The National Literacy Trust (NLT) has released classroom resources on audiobooks, after research showed that listening to them can support children’s reading.
Two posters produced by the agency include tips for teachers or parents on using audiobooks for "unlocking children’s love of reading", said NLT audio research lead Emily Best.
In its Audiobooks and Literacy review, the charity identified how children can "access more of a book than reading alone" as listening deepens their understanding of tone and pronunciation, exposes them to different accents and dialects, and cites how hearing narration in the voices of authors sharing the child’s background can be enriching. The review also claims listening to audiobooks uses the same cognitive skills as reading, understanding and retaining information.
Best said: "Audiobooks enable children of all reading abilities and interests to access and explore the incredible world of stories, which are brought to life by a range of exciting voices, different accents and sound effects. You can listen to an audiobook almost anytime and anywhere, and in the days of tablets, smartphones and smart speakers, listening to stories is easier than ever before."
Although the figures show girls aged seven to 12 are most likely to listen, the National Literacy Trust cited 2015 findings that, after reading e-books, the percentage of boys who felt reading “was cool” increased from 34.4% to 66.5%, suggesting a similar pattern could be found in audiobooks and digital platforms to encourage reluctant readers.
The review also says the rise of smart speakers can help families where parents "struggle to read or lack confidence reading to their own children".
According to figures released by The Insight People at The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference from its "Leisure Measure" report, audiobooks have doubled in popularity with children in the last year.