Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Audio Books in the Classroom

Last night @nbteacher sent out a tweet alerting his followers to Lit2Go – an audio book repository created and maintained by the University of Southern Florida. It's a collection of famous poems, short stories, and larger works that have fallen into the public domain and therefore free to use and share without the fear of copyright infringement. Lit2Go took these works and had them recorded as downloadable MP3 audio books.
I find audio books to be much less interesting than real books. It’s just not the same, like having someone retell a movie. Sure, you’d know what the movie was about, but few will dispute that it’s not the same thing as experiencing the feet-sticking-to-the-floor, greasy-popcorn-fingers joy of really being there first-hand.

Regardless, I can't help but think audio books have a place in the classroom. But where?

The mp3 recordings found on Lit2Go can be readily downloaded in printable, PDF format from popular public domain sites like I spent much of the summer browsing this site and found a few good titles, but I wasn't sure what to do with them. Lit2Go gave me an idea.

Wouldn’t it be cool if students created their own repository of audio books similar to what USF has accomplished with Lit2Go. Not only would this transfer a sense of ownership to students, but it would give them real, authentic cause to practice reading fluency.

Good idea?
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1 Responses:

Damien said...

G'day John.
There are a couple of angles to this I think. First, I really disapprove of teachers using audiobooks - I think it's lazy, and gives the kids a poor message, especially if the teacher uses the time to do other things in the classroom. It tells the children that the literature is not valued.
However, some teachers are poor readers, that is in being expressive and bringing a story to life. So I can see why they might want to use an audiobook, but I still think it would be better if they rehearsed their oral reading skills.
With kids making their own repository of stories: yes and no. They will have to be good readers if they want anyone else to listen to them reading. Anyway, it's an idea worth exploring.