In a previous post, I offered praise for audiobooks because they opened up a world of books for my twins that they would likely otherwise have never read.
One year later, we are still listening to audiobooks in the car, which is a great goodness, because—sad to say—I’m not sure how much reading either of them would be doing otherwise.
My son isn’t reading much because he is a “reluctant reader.” Given a choice between reading or doing anything physical with his body, he will always choose the physical activity. In the car, however, when he’s a captive audience, so to speak, he enjoys listening to a variety of audiobooks. He definitely prefers The Lightening Thief or Peter and the Starcatchers, but even action-boy can find himself being drawn into the magical story line of A Single Shard.
My daughter isn’t reading much because the rigors of 5th grade have sucked up much of her free time. She is normally a voracious reader, but these before she can crack a book, she must go to school, do her homework, practice cello; then comes sports and girl scouts; and finally—the activity that trumps all other activities—playdates. But when we listen to an audiobook in the car, she and her brother become so engrossed that they sit in the car listening long after I’ve parked the car and gone into the house.
There are many forces that keep children from turning into bookworms. These days, videogames and television are given much of the blame for both low literacy and childhood obesity. Recent trends to keep kids active encourage parents to sign up kids in multiple sports instead of hanging out together in the library and curling up on the couch together with a good book. Active lifestyles and bookworms aren’t ready bedfellows, it seems.
But listening to audiobooks in the car can help to combat low literacy and childhood obesity in one stroke! Exposure to literature expands children’s minds whether they are reading the book or listening to the story. Even though kids are signed up for two or three sports, they still need to find time to get lost in a good book!
So next time you are driving your kid to school, soccer, ballet, chess club, swim team, tae kwan do, whatever! turn on an audiobook instead of a DVD. Go to the library, pick out a blockbuster and get started. Audiobooks are great entertainment, and they promote literacy while you all stay active!