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Are Audiobooks and Podcasts Really Reading?


Let me tell you why.

Reading requires many skills, most of which have little to do with decoding print, though that is critical for independent consumption of text.

Reading also requires that the reader can visualize, interpret new vocabulary words and phrases, that they understand the influence of pacing, inflection (tone of voice and loudness), and that they have stamina to listen (or read) over time to experience a cohesive story or information integrating new or additional ideas. Families, teachers, you cannot overestimate the value of background knowledge on readers' comprehension. If you'd like to learn more about this and all of the reasons I recommend audiobooks and podcasts, you must take in the Science of Reading podcast yourself, published by Amplify., Season 3, Episode 6. You may be hearing a lot about the Science of Reading these days. I'll unpack that another time, but for now just know that learning to read does involve a systematic learning of printed code, but ALSO deep language learning. We must make sure young and growing readers have access to a well of rich vocabulary and information, especially when we want to curate healthy minds. Vocabulary and background knowledge will strengthen their engagement with the world, their literacy skills AND their writing flexibility.

And we have so much hidden time! When my grown kids were little many years ago, our car rides were story times. They listened to tape stories we kept in a basket in the car. We had a multiple one-gallon bags with a tape and a book in each one. Depending on the length of the ride, we chose short or long stories. They asked me to put them on as soon as the doors were closed and we weren't even buckled yet.

Flash forward at least 20 years and we now have podcasts and audiobooks on-demand. How could it be any easier!

While audiobooks and podcast will NEVER replace your presence and time in reading and writing with them, it does allow you to expand their development and knowledge and allows you to ensure they are filling their minds with healthy content and they'll give you fascinating things to talk about!

Slow and Steady Development,

~ Dawn


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