Hear me out about summer reading

(Reading Rockets) Most parents and teachers know that the summer slide phenomenon is real. They also know that while on summer break, picking up a book is not a high priority for most students. Between wanting to play video games, stay up late, play outside, watch movies or go swimming, it’s a long shot to get them to read or even listen for the recommended 20 minutes per day … or is it?

If the goal is to improve reading comprehension skills, and ready access to high quality books is limited, where can parents turn to engage reluctant summer readers? Audiobooks to the rescue!

Children, and adults for that matter, enjoy being told a good story. And recent research shows that listening to audiobooks favorably impacts vocabulary, reading comprehension and motivation to read. Listening to a book effectively removes the burden of decoding difficult text, thereby granting greater access to complex words, which students need to know, including their context and fluent pronunciation. This increased access also enables a student to better comprehend the overall story.

As an aside, this is not to knock the value of ‘pairing’ (i.e., tracking words while listening), but to point out ‘just listening’ is equally valid as an instructional technique, engaging deep limbic parts of the brain which are responsible for storing memories and word knowledge.

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Publication:      Reading Rockets
Author:             William S. Weil (Guest Blog)
Publish Date:   8.1.2017