So, I’ve seen lots of posts about how great audiobooks are, and I agree with all of them. I love listening to audiobooks while I drive or while I’m doing boring housework. They make those things much more interesting!
My husband isn’t much of a reader. He never has been. But he does enjoy listening to audiobooks from time to time. This is the one way that he consumes books. So for that reason alone, I think audiobooks are wonderful–they bring books to people who might not choose to read otherwise.
But it occurred to me just this weekend that audiobooks are truly important to my family for an altogether different reason—one that most people don’t even consider.
My fourteen-year-old son is a struggling reader. He has a cognitive disability (because he had encephalitis as an infant in Haiti), and there’s a good chance he won’t ever be able to read a full-length novel. But his lack of reading skills doesn’t mean he doesn’t crave story. Unfortunately, a lot of the books that are at his reading level are short and don’t allow for great plot or character development. They don’t truly spark his imagination.
That’s where audiobooks come in.
Noah LOVES audiobooks!! Loves them with a deep passion—he has listened to 8 CD audiobooks in a couple of days before. Just this weekend, I posted this on Twitter:
My son is a struggling reader, but he LOVES audiobooks.
He is literally upstairs *cheering* because I told him he can listen to the #PeasproutChen audiobook we checked out at the library. I hear him up there yelling “WOO HOO!” as he puts the CD in.
My heart is happy. ???
— Nicole Hewitt (@NicoleMHewitt) February 23, 2019
That’s when it hit me how important audiobooks are for him. While I might consider audiobooks to be an interesting alternate way to consume books, for him they’re essential. He misses out on a lot by not being able to read, and this is the way that he can connect to stories that can feed his imagination. He may be a struggling reader, but that doesn’t mean he has to miss out on the plethora of wonderful books in this world.
So, today I am truly thankful for audiobooks!
I highly encourage you to introduce audiobooks to children (or anyone) who might otherwise miss out on the benefits of reading!
Do you love audiobooks? Do you know any struggling readers who might benefit from them? I want to know!
This post has been linked up to the 2019 Book Blog Discussion Challenge.
Oh my goodness, hearing about your son makes my heart SO happy. I’m beyond thrilled that audiobooks are an option for so many people for whom the physical act of reading is difficult for whatever reason. Technology has made reading available for so many people- ereaders with their adjustable text size and buttons or swipe to turn pages, audiobooks for people with reading difficulties or vision issues or physical problems holding books. It’s beyond amazing and I’m so excited for these people who can join in on the amazing world of books because of it. WOOHOO for your son!!!
My son used to love audiobooks when he was younger. I’ve always had trouble focusing on the story; my mind tends to wander and then I come back and go, “Wait, what happened?” It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and I’m going to try again when my daughter goes to kindergarten in the fall (no one can listen to anything when she’s chattering! :D).
You’re so right that technology has helped so many people who would not have easy access to reading otherwise!
I love hearing that about your son, that’s so great that he was able to find a format that works for him! I love audiobooks because they allow me multitask. I’m a big walker and I find that audiobooks encourage me to walk more. I’m in a book club with coworkers who don’t really read, but one of my girlfriends found audiobooks and it’s doubled her reading time!
My husband isn’t really a reader but he enjoys podcasts, maybe I can introduce him to some audiobooks…
Yes, for me audiobooks are wonderful for when I’m working on tasks around the house. Usually doing the dishes would be a torturous task, but it’s not so bad with an audiobook. 🙂
I received Cochlear Ear Implants 3 years ago, and one of the first things the audiologist told me was to listen to audiobooks to learn how to hear. It took almost a year before my brain would comprehend audiobooks without having to read along with a print book, then after six months of that, I started hearing and UNDERSTANDING almost everything! My results are not at all “normal” as even the CI team was shocked that a person who was born Deaf was gaining that much use out of the implants. Since then I have turned into an audiobook junkie. lol
That’s wonderful that audiobooks were able to help you learn to process sound—and that you made such miraculous progress!!
I used to never listen to them. I hated having people read to me once I started reading myself, and so didn’t think I’d ever like them. Then one long road trip on my own listening to a really good audiobook and now I’m hooked. Have to always have one going in my car rather than listening to the radio or music. And you’re right, they’re so great for all kind of readers. I also used to dread if anything ever happened to my eyesight and I wouldn’t be able to read, but audiobooks have made me feel much better for that.
Long trips are perfect for audiobooks because otherwise the drive seems to drag on and on!
That’s so great! I’m glad he has the opportunity to listen to books. You’re right, audiobooks are so important, especially in cases such as this!
