Daily Archives: June 18, 2009

listening to books


I worked in another classroom this afternoon and when we came in from playing outside the children were strongly requesting that their teacher read some stories to them.  I thought to myself, “I’m glad to see that they are so excited about books!”  She told them to sit quietly while she got a few books to read.  The next thing I knew she was putting a CD in the CD player!.  It was a book on CD.  In fact, all three books she “read” were all on CD!  When she put the books away, I noticed almost all of their books are on CD!  I remember thinking, “How sad!”

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against having audio books in the classroom.  They’re great for a listening center (which none of the classes where I work have).  But, as I listened to the books, I realized how many opportunities were missed to actually discuss the books or what was happening in them!  This is such a passive form of “reading” a book – the lazy way out!  And by the multitude of these kinds of books – I realized that these children probably rarely hear an adult actually read to them!

I don’t mind audio books as an occasional treat or in a listening center – after the book had already been read aloud by the teacher and discussed.  But to be the main form of “reading”?!  I don’t like this very much.  It doesn’t encourage the child’s involvement or any critical thinking.  I dunno, maybe it’s just me.  I love to read aloud to my class!  I love to model how excited I get about reading and I like to see how their expressions change as I change my voice and do hand motions!  And I like hearing about why they think events happen or why a character feels a certain way!  I feel that these children are missing out on the best part of the reading experience when all they do is sit back and passively listen to a story!  Oh well, not much I can do – if I get any of them next year – they’ll be able to see how a real story is told!  🙂