Audiobooks are not cheating!

Pop quiz! When you read a text are you performing a visual activity or an auditory activity?

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Interestingly, good readers do both! There are two parts to reading that have to both be working in order to be a ‘good reader’. The first is that you have to be able to decode the letters, digraphs, blends, chunks, and pieces of words in order to understand what is being communicated. The other piece is that you are ‘listening’ for elements of a story. A beginning, middle, end, character details, setting, plot, surprises, rhymes, cadence, etc. *Note: this is a very simple understanding of the complex brain science that has happened*

For many years teachers have allowed students to listen to an audiobook instead of reading only when there is a reason- dyslexia, ADHD, or some other reason that would require an educational adaptation.

The science is coming in, pretty conclusively, that the brain will remember as much in an audiobook as by actually reading a passage. Daniel Willingham, a professor and psychologist, who has studied how reading works, wrote a great book on the processes that your brain goes through. He also suggests that listening to an Audiobook is not ‘cheating’.


So what resources can you use to find audiobooks?

  1. The library- all libraries keep audiobooks, and there are amazing childrens tubs full of cassettes, CDs, and digital downloads.
  2. Storyline Online  is run by SAG/AFTRA a professional actors union. They have world class actors read books.
  3. Reading Rainbow Skybrary is the classic show you remember that raised over 5 Million Dollars as a Kickstarter to produce more episodes and digital content! You can get an app for your family for a fairly reasonable cost!
  4. has a variety of audiobooks for purchase.
  5. Youtube also has audiobooks. Just be careful that what you’re listening to is public domain, sometimes there are videos that are pirated copies of audiobooks.

Is there a place you get audiobooks? Do you agree that audiobooks are as valuable as paper books? Is there a place for a paper book only time? Comment below!

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  • I’ve been considering an individual subscription to Tales2Go ( Maybe at some point RCOA would consider a school subscription?

    • WHOA! This is amazing! I’ve never heard of this resource! Thank you for bringing it to my attention! I’m going to bookmark it and come back to it later in the year when I start thinking about next year’s subscriptions.

      Right now it doesn’t look like their business model includes DL schools, but I’ll contact them in the Spring and see what we can work out. In the meantime, if you get it, would you consider writing a review for our Blog?


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