About five years ago, I began listening to audiobooks in earnest while I was working out. I had listened to a few audiobooks here and there on long trips, but I had never made it a consistent part of my reading life. I hate working out. I. Hate. It. In the past, I had always listened to music while I was working out, but the different tempos messed me up. A friend suggested I listen to audiobooks instead and a happy habit was born. (Sadly, the working out is not the habit that stuck.) Here are the (top) five reasons I listen to audiobooks, and why I think you should too.
#1. Audiobooks are accessible.
With the advent of digital recordings, audiobooks are easier than ever to come by. Gone are the days of lugging around 12 CDs – everything can be downloaded directly to your personal device whether it’s your phone, iPod, or other digital library. Apps like OverDrive make public library’s digital libraries available at the click of a button so readers don’t have to pay for audiobooks like on other apps such as Audible. However, Audible is great for people like me who enjoy rereading (relistening?) to a favorite book.
#2. Audiobooks pass the time.
As it was for me, audiobooks can be a means of managing or enduring tasks that many of us would rather avoid. Whether it’s working out, folding laundry, doing yardwork, or unloading the dishwasher, the accompaniment of a good story will make the time pass faster.
#3. Audiobooks enhance the story.
Many audio versions today include music, sound effects, and sometimes even multiple narrators or an entire cast narrating the story for you. Some publishers will choose narrators to match accents, even down to regional location. Series may be narrated by the same narrator throughout to maintain a sense of continuity. The pace, inflection, and speed of the narration will take you that much deeper into the world of the story.
#4. Audiobooks can be shared.
With the prevalence of Bluetooth speakers in homes and vehicles, it’s easier than ever to do a family read. All members of the family can enjoy experiencing a book together without having to fight over who should read. It could also be a good way to tackle issues you need to talk about but might not know how to approach. Relating to a character’s struggles can lead to some really good conversations with students or your own children.
#5. Audiobooks grow readers.
This is a great way to hook budding readers or push a developing reader to challenge himself or move him out of a rut. This is also a good tool for readers who “can’t sit still to read” or dyslexic readers who need help making sense of the text. This can save a reader from seeing reading as a task rather than a treat.
Grab your earbuds, download an amazing story or two (like Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle books or Sally Green’s Half Bad) and start listening!