Audio Book vs. Reading

My oldest son is in 9th grade now and having to do a lot of reading for school. You should see the list of books he is going to have to consume for his literature credit this year! Not only are they some pretty tough books, “Tale of Two Cities”, “Pride & Prejudice”, but he only has two weeks to finish the majority of them. My son is a very good reader but this kind of reading is overwhelming him, and I can’t say that I blame him.

So at the very beginning of our school year, I was going to give my son the option of listening to his books via audio books. My husband objected to this, saying that he doesn’t feel it is the same as actually reading the book. I’m not sure that I share my husband’s opinion on this one.

Our son already knows how to read and teaching him to read is not the goal here. Having him comprehend and enjoy the books is the goal. I’m listening to these books as well and it would be nice to be able to have discussions with him on the content of them.

MP3 Player with ear buds

I believe there are actually some really great benefits to letting my son listen to books rather than reading them.

  • It will allow him to hear how the words should be pronounced. This will be helpful especially since there may be a lot of unfamiliar words and words from other languages. If he doesn’t know what the word means, he can always pause the recording and look it up, just like he would if he was reading it.
  • It will allow him to multi-task. My son could be doing chores while listening which would possibly make the chores fun, if that is even possible!
  • As I mentioned above, it will help him to get through some very difficult reading much more quickly.
  • I believe that he will actually comprehend the books better this way as opposed to trying to read them. Right now he is just attempting to slog through the chapters assigned for each day. I have a feeling that he is pretty much just skimming the material and not actually digesting it.
  • It will help improve his vocabulary. He will be able to understand many of the new words based on the context in which they are presented.

While I do agree that there may be times when it is preferable to have a student go through the action of decoding the words in a book, I feel that there are many times when listening to an audio book may actually be more rewarding.

Retro Tech is Cool!!

Today I want to feature another tech blog called Retro Ed Tech. They are much like this blog in that they feature educational technology, however the tech they feature is all old school. It’s amazing to realize how far technology has come!

You might get to take a walk down memory lane while browsing the pics of things like an old victrola and typewriters. Or kids might get to see just what a mimeograph machine or carbon paper is.

Any techno geek will enjoy perusing this site! In your excitement over all the cool photographs, don’t forget to read the blog! Also, leave comments on your favorite posts.

Fire Up Your School Day!

We had an unusual situation in our homeschool this morning. All three kids were up and needing to do school. Usually my youngest sleeps in rather late. He has Asperger’s and has a hard time getting to sleep at night. This morning the dog woke him up early.

You might be wondering what kind of schooling we are doing that requires a computer. Well, we do a mix of curricula. My two younger kids do Time4Learning as their main curriculum. I use an online program to track our school and keep us all on task. The kids have to check their online agenda to see what their school assignments and chores are for each day.

So we had a quandary. Three kids needing to do school at the same time and only 2 computers available to do it on. Then my daughter had a brilliant idea! She pulled out the Kindle Fire. Why didn’t I think of that??

Another advantage of using the Fire is that the student can move to a more quiet place so they can focus more easily on doing their schoolwork. There are a couple of things you will want to be aware of if you let your child do this. First, you will want to make sure you have set up parental controls on your Fire. Also, you might want to check on your child every so often to make sure they are actually doing school and not playing games.

Since I have a child who has major problems trying to focus when there are even small distractions, this may become our preferred method for him to do school!