’s adventures in Wonderland AND AA Y

Once your patrons are hooked on audio, they may find some narrators more interesting than others, and don’t like books read by multiple narrators. If this is the case, you can eliminate those by using NOT in your search: (NR “Turpin, Bahni” NOT AP Multiple narrators) AND RL 2

Did you find the field codes throughout this post helpful? Learn more about creating your own field code searches. 

I said it before and I’ll say it again: Audiobooks are just plain fun. Turn your young patrons on to audiobooks and they may not even think they’re reading. 

For more search strategies, see this earlier blog post.


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