The Benefits of Listening vs. Reading a Book

February 16, 2011

Digital book readers are all the rage and with them comes the ability to more easily listen to books on the go. Their portable nature lends to getting in a chapter while at the doctor’s office or a few pages while waiting for your kids in the carpool lane. It’s a great trend to see happening because there are many benefits to listening to an audio book. Most of these benefits are not present when simply reading the pages so it’s likely we’ll see an increase in options for audio books and an increase in these skills.

Improve listening skills

It’s no surprise that most people could benefit from having better listening skills. It’s especially important to teach our children from a young age that when someone else is talking we should pay attention and comprehend the details. Listening to an audio book will naturally help this skill mature.

Increase vocabulary

This happens whether reading or listening, but when we both read and listen simultaneously it helps the word stick in our memory. So, when possible, follow along with a book while you are listening.

Improve word recognition skills

By seeing it written and hearing it, this skill once again develops at a greater pace. When we apply more than one sense while learning a new skill, we are more likely to maintain that skill. The same applies here and the next time we come across that word we will be more likely to recall its meaning.

Improve comprehension skills

It’s one thing to simply listen, but quite another to comprehend what is being said. If someone hears something, rather than just reading it, they show more comprehension when being tested. While listening they have a greater tendency to connect to the words and relate them to a life experience. This shows ultimate comprehension.

Teach the proper pronunciation of words.

Perhaps the most poignant of all benefits is the ability to hear how words are pronounced. We all know more words than we use in our vocabulary because we generally can understand context while reading, however, with the correct pronunciation we will be more likely to incorporate these new words in our conversations.

As has been stated, some of these skills are certainly developing when reading. At the same time, some of these skills will become latent if we only read and never listen.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mike Vendetti December 15, 2011 at 6:02 pm

As a narrator and publisher of audio books, I have begun producing and posting audio books with synchronized text on YouTube. Currently audio book publishers publish audio books without text, and e-book publishers may produce books with a computerized voice, but the computer voice does not compare to the human voice when it comes to reading a novel etc.

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