My children have never been avid readers. Growing up and trying to get through school, it was always such a struggle for them to complete their reading assignments.
Especially as they got into the upper grades. The books were longer and on topics they had absolutely no interest in whatsoever.
Think about it. Reading Romeo and Juliet for today’s teen is like having to read a book on airplane construction. Admittedly there are a few people out there who would find that reading very interesting indeed, but probably less than 3% of the public.
For the rest of us, that would be a book to help you fall asleep fast!
So, having experience with audio books, I started getting the audio versions as well as the physical books from the local library to help my kids complete their assignments.
And for those of you who think that this is cheating….I say no. You do what you can to peak their interest and keep their attention for more than 5 minutes, which is a hard thing to do these days.
Now I’m a big supporter of encouraging people to read, in school as well as after. I once read that only about 3% of the population continue reading for pleasure AFTER they finish school.
That is a disappointing, if not scary statistic if it’s true.
So to truly build a lasting love of reading, first you have to grab their attention. Then you have to experiment with different works, and styles until you find something that they don’t want to put down.
And then, help them find more books to love. Hopefully at some point, they will continue on the path that you opened up for them.
Now there is a place and time for audio books, and a place (or time) where a physical book (ebook, etc.) is better suited.
I don’t like to fall asleep with earphones on, so I tend to read the physical books when others in the house are sleeping. Late at night, early in the morning. And when I plan on being in one place for a little while.
But when I’m on the move, say…doing housework or driving in the car, and need a little distraction to make the time fly by or something to keep me awake, that’s a great time for an audio book.
With the kids, we would put on their audio book while I was fixing dinner. They would read along as we listened, 30 minutes to an hour each night.
Then over dinner, we would talk about what had happened in the book that day. It would give us something to talk about as a family, and give them an opportunity to keep the information fresh in their minds and ask questions about what they had heard.
Sometimes it would lead to long conversations on some major life issues that we might not have ever thought or had the chance to discuss.
There are some books that I know my kids never would have finished in school had it not been for audio books and this process. And quite possibly some classes or tests they would not have passed, but they did.
It also gave us more family time, and I truly believe that family time is important at all ages. Sometimes I felt I learned more than they did, either from the story, or about them.
Those discussions certainly taught me a lot about how my children learn and process information, and a little about the way they think.
I don’t know if my children will end up avid readers (or listeners), but they know how to read and write, and they can communicate with confidence. And that’s something any parent can be proud of, right?
Let me know if your children are familiar with audio books, and if so, in what way? Do you find them helpful? What is your family’s favorite audio book to share?
And as always, from my family to yours…Happy Listening:)