Letting low readers listen to audio books

Discussion in 'General Education' started by cupcakequeen, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    Apr 19, 2016

    This came up in a meeting I was in yesterday, and I was a little surprised by some of the opinions. My students are all two (or even three) years below grade level when it comes to reading. They are also reaching the age where they are becoming more and more self conscious about not being able to read the things their peers do (class novels, directions on worksheets, information online, etc). When they are with me we do intensive reading instruction and they have made lots of progress this year, but they are still not on grade level.

    We have several high interest/low level books available, but I was also very excited to find out my district has access to several audio book resources that are Ipad/computer compatible. One of my very reluctant readers absolutely LOVES listening to books on these apps, especially because a lot of the very popular books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid are on there. He is able to talk about the "cool" books with his peers, and I know he is paying attention to the content because he answers oral comprehension questions about the readings and will also tell me, "This is like what happened in XYZ book, right after so an so..." you get the idea- he's really into it! They have also been able to listen to the book the rest of the class was reading so they were still able to do most of the activities that went along with it.

    Some of my teammates and I were sharing these resources with some coworkers. Several of them seemed to feel like it was a waste of time because the kids didn't have to do any "real reading" and would be better off using SSR time (which is when they primarily use these apps) for more reading intervention.

    Now, don't get me wrong, I'm always saying there's never enough time for interventions, but I also want my kids to enjoy books and be able to experience the cool, fun books that are out there. This also gives my kids more language exposure (several are ELL).

    I just wanted to hear some of your thoughts and/or experiences with letting kids listen to audio books!
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Apr 19, 2016

    I'm with you! Now that we have all of this technology, we need to find ways to include students with dyslexia or other reading disabilities in accessing the same curriculum and classroom activities as their peers without reading disabilities. Listening to someone else read allows for comprehension just as much as reading yourself does. We read to make meaning, not to look at words on paper. :2cents:
     
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  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Apr 19, 2016

    I am definitely in favor of letting low readers access the material using audiobooks, especially if they can follow along in a print book. I don't think that 100% of their reading should be in the form of audiobooks, but it absolutely has its place.
     
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  5. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    When we are choosing new sets for Literature Circles, we try to select options that have an audiobook as well. I think that it is important to differentiate, when reporting, what a student is able to do independently with print text as opposed to those they can demonstrate using an audio version. Getting kids turned on to books, through any means, helps them to want to improve their independent skills with print.
     
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  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My students have access to audio versions of most of the literature we read. In addition, we have an app called Read Write Gold that will also translate texts into Spanish and Arabic, among other languages. I love having as many tools as possible to help me "differentiate out the wazoo."
     
  7. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Absolutely yes to audiobooks! We suggest them for our high school ELL students.
     
  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Apr 19, 2016

    Everything in moderation. I love it, and I also tell those students to do some non-audio-book reading, as well.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am thinking of Tyler B. when reading this topic and just giggling inside.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2016
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  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I had a listening center during reading rotations when I was a classroom teacher. Kids listened to the story and followed along with the book in front of them. I really liked it, for the reasons mentioned earlier in the thread. My P made me get rid of it :( and lengthen SSR time instead. She said the kids only liked it because it was easy/they didn't have to do any "real work." I know there is a lot of research behind SSR, but IME the great majority of struggling readers are simply not reading during this time. They're staring at the book and flipping the pages. It's also a fight to get them to choose books that they can actually read/are on their level, which is further evidence they're not reading during this time, IMO. My lowest readers (often reading at a K or beginning 1st level) would pick out books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Harry Potter every time they were given free choice, and then swear up and down, "I am reading!" when talked to about choosing an appropriate book. I don't think audiobooks should be used all of the time or in place of reading interventions of course, but they do have their place. Like Bella mentioned, I would also love to see more audiobooks being used to help students with dyslexia access higher level content. Most of these students are able to comprehend higher level content just fine if they are given a path to access the print.
     
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  11. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I see incredible value in having nonfluent (and fluent) readers listen to fluent, expressive reading. Aside from numerous academic benefits, I think it's a great way to help reluctant readers learn to love books.
     
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  12. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I used them, but always had the print version for them to follow along. I used audio for our social studies, too.
     
  13. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    I'm glad that it seems like most people see some value in it. I definitely want my kids reading print books on their level as well, but I also understand that for a 4th grader reading on a beginning K or 1st level, there aren't as many books that are interesting to them, especially my boys.

    Like waterfall mentioned, they'll pick out books way above their level and swear up and down that they are reading when I know they struggled to sound out two syllable words sometimes. One of the resources also has a lot of textbooks available. I haven't been able to use that for any of my kids yet, but I know a colleague who teaches at the high school level uses a textbook that is available as an audio book and is able to help her students access the content that way.
     
  14. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I believe that listening to reading is an underappreciated concept of learning to read. I really don't see a huge benefit to more intervention time over truly getting immersed in a story.
     
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  15. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Listening to books is a good supplement, but not a replacement for reading. It can offer access to the same stories that grade level and above readers are reading so they can share common knowledge. However, listening to grade level books is not always appropriate when the student has low listening comprehension skills. For the student who has both low level reading skills and low level listening comprehension skills, special care must be taken to ensure that what they are listening to is accessible to them.

    You may want to look into LearningAlly (Previously recordings for the blind and dyslexic) to see if your state or school system can be a part of it if this is something that you all agree is beneficial for students.
     
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  16. HenryOwen

    HenryOwen New Member

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    Audiobooks are a great aid in developing readership among my students. Prolly because it will enhance their listening and pronunciation skills. It is great to incorporate with physical/ebooks so that the reader can follow the book while listening.
     
  17. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Personally, I enjoy listening to an engaging reader reading an audiobook at least as much as reading it myself, and I think kids are the same. Kids need to read on their own of course, but I think listening comprehension is an undervalued skill.
     
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  18. Floria

    Floria Rookie

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    I think it is a good idea but in improvement what you can do is to give the book and lesson to read which students were listening. It will help them to improve their reading skills. It is a good thing to try.
     
  19. iconoclaste

    iconoclaste New Member

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    The answer to this depends primarily on the students age. If a student is in elementary or early middle school, then I would say they should be attempting to rigorously improve their reading level, and that should be done through targeted and specific reading interventions. So, in the one class or block that is specifically designed to improve their reading level, then the majority of independent reading should be done independently and at their instructional level. Now, there are kids that will follow along with an audio version and do it diligently, but there will be many more that will not. In other classes, textbooks with audio compatibility should be offered to these students.

    If the student is in high school, then all the data suggests that their reading level is not likely to increase dramatically at that point. Unless they are special education students with very low reading levels and specific IEP goals, then it is best practice to accommodate low readers with audio versions of texts. I actually think audio versions of texts work very well for the entire class reading a book together. It is a great accommodation for low readers and the high readers just read it independently anyways. You get much higher participation with this accommodation. Also, in many cases, the audio versions of books are read very well and create high interest among students. For example, Bryan Cranston reads The Things They Carried or Ruby Dee reads Their Eyes Were Watching which are both books that are part of the high school cannon. Kids love to hear these great voices read the classics.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2016
  20. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Did you mean at their independent reading level?
     
  21. iconoclaste

    iconoclaste New Member

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    May 6, 2016

    Sry, yes. They should be independently reading at their independent reading level whenever possible. Supported reading can be done at their instructional level.
     

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