Sunday, January 26, 2014

Come Listen To This Book!

I've been listening to audiobooks on the way to work for about 2 1/2 years now.  This is a great way to stay up to date on books I'm considering purchasing for my school's library...also helps me to catch up on books I've been meaning to read--an endless task.  I have made it through 7 audiobooks this school year and just keep going back to the public library for more.  Listening to audiobooks on a consistent basis lets me realize what power they hold. Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, was more authentic while listening to him read than had I just read the physical book.  Many nonfiction books are easier for me to listen to on audio then they are to read.  

The above combined with research I knew and have been reading about in regards to audiobooks in the classroom made me realize how essential I should make a listening center in my library.  This year, I set up 4 book CD's in the computer and prop the book up by the tower, so students could see their choices. This listening experience spans kindergarten-5th grade.  This past week, all the grades got to enjoy audio during centers.  Even the preschoolers listened to the audio of a book as a class while I turned the pages.  To them, it was a whole new way to listen to a story.
All grades listened to the books, Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord, Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr., Bear's Loose Tooth by Karma Wilson, and When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae.  That's right, every grade listened to these picturebook audiobooks. My goal is to change the audiobooks once a month since they have library centers only twice a month (during weeks they checkout).  The offerings will only expand to older picturebooks and short story or poetry collections since they only have 8-12 minutes at the center.

Students will have a choice to listen to another audio once the current audio they have is done or fill out a review of the book they just finished.  These reviews will be hung up by the listening center for other students to read.  I'm not requiring them to do this because I want the listening/reading to be enjoyed and not another area where they have to fret about something to write out.

In addition, I purchased multi-headphone splitter for students to listen to the same book and I recommend doing this if you only have one or two electronic platforms to offer students to listen to audio. This type of splitter is available via this link.

"Headphones on books" image courtesy of renjith krishnan/

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