While learning to read can be a very intimidating task for children, listening is something that they are considerably more familiar with. Most parents have been reading and re-reading stories to their children for years. Therefore introducing audio books in the early learning stages can be an effective way to build the new skills needed for reading. Base your instruction on familiar activities such as listening to a story being told.
How can listening to stories help children learn to read?
Audio books provide a model for reading fluently
By listening to the audio book while following the text, students can see how words are used to form sentences. At the same time the narrators provide a model for reading fluently. Look for variable speed players that will enable you to control the speed of the audio to suit your class reading level. If you get stuck, we can help. The variable speed audio players in our range can help you do that.
Introduce new words in their context
When reading, it is easier for children to skip the unknown words and never learn anything about them. Listening to new words helps students become aware of them, hear the correct pronunciation and understand the context in which they are being used.
Involve everyone in class discussions
Eliminate the gap between slow readers and the rest of the class. By listening to audio books everyone will have a fair chance at participating in class discussions.
Listening helps develop the visual part of the brain
Research on Auditory Learning by EDC (http://ltd.edc.org/understanding-auditory-learning-integrating-listening-k-…) shows that listening is visual; the brain sees what it hears. Through listening children will benefit from a multi-sensory experience with books that goes beyond learning how to read. Listening to stories stimulates the brain to form mental images of what is being read and therefore it enhances the learning process.
Encourage independent reading
Set up a listening centre so that children can listen and follow the written text at the same time. You can also use multiple headphones for quiet listening. The children will be able to listen to the stories by themselves developing their ability to become independent learners.
Pairing reading with listening carries great potential for teaching and learning. Have you tried it in your classroom? What differences have you noticed?