Thursday, September 9, 2010

How It Happened That a Librarian Loves Audio Books!

One day, I was working in the library, and the library director said to me, "We have a new media that came in with our rotating collections, they are called Playaways." This was a few years ago, and I did not own an MP3 player or an iPod (though my daughter did). She went on to explain that the case looks like a VHS cassette, but inside there is a mini-MP3 player which is pre-loaded with an audio book, put on by the publisher. A patron just needs to add a single battery and their personal headphones. She thought it would be a good idea if someone tried to work one so we could teach the patrons. I looked at the titles, and I chose one. I brought the thing home and it sat on my shelf until she asked me, "How did you make out with that Playaway?"

Needless to say, I went home and I sat down with my crochet project and the Playaway over the weekend. It did not take long for me to fall in love with playaways. They are so convenient. The book is preloaded, you can bookmark your place, and the readers were brilliant!! I especially loved that I could accomplish my to-do list, hobbies, or errands, all while knocking some titles off my reading list (which is extensive). I soon found, however, being a new media, playaways are not widely available within the library system. I started looking for alternatives, which is when I decided to go ahead and get an MP3 player. I found I could get digital titles from the library and then upload them. I also figured out I could upload audio cds to my itunes or media player and put them on my MP3 that way. Not every audio book has good narration, but many of them have amazingly talented ones! They are read by actors/actresses, and professionals who can do multiple voices, sometimes sing to you the songs in the story, and occasioanlly, there is a cast of readers which is especially fun.

I would not want to listen to all books, but I love to hear the British classics read by Brits. I enjoy hearing characters from the South read by Southerners, it adds a level of enjoyment to the story for me. So I choose my audio books based upon their story. If there are multiple narrators within the story, those are fun to listen to as well. Sometimes I will choose a more challenging piece to listen to while I am crocheting, or driving because the story comes alive. Titles I want to read but are slow going in the beginning are also good choices. You can give a book a fair shot on audio, give it a bit more time than a title you'd be tempted to walk away from. Since you are doing other things, it is not wasted time, and you give the story a little longer of a chance to develop before abandoning.

Then I decided to combine "transliteracy" into my classroom. I started using audiobooks at home for the children, for my reluctant readers. I picked up the book and the audio at the library, and had them listen and read along with chapter books they were wanting to read. Things just a bit above their reading level. It worked very well. The children loved being told to get their MP3 player and go listen to a book. They were required to read along, and suddenly reading became fun and much less stressful. These reluctant readers also took to reading aloud to siblings, a fringe benefit for mommy. The littles had more reading time than mommy could afford to spend because the olders became more involved, voluntarily. Did you catch that? Voluntarily!

Therefore, I am now a fan of audio books. Both for my own personal enjoyment, and also for use in my home school. I have enjoyed listening to old favorites on audio, they are great for re-reads. It adds another dimension to the enjoyment of a book, but mainly I am a fan of multitasking and this is the perfect way to do that!!


Mary Bennett said...

Am I the only idiot on Blogger that has no idea of how to get that bar that allows readers to recomend a post to blogger, facebook etc? And how does Elizabeth get her signature at the bottom of every post? Please, please share with me! :)

Playaways sound neat. I'm pretty sure our library just does MP3 downloads.

Did you read my earring post? When you get a chance, please do. I need your clever input.

Lily said...

Mary, are you talking about the links in the post? If so, when you are composing a post, highlight the text you want to be a link, then up on the same toolbar where the icon to add a picture is, there is a chain, click on that and add the address for the link. Otherwise, maybe I'm not sure what you are asking, lol.

I am not sure about how to get a signature, did you ask E?

And lastly, Sweet Mary, I have not been over to read the post, but I will try to get around there this weekend. I need to send you an email.

p.s. I prayed for you again, and asked for prayers in my Fearless Friday post. Did you get any results yet?