The Common Core Standards give special emphasis to listening skills in K-5 literacy. Children’s listening comprehension outpaces reading comprehension until middle school years (grades 6-8). Specifically, audio books allow children to experience written language without the burden of decoding, granting them access to content that they may not be able to read and understand by themselves. Also underpinning the standards is the importance of students acquiring a rich and varied vocabulary. It is widely accepted among researchers that the difference in students’ vocabulary is a key factor in disparities in academic achievement, yet vocabulary instruction is neither frequent nor systematic in most schools. Audio books provide students with exposure to a great variety of words in context, and with proper pronunciation, dialect and fluency. Finally, the standards argue that complexity of text matters. Reading demands in college, work and life increased over the last half century, but declined in K12 schools. Audio books help students stretch their reading abilities since they can listen a full two grade levels beyond their current reading level.
The Common Core State Standards (Appendix A) – Download