What is an audiobook, exactly?
An audiobook is a recording of a book read aloud. Therefore, audiobooks allow kids to listen to books rather than read the text. Audiobooks can be accessed through any device that supports audio streaming. This includes smartphones, computers, and tablets.
Audiobooks are becoming more and more popular around the world. This is because they can be accessed anytime, anywhere, and provide many benefits, especially for young readers.
Audiobooks vs Read to Me Books
Audiobooks and read to me books for kids are very similar. However, unlike audiobooks (which are audio-only), read to me books also include text and illustrations. Thus, with read to me books, kids can read the book, look at illustrations, and follow the words while listening to the narrator’s voice.
The benefits of audiobooks discussed below also apply to read to me books. In fact, many parents prefer read to me books over classic audiobooks. This is because read to me books allow children to follow along with the text while listening. As a result, many of the benefits below will be enhanced.
Does listening to audiobooks count as reading?
As a parent, you might wonder – is listening to an audiobook as good as reading? While there are differing views regarding audiobooks vs print books, many studies suggest that listening to audiobooks is equivalent to reading.
Audiobooks undoubtedly provide a different reading experience than physical books. However, the same level of attention is required to comprehend the narrative and build meaning. And although audiobooks may not provide children with the opportunity to practice their decoding skills, studies have found that the same part of the brain is activated when reading words vs hearing words.
In addition, by reducing the cognitive load required to decode words, audiobooks allow children to focus on building their comprehension skills and developing background knowledge. By exposing them to new vocabulary and information, children are better equipped to improve their reading skills. In fact, there have been strong connections found between listening comprehension skills and later reading achievement. Therefore, not only does listening to an audiobook count as reading, but it can also contribute to reading proficiency.
Below, we explore more benefits of audiobooks and discuss how listening to read-aloud books can help your child develop lifelong reading skills.