To read or to listen… That is the REAL question

When my oldest son was in second grade, He brought home Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.   A beaming seven year-old with a book that couldn’t fit in his backpack, smiling that big toothy smile, what do you do.  I taught kindergarten at the time so I just said to myself, “oh dear”.

It took us FOREVER to get through that book.  He was ready to do what many kids do, return it and read Henry and Mudge.  I, of course was intrigued and hooked at the beginning.  When we finished and talked about it, guess what happened?  The next book came out and I went to the store.  How do you foster a child’s curiosity and desire for a story that can sometimes be overwhelming for them?  Audio book.

The day I purchased that first audio book changed our lives forever and created a reader for life.  He and I made a deal, I would let him listen to the second book if he read the third and little did I know that that magic to reading for some was the sound of a voice that could captivate an audience transport a listener to their world.

I am a lover of stories.  The reason I say that is because I will take my story however i can get it.  I just recently completed listening to Cinder, am currently listening to Ender’s Game and Secrets at Sea,and reading Thomas and the Dragon Queen.  The beautiful thing about the ability to do both is that I have different voices in my head that can distinguish between the two, thus separating the two stories.  My youngest son, thinks I am crazy and keeps making sure that I am not listening to Secrets at Sea without him.  

We have to make sure that we have a balance.  Kids who listen to stories are much more likely to read more because of the exposure to more complex material.  These students also read more, whether it be a magazine, informational text or novel.  Kids who are given varieties of elements of information become knowledge seekers.  Isn’t that what we want?

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