Children with learning disabilities stand to gain a lot if they use an assistive technology (AT for short). AT is any software, device, or piece of equipment that helps work around, compensate, or bypass a child’s specific learning disability.
When used for enhancing learning in children struggling with reading, audio books have proved to be a potent assistive technology. It not only aids learning, but also improves the reading skills of these children.
As their ability to recognize, comprehend, and pronounce words improves, children can read faster.
When used along with reading material, audio books offer the following significant benefits:
1. Reinforce comprehension – Research shows that children who struggle to see, read, or understand printed words learn better when they use audio books for learning.
2. Increase word reorganization and improve vocabulary – Listening, research shows, stimulates the auditory cortex (part of the brain associated with hearing) to create pictures from words. Therefore, when children listen to audio books, they can associate words with pictures better. This, in turn, helps them recognize and remember words better.
3. Improve pronunciation – Listening to words allows children to understand and remember how they are pronounced.
4. Improve reading rate – As their ability to recognize, comprehend, and pronounce words improves, children can read faster.
5. Foster confidence and academic success – When a child can read and learn better, his/her confidence, quite naturally, improves and so does an academic performance.
In the last decade, various studies have been done to check the efficacy of audio books to enhance learning. All studies have confirmed the same thing audio books enhance learning.
Let us take a look at the findings of some of the latest studies done in this field.
Scientific studies prove audio books enhance learning
A recent case study, involving 166 students, recorded the following results:
• 76% of students were able to improve their ability to read
• 61% of students became more motivated to read when they used audio books
• 61% of students stated that audio books improved their self-confidence
In another study, researchers found that the reading skills of students improved much when they used audio textbooks.
In a study conducted by Rutgers University, students who used audio textbooks improved their reading rate by 18%. Researchers also confirmed that students read more accurately when audio books were used.
To put it succinctly, audio books when used with text not only improve knowledge acquisition, but also the ability to understand and self-confidence. Moreover, children love listening to stories, and it gets better when they can read along with the narrator.
Today, you can find a lot of audio books at bookstores and public libraries, and many of them come with the copy of the book as well, which is a bonus. These audio books can help adult readers relax and take a break from reading, and they can also give an all new experience to readers who have already read the book once. For children, reading the book while following the narrator can be a very enriching multi-sensory experience.
With an excellent narrator, book reading can be an incredible experience for children. The story becomes more exciting, and the words become more expressive. From a learning point of view, narration can help children focus on the words and how they sound, and they teach them how to listen, an important life skill.
The little bits of music and sound effects that are mixed with the narration to emphasize parts of the story make audio books all the more attractive. When you add more than one narrator as well, the audio book becomes as engaging as the radio programs of the past, like ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ or the ‘The Shadow’. Such radio programs capture the hearts of generations of people, and many made a permanent mark on entertainment culture.
Many narrators, in fact, add to the storytelling with their dramatic enhancements and silly voices. Rather than focusing on just reading the book, they emphasize the story and engage the reader. For children, the enjoyment of reading a book can make them eager to develop their reading skills and their understanding of language and sense of narrative structure improves. Simply put, audio books give children a better understand of how language works and conveys meaning through the way it is spoken. When a child is exposed to various narrators and their unique reading style=s, their grasp of reading also deepens.
A lot of schools have recognized the benefits of audio books as a way to develop reading and listening skills in children, and many of them have listening centers where groups of children listen to the same book together. This not only exposes them to various interesting books but also increase their vocabulary improves their social skills as they listen to the book with friends.
The best part of audio books is that they do not cost very high. Audio books can not only be bought for a little more than a regular book, but they can also be accessed from libraries or obtained from used bookstores.
They are more than just learning tools; they are an engaging and convenient source of fun and entertainment for children as well as adults.
1. “Learning Ally: Your Trusted Partner in Helping Your Child Learn and Succeed.” Learning Ally. Web. 6 May 2015.
“Educators & Students with Learning Disabilities Tags: Add, Adhd, Assistive Technology, Auditory Processing, Autism, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, Education,
2. Learning Differences, Learning Disabilities, Nonverbal Learning Disorders, Udl, Universal D.” LD Basics. Web. 6 May 2015.