One of our girls’ most treasured and ongoing family traditions is Daddy reading a chapter (or two) while they slowly nibble on their nighttime snack or snuggle on the couch. After a span of 15 minutes or so, I can hear their sweet refrain: “More, Daddy, more! Just one more chapter . . . please?”
In our home school, we will often read aloud their science and history lessons together so that they actually get through the chapter. Reading aloud gives us the opportunity to pause to discuss vocabulary, have a Q/A session, or discuss a topic of interest. In spite of its advantages, however, we do not always have time to read aloud to our children beyond academics and bedtime. That is why we decided introduce our children to the wonderful world of audiobooks.
Six Reasons to Incorporate Read Alouds and Audiobooks into Your Homeschool
- Some literature, especially poetry, is intended to be read aloud. The well-known Argentine writer and poet, Borges, believed that “Truly fine poetry must be read aloud. A good poem does not allow itself to be read in a low voice or silently. If we can read it silently, it is not a valid poem: a poem demands pronunciation. Poetry always remembers that it was an oral art before it was a written art. It remembers that it was first sung.” Over the past year, my older daughter Hannah has taken an interest in poetry and asked to record herself reading her favorite poem from the Second McGuffey Reader, “Mother, What is Death?”Click here to listen to Hannah’s recording.
- Audio books expose children to great stories beyond their reading level but not their comprehension level. By the age of six, my two older daughters had listened to the entire Little House series. You can check out our Library Corner page for a list of books that our children have enjoyed by personal reading, read-alouds and/or audiobooks.
- For children who struggle with reading, audiobooks offer a venue for sophisticated, linguistic input. In “The Arts of Language,” Andrew Peduwa (Institute of Excellence in Writing) stresses that “not only will listening to good language contribute to better comprehension, it is essential for good usage, both in speaking and writing. Built primarily by ear, the language database of vocabulary and syntax is what provides the raw material for a person to use words and create sentences; simply put, the better the language that goes into the mind, the better the language that comes out of it.”
- Like print books, audio books spark the imagination and encourage creative play. We have just enough daughters in our family to play Little House; I am Ma (no surprises here), Daddy is Pa, Rachel is Mary, Hannah is Laura, and Rebecca is baby Carrie. On other days, Rachel and Hannah have reenacted scenes from their favorite stories, such as when Lucy Pevensie meets Mr. Tumnus for the first time in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Audiobooks are great for road trips. This year, we listened to Volume 2 of Mystery of History three times while traveling. Other favorites have been The Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and A Little Princess.
- Audiobooks are a great strategy to entertain one child while you work one-on-one with another. When selecting curriculum materials, I always consider whether there is a supplemental audio.
While audiobooks are a great learning tool, buying them can be cost-prohibitive. Here are some ideas for reducing your financial investment:
- Check out the collection at your local library. On library days, our family always emerges with at least two audio books for our weekend road trips.
- Visit librivox.org, which offers free, public domain (in the U.S.A.) audio books read by volunteers from around the world. You or your older children can also volunteer to record a book.
- Take advantage of audio book club memberships. Mystie of Simply Convivial has a great blog post explaining How to Get Up to 15 Audible Audio Books for $4 or less.
It’s YOUR turn to share: How do you incorporate audio books in your home school? Do you have any other resources to add?