[kids-lib] Counting audio books as summer reading?

Katie Anderson anderson_katie at oslmac.osl.state.or.us
Wed Mar 17 08:44:57 PDT 2010

Hello!  There has been an excellent conversation around counting audio books for summer reading programs on ALA's Association for Library Service to Children listserv.  Support for counting audio books is almost unanimous, with many librarians including research around the educational value of audio books in their emails.  Below is one of the emails from the conversation that provides brief snapshot of most of the reasons why librarians count audio books and a link to one online resource. 

Here is a link to another study an ALSC librarian shared during the conversation. While it certainly promotes Recorded Book, I found quite a bit of good research in the article: http://www.flr.follett.com/intro/pdfs/recordedbooks-research.pdf.  

And, don't forget Jim Trelease and Mem Fox! While most of their research is around reading aloud, much of it is relevant to listening to audio books: 

* Jim's website: http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/rah-ch1.html.
* Mem's website: http://www.memfox.com/welcome.html
One issue that came up in the conversation is libraries that track the number of pages kids read didn't have an alternative way to track listening to audio books.

             Katie Anderson, Library Development Services
* Youth Services Consultant * Oregon Center for the Book Coordinator *
       Oregon State Library, 250 Winter St. NE, Salem, OR 97301
               katie.anderson at state.or.us, 503-378-2528

From: Vardell, Sylvia [mailto:SVardell at mail.twu.edu]
To: alsc-l at ala.org [mailto:alsc-l at ala.org]
Sent: Tue, 16 Mar 2010 17:40:15 -0700
Subject: [alsc-l] RE: Re: RE: Counting audio books as summer reading?

I'm glad to see such support for audiobooks, particularly as the Odyssey award for audiobooks moves into its FOURTH year! 
  In the mean time, I'd like to plug a helpful "toolbox" on audiobooks and literacy that offers research-based data and strategies for the practitioner: http://library.booksontape.com/audiobooksandliteracy.cfm
  Here are just a few nuggets from these materials about the benefits of audiobooks written by educators and librarians (including yours truly):
  *For struggling readers, audiobooks can be life-changing, allowing listeners equal access to the literary world and building their comprehension of words, sentences, passages, and stories above their reading abilities.
  *Through the voices of expert readers, Listening Library’s award-winning, unabridged audiobooks demonstrate what fluent reading sounds like. This supports learning, particularly when students follow along with the book in print while listening.
  *Audiobooks are also useful tools for strong readers. On average, students can listen two grades above their reading level. Audiobooks expose them to text that’s beyond their reading ability and challenge their vocabulary and comprehension.
  *Audiobooks make great recommendations for parents. Listening in the car can offer a terrific way for parents to start a dialogue with their children. Plus teachers often add audio to their summer reading lists. According to Pat Scales, noted educator and Director of Library Services for the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities: “Every summer hundreds of thousands of students are reading books on their summer reading list, and many of them, with the blessings of their teachers, are also listening to some of the books on the list.”
  *For students who are learning English, audiobooks provide a bridge to their new language, with careful pronunciation and context guiding their comprehension.
  • And for kids with special needs, audiobooks offer a level playing field, with access to stories and texts via the ear rather than the eye. Ninth-grader Eric says this about audiobooks, “I can be in the same discussion as everyone else in my class. Just ‘cause I got problems with my skills doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions about stuff.”
  In the ever-changing technological landscape, the art of listening is an essential component in developing literate, critical thinkers. As technology has advanced and we connect through text and texting more and more, the audiobook puts the VOICE back into our lives. It provides a human contact that may be missing, like the storyteller around the campfire. Using audiobooks can expand students’ attention spans, develop vocabulary and comprehension skills, and provide a calm and quiet experience for over-scheduled young people.
  Sylvia M. Vardell, Ph.D.
  Texas Woman's University
  School of Library & Information Studies
  P O Box 425438
  Denton TX 76204-5438
  svardell at twu.edu
  Author of:
  BOOK LINKS columnist: Everyday Poetry
  Co-Editor, BOOKBIRD, the journal of international children's literature (http://www.ibby.org)
  From: Jeanette Larson [larsonlibrary at yahoo.com]
  Sent: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 5:13 PM
  To: Kate Capps; alsc-l at ala.org
  Subject: [alsc-l] Re: RE: Counting audio books as summer reading?
  I must confess that I never took Children's Lit in Library School. When I got my first professional job--as a children's librarian--I listed to books on tape to learn the literature while commuting. By the time I realized that I was going to stay in children's librarianship the dean at the local graduate school told me I knew most of what I would gain taking the class post-MLS. I still listen and honestly can't always remember whether I "read" the book or "listened" to it. If the goal is to enjoy literature either way gets the job done. I also realized that when I listen I can't (easily) skip words and sections.
  Jeanette Larson
  Pflugerville, TX
  From: Kate Capps <kcapps at olatheks.org>
  To: alsc-l at ala.org
  Sent: Tue, March 16, 2010 3:13:26 PM
  Subject: [alsc-l] RE: Counting audio books as summer reading?
  We include audio books but not magazines as summer reading, although our teen program includes magazines as well. Summer reading is meant to be fun, isn’t it? Books in any format are now competing more than ever for children’s time. I respectfully disagree about allowing for visual formats, because they don’t require the viewer’s brain to imagine the action, characters, and setting of the story. The quality of reading/performance of most audio books is very high (full disclosure, I’m the children’s audio selector for our libraries, so I listen to much of what I purchase for the collection). I resisted listening to audiobooks until I became a librarian, and I regret that I came to them so late. They are wonderful pleasure reading.
  Children love to be read to at school—and they remember what was read. I still recall the books that our librarian read to us over 40 years ago…
  We also have young patrons who are avid readers who check out audio books in addition to their other books. They like to listen to them before they go to sleep at night, knowing that they can replay the part they missed if they fell asleep.
  Kate Capps
  Children's Librarian & School Liaison
  Olathe Indian Creek Branch Library
  12990 S. Black Bob Rd.
  Olathe, KS 66062
  kcapps at olatheks.org
  [cid:1.3489743982 at web50704.mail.re2.yahoo.com]
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