Thursday, July 26, 2012

Listen. Can you hear me?

I am a visual learner.  I am drawn to art, movies, and the written word.  Knowing this about myself, I often find that I have difficulty remembering facts and following directions if they are given to me verbally.  Just ask the Boys' Dad.
As a coping mechanism, I will often jot down a note, mark a reminder on my calendar, or draw a quick sketch so that I can "see" and remember what I need to do or learn.  Due of my visual tendencies, I love reading all kinds of books: in print, e-books, books with and without pictures, and animated video books, but there is one type of book that I have not tried (even at my ripe old Mom-age).  Audiobooks!


Today I decided to try something new.


I read Clementine by Sara Pennypacker auditorally- which is a word that I think I just made up which means: with my ears.  In other words, I listened to the audiobook version of the story.  With an open mind and willingness to learn differently, I sat and allowed the narrator's voice to pull me into Clementine's world.  And do you know what?  I saw it!  
Just as I visualize a story that I read on paper (or on my Kindle, or other e-reader), listening to the audiobook version produced the same effect for me.  I just closed my eyes and let the narrator's words create a video in my mind.  It was wonderful, and it absolutely makes sense.  I love listening to storytellers, so why not audiobooks?  I only wish I had tried this sooner.


I want to do it again, and I'm imagining the audiobook possibilities for kids and Moms alike.


Checking our online catalog at our local public library, I found that there are thousands of audiobook titles available, including 385 Juvenile titles for check-out.  New titles are added every day.  Some of the titles are even offered for instant download.  Awesome!  Some books come with a minimal fee, but many are free with your library card.   


In the spirit of a concise blog post, today I am just going to list my ideas for incorporating audiobooks into our reading life here at home.

  • Make mundane jobs like folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, and mowing the grass more fun by listening to an audiobook!
  • Is the house too quiet?  Add audiobooks to your iPod or other MP3 player as an alternative to music.  (Ha Ha, Mom humor.  Boys are rarely quiet!)
  • Listen to audiobooks instead of watching TV.  Everything is a re-run right now during the summer, anyway, right?
  • Driving somewhere far away like the beach, lake, or other summer vacation spot?  Pop in an audiobook instead of a movie.
  • Work out at the gym with audiobooks.  People will look at you funny for laughing or crying at the good parts, but who cares?
  • Listen to an audiobook to relax and wind down before bed (but only if it is a happy story, no scary ones at bedtime).
Because I am so excited about audiobooks, from today forward I plan to weave this lovely discovery into my life as much as I can.  (Although I may try the driving one when Dad is at the wheel, because I have trouble multitasking, and the whole closing-eyes thing might not be so safe...)

And, of course, my Mom/teacher brain is planning (plotting, scheming... whatever) to introduce the Boys to this wonderful discovery.  I'm thinking that my x-box-YouTube-Minecraft-iPod-loving reluctant one may especially enjoy this "other-media" way to read.  We can still have our comprehension conversations and use our strategies: inferring, connecting, predicting, vocabulary-building, evaluating, and more!  It's a win-win for all of us. :)

I'm sure there are many, many more ways to enjoy audiobooks, and we would love to hear your ideas!  Tell us all of the ways you listen to audiobooks, and happy (auditory) reading!

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