Why audiobooks are reading

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    Do you prefer audiobooks over print text? Learn why audiobooks are considered reading and their additional benefits.

    Why audiobooks are reading

    Audiobooks have been around since the 1930s but have seen a recent surge in popularity among Millennials and Gen Z. Many people consider them an alternative to traditional reading because they are a different way of consuming information. However, some people may not consider them reading at all.

    This article will explain why audiobooks count as reading and outline their benefits.

    Why audiobooks count as reading

    Audiobooks count as reading because they require many of the same cognitive skills as physical books. You need to pay attention to the story, follow the plot, and remember character names and details. This makes them a great option for learners, persons with disabilities, and anyone with reading difficulties like dyslexia.

    In addition, both written word and audible versions allow you to experience a story. The words on a page or the spoken words in an audiobook both ignite the imagination and create pictures in the mind.

    According to Daniel Willingham, professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, listening to an audiobook requires the same level of attention as reading a print book. Missing a few sentences may throw you off and derail your comprehension and retention.

    To sum up, reading comprehension is comparable with both audiobooks and print. With a good book, even though you may not have turned the pages, your mind is still busy piecing together the story—whether you’re enjoying a fantasy novel from your book club or reading an educational nonfiction book.

    How effective are audiobooks?

    Audiobooks vs. printed books make for an interesting debate. Some argue that listening to a text is inferior to reading it, and these views do get some empirical support.

    Multiple studies (Dixon, Simon, Nowak, & Hultsch, 1982Green, 1981, and Daniel & Woody, 2010) suggest that recall after reading a text is better than recall after listening to the text.

    A different study suggests that written text has an advantage over screen-based text when it comes to memory and recall.

    One explanation for this is that printed text is anchored to a specific location on a page, which gives readers spatial cues they can use to help them remember the information. This may be relevant to the debate over audiobooks vs. print books, as audiobooks deny listeners these same spatial cues.

    On the flip side, there’s plenty of evidence that audiobooks are just as effective as written text, if not better.

    In a 2016 study, participants who listened to Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken performed just as well on comprehension and recall tests as those who read the book. This suggests that our brains can process audiobooks in a similar way to print books.

    In the same vein, certain books are just better when someone else reads them aloud. There’s something about hearing a book that brings out the nuances and subtleties you might miss if you just read it silently to yourself. In addition, some narrators are so gifted at bringing the story to life that it’s a joy to hear them read.

    Professor Willingham further tips the scales in favor of audiobooks. He argues that whereas human beings have been communicating orally for thousands of years, printed word is a more recent communication tool.

    This means our visual processing ability is not as good as our ability to process spoken language. We’re wired to process speech faster than we can process written text.

    Additionally, listeners can derive a lot of information from a speaker’s inflections or intonations that they might miss when decoding the text silently to themselves.

    Sarcasm, for example, is much more easily communicated via audio than printed text.

    Finally, people who hear the works of old and famous writers like William Shakespeare spoken out loud tend to extract much more meaning from the actor’s delivery than they might glean by simply reading the text with its more archaic language.

    Benefits of audiobooks

    Audiobooks have many benefits. First, they can help students improve their listening skills. If you are someone who struggles with listening to lectures or speeches, audiobooks can help you improve your language processing and literacy skills.

    Second, audiobooks are narrated by professionals with different voices, so you will be able to hear the proper pronunciation and tone of the words. This can be helpful when trying to improve your listening skills in other areas of your life.

    In addition, audiobooks and multitasking go hand in hand. You can enjoy the latest bestseller while exercising, commuting, or even doing household chores. You’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish when you’re listening to a story at the same time.

    Finally, audiobooks can improve your understanding of the material. When you listen to the audio version of a book, you can hear the inflections in the author’s voice as well as various forms of expressive prosody (stress, pitch, and tempo). This helps you to get a better sense of the author’s intended meaning.

    Speechify is your go-to source for text to speech

    Speechify is a great way to listening to more text beyond just audiobooks. The app turns any text into audio, making it a perfect tool for converting any text like websites, documents, emails, social media, e-learning materials and more into natural-sounding speech.

    But Speechify is more than just an e-reader. It also translates documents into another language. So, whether you’re trying to read a foreign contract or are learning a new language, Speechify has you covered.

    You can even adjust the reading speed of the audio and lock in the pace that’s just right for you. Plus, you can register as a free subscriber and try the app before making a financial commitment.

    So, why wait? Get started at speechify.com right away.

    FAQ

    How do audiobooks help reading?

    Audiobooks can help with word recognition and pronunciation. Listening to an audiobook can also help improve comprehension, especially for students struggling with dyslexia.

    Can you only listen to audiobooks?

    Yes, it is possible to listen to audiobooks only. In some cases, listening to audiobooks may be preferable to reading the book in print.

    How can you benefit from audiobooks?

    Audiobooks provide a host of benefits, including increased comprehension and focus while reading, easier access to books in multiple formats, and enhanced mental stimulation.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

    Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify

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