They have been a huge blessing for him. He’s addicted! 🙂
I’m so glad your son has found love with audiobooks! 🙂 I also have been giving audiobooks to my daughter and she loves them.
I think audiobooks are important because they serve a very overlooked part of the reader demographic — the blind or sight-impaired. A lot of able-bodied people forget about this segment of the population and how important audiobooks are to them. VERY few Braille versions are made of books, and plenty of people lose their sight later in life that never learned Braille. Large print or ebooks with adjustable text can only do so much. Audiobooks are important to these people the most. <3
Yes, there are so many people who NEED access to audiobooks. They are essential!
I love that audiobooks are there for your son and give him the story experience he wants and craves. That’s awesome. As a retired teacher I am totally in favour. I love audiobooks as an another format in my reading diet but for some its the main course. I have a sister who is an avid reader but due to illness has had eye trouble and so audiobooks are becoming increasingly important to her.
Yes, we often overlook the fact that audiobooks are incredibly important for some people. For me, they’re just another way to read, but for my son, they’re the ONLY way.
I do! It took some time to really get in the flow of them, but at this point, I listen to books more than read these days. And I love that your son is able to get plenty of stories!!
I listen to a lot too. Even when I can’t find time to read, there’s always time to listen while doing other things.
Great discussion. You make some fantastic points. I have only done one audio book, but plan on giving more of them a try as I spend more time outside working in the yard. I still prefer reading because I tune out the noise too often and realize I am not even listening to the book any more. lol
I think working in the yard is a perfect example of a task that works well for audiobooks. I find myself much less bored when I can listen while doing those sorts of mundane tasks.
I think audiobooks are so important for many different reasons. I know with me, as I have aged… My eyes don’t focus as well. It’s harder for me to read, so I listen to audiobooks.
My son in law struggles with reading due to ADD and it takes him forever to get through a book, but he can do audiobooks.
I think they also get young readers really into books. The audios can bring such vivid pictures and storytelling into the book.
I am so grateful for audiobooks. I do most of my reading with them.sometimes 2 to 3 books a day.
Wow! 2-3 audiobooks a day! That’s a lot of listening!! 🙂
So happy for your son! I love audiobooks, well books in any format. I always have an audiobook in process, and puts it on each time I do chores: cooking, dishes Z(get rid of the dishwasher, you will enjoy washing the dishes, as it will give you more listening time!), ironing, dusting, gardening, etc. I don’t just sit and listen, if I sit, I read on paper or e-device. But when I’m busy doing stuff, I listen.
Right now: Walden, by Thoreau. I mostly listen to books in French, actually.
Alas, my public library doesn’t carry French audiobook. But I found a subscription that’s cheaper than audible, and works great, great app, and all the new French audiobboks are there. It’s Estories.com
I’m glad that you found a great source of French audiobooks!!
What a lovely post! Regardless of people’s personal opinions on audiobooks, they are a necessity for some people who can’t read print or ebooks (for whatever reason) but still want to enjoy the books, so it’s great that we have them. And I too have come to enjoy having something to listen to while multitasking. For me, it helps make tiring tasks a bit more bearable since my mind is distracted 🙂
Yes, tasks that would otherwise be semi-torturous can be made a whole lot more pleasant with audiobooks.
I adore audiobooks too!! I actually understand books WAY better via auditory learning (I actually had to get a lot of my schoolwork read out loud just to really understand what it was saying) so I think audiobooks are not only a lot of fun, but they’re crucial to making books accessible to a wide variety of readers. LOVE it. And I’m so glad your son loves them. (I see a lot of people standing up for audiobooks on twitter, but I never actually see anyone dissing them?! I think most of the community is fairly united in audiobooks-are-awesome?)
Yes, I agree that most people agree that audiobooks are amazing. I wasn’t meaning this post as a defense of audiobooks, but just a different perspective on them that I realized because of my son. I’ve always thought of audiobooks as amazing, but this really drove home to me how important they are.
I’m so happy your husband enjoys audiobooks and over the moon that your struggling reading son does. I personally enjoy audiobooks because they add another layer to the book that one dimension reading doesn’t, emotion. Some blog friends don’t start listening in the middle of a series because the voices are already embedded in their heads, me, if I can get my iphone on an audiobook I do it. Also my husband is almost blind due to wet macular degeneration so reading isn’t possible but he devours audiobooks. I have an elderly neighbor who is also sight restricted who loves books on cd. Great post Thanks
Yes, these are all great examples of people who benefit so greatly from audiobooks!
I’m glad your son found a format that works for him! I’m trying really hard to get into audiobooks this year. I have a hard time paying attention to them and find my attention wandering a lot. I’m hoping that practice will make me better at listening. So far, I’ve listened to 3 audiobooks this year.
Well, practice makes perfect. 😉
Audio books are super important because there are many reasons why people cannot read. Glad to hear Noah likes them! Great relevant post Nicole!
Yes, they’re perfect for him.
As someone who works in special education, I totally agree that audiobooks are AMAZING for struggling readers! Even though he may struggle with reading, listening to text at a higher level can still introduce him to so much great vocabulary (as well as plot and character development) that he wouldn’t ordinarily get. I support audiobooks for kids 100%!!!!
Yes, he can get so much from an audiobook beyond just the experience of “reading.”
GAH Nicole you are making me tear up over here! That is so AWESOME that he is able to read this way! I think you really highlighted something we don’t talk about enough, how important audiobooks really are to a LOT of people in need. And that they are just as great of options as other formats. Love this SO much and I am so happy for Noah that he has found such wonderful stories!
Yes, I mean it’s easy to talk about them as just another reading option, but for some people they are THE reading option. It opened my eyes to really think about that.
I’m so happy that your son has a format that works wonderfully for him! That’s so amazing! Our library is switching audio books over to Overdrive on March 5th of this year and I’m excited for my littles! While both of my kiddos each love to read, I’m looking forward to having audio books in the car for our 8.5 hour trips to SoCal or even or hour trips up to the city. I haven’t listened to one since 2006 and we moved from Indiana back out here, so I’m really looking forward to it. My oldest is hoping they’ll have The Boxcar Kids, so we’ll see.
Overdrive has been great for us!
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What an awesome testimony for audiobooks. I am so happy Noah found a fulfilling way to enjoy great stories. I think people, who poo-poo audiobooks and dismiss it as not “real reading” don’t consider people with disabilities. I remember seeing an author in a panel, Kody Keplinger, who is sight impaired, and she was talking about looking for books on audio to read. For me, they help me pass time as I do other things, but I appreciate that they can bring a story to another reader in a way that is more accessible for them.
Yes, I think audiobooks are a completely valid way to enjoy a book. And they’re really important for people who wouldn’t be able to read in other ways.
I only got into audiobooks late last year. I struggled with them because I get distracted… by my own thoughts. Even when I am doing nothing :p But now I listen when I walk into and from uni and that works because I am thinking about road safety and listening to audiobooks when doing that makes sense… for some reason.
I am glad that audiobooks are there for people who struggle to read printed books! I know it’s so helpful for people with dyslexia. I am also always grateful for them as if you’re blind or have a sight impairment audiobooks are always there (and basically made for them)
Yes, for some reason when I try to listen while doing nothing at all, my mind wanders, but it works well for me when I’m doing rote tasks. And I agree that many people have access to audiobooks who wouldn’t otherwise have access to reading!
I have a hard time focusing on audiobooks. But all my friends and family are addicted to them. So I understand why they are so important and I wish I could enjoy them better.
They’re not for everyone, and that’s okay. But I’m definitely glad they’re available for people like my son.
I definitely believe that audiobooks can be a wonderful way to experience a story for so many people! Personally, I haven’t listened to them that much, because I’m nervous I won’t be able to focus on the story while say, cleaning or working out, so then I’ll not understanding it as much as I should. Or, I’d love to be able to listen to them while I drive, but I fear I wouldn’t be able to focus on the road, having the opposite problem of enjoying the story too much. But I’m glad it’s another medium which can be used to tell stories everyone can connect to and it’s so wonderful to hear your son is able to connect with stories that way!
I’ve definitely heard some people say that they have trouble focusing on audiobooks. For me, the key is doing something else (I actually drift off if I try to do nothing while I listen), but to choose something that doesn’t take much brain power. So dishes or laundry are perfect. Driving works well for me unless I’m trying to concentrate on finding an exit or something—I often turn the book off when I get close to an unfamiliar destination because that’s usually when you have to focus hard on driving.
I’m glad you found some sort of solution to your son’s difficulties. I encouraged my nephew to read using audiobooks, as well. And I love listening to them in the car, while I’m cleaning, and while I’m feeding the baby. Most of my reading these days is audio. I just started my husband on listening to audiobooks on his commute, and he’s really been enjoying it. I have a huge Audible collection, so he doesn’t even have to start his own.
Lately I do a lot of my reading with audiobooks as well. No matter how busy I am, I can always find time to turn on a book at some point. Glad you’ve been encouraging others to listen as well!
Great post, I love audio books for long car journeys especially. And I had a non- reader friend who tried audio books for running, which went well (once she realised the reason the story wasn’t making sense was because she had it on shuffle)
Oh, how hilarious!! Listening to a book on shuffle would be quite an experience!