professornana (professornana) wrote,

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reading with our ears

I am chairing the Odyssey Committee, a joint committee of ALSC and YALSA that is charged with selecting the most distinguished audiobook for childnre and/or teens. It makes a nice full circle for me in audio. I was privileged to serve on the first ever Odyssey Committee and still keep in touch with my "sisters" from that committee. In the 5 year interim between my first term and this year, I continued to "read with my ears." I wrote reviews for the Audiobook column in VOYA as well.

All this is prelude to the question I am often asked, "Isn't listening to an audio cheating?"

NO. NO. NO. It is not cheating. And here is why:

1. I listen only to unabridged recordings. So, I get all the same words as someone who reads in a more traditional approach.
2. Listening is not passive. At least not if it is done correctly. Listening requires attention be paid. Some of us who listen when we drive to and from work comment that sometimes we find ourselves thinking, "how did I get here. I don't remember passing that exit." This is what Kylene Beers calls bad automaticity.
3. Audio gives me the chance to read more since I do spend some time traveling back and forth in the car. I can read many more books by adding in audio.
4. ETA (thanks Mary for the reminder): you cannot skim or speed read an audio!

But there are some differences, too:

1. If I have already read the book and am now listening to the audio, I approach the audio somewhat diffrently than if it is an initial read.
2. A good audio can elevate a mediocre book.
3. A bad audio can kill a terrific book.

I am only scratching the surface here. But here are some excellent resources:

bureky book

This is the forthcoming book from Mary Burkey, the first chair of the Odyssey Committee and erstwhile blogger of audio here:

grover book

This book, from Sharon Grover and Lizette Hannigan, both former chairs of Odyssey Committees, should provide even more information for those questioning the use of audiobooks.

Join me in reading with your ears? Lists of good audiobooks for children, tweens, and teens include:
Amazing Audiobooks
Notable Children;s Books Recordings

And remember, if you are lookng for my book blog, it is here:
Tags: audio
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