We all have them. «Students…who…uhm…have…trouble……what’s that word?… oh!… readingatacorrectpace.» It hinders the class’ reading rhythm, and it makes everyone, including you, zone out completely and forget immediately what was read. You try helping out, telling them to read more, or to practice reading aloud, but you know these won’t really make a difference.
Anyway, there’s nothing more you can do, right?
You can actually help students who have trouble in reading in a way that you never thought of before. Think. Did you forget an option? Have you really tried every single possibility? Could you have forgotten…
What? No! These cost a ton, and there are no interesting books for children. It doesn’t make sense.
There are plenty of free audiobook websites.There’s actually a great choice of books for children. Even Scholastic knows it. There is OpenCulture, Kids Learn Out Loud, StoryNory, Lit2Go, …there are tons !
Audiobooks have huge potential. They allow for students to hear correct, fluent reading. This has the possibility of making the whole «just practice reading aloud» make a lot more sense. Furthermore, imagine the potential of learning that way in a second language classroom.
Won’t we be wasting a whole lot of time in class just to hear someone mumble something I can already say?
Sure, you can read it aloud, but being exposed to different accents, intonations and pace allows students to develop a better ear and develop their own style! Plus, you already talk so much, why don’t you give that voice a rest?
Well, fine then. Simply use the audiobook as a second exposition to the book: make them listen to it after they have read this part of the book at home. Then, the day or so after, read it with them, making the book come to life with somewhat okay acting skills.
Sorry, you’re not Johnny Depp.
This makes the whole experience much more interesting to students who dislike books, and you’ll probably have a good laugh out of it yourself. Students will have fun, instead of thinking that books are boring, bland, one-dimensional things. This could have an extreme influence on their literacy skills in the long run!
Think of how proud they’ll be when they graduate with honours.
Sure, Audiobooks themselves won’t have that effect, but the way you use them and present books to the kids could really have such a huge impact. Reading allows for development of vocabulary, of correct syntax and of their own critical thinking. If you make it as fun as watching TV, they won’t have a choice but to love it.
You can’t turn Romeo and Juliet in the Simpsons, I know, but giving that extra dimension to the books might just be what the kids need.
How about you give it a try and comment below, alright?