If you’ve talked to me in-person about our Read-Aloud Posters, you know it’s no secret that, when it comes to our Read-Aloud Posters, I prefer reading a book aloud over playing an audiobook.
When I read a book aloud myself, I'm more in tune with my kids’ reactions to what I’m reading, and I’m easily able to stop for them to write down a word or add detail to a picture. Plus, it’s truly a FAMILY reading experience if I’m reading it with them and we’re all experiencing the book at the same time. Together.
Lately (and maybe it's just me, but I don't think so...) there are more times when I need something for my kids to do after schoolwork and outside time is done, when they have more free time than I do.
During times when I want or need to be otherwise occupied, an audiobook can be a great alternative; it just takes a little advance planning to make the audiobook experience live up to a live read-aloud.
So here they are: my best tips for using an audiobook successfully with a Read-Aloud Poster.
- Take a tour of the Read-Aloud Poster before you push play. Show them the front of the Activity Guide with the poster diagram, and find each of the corresponding areas on the actual poster. Talk about what they’ll do for each activity. Delegate responsibility for the Activity Guide to one of your older children; if you have several candidates for the job, it can be a rotating assignment.
- When possible, have a print copy of the book available for them to consult occasionally. It helps to have a print copy to look up how to spell unknown words or find that detail that went by too quickly as they listened. Yes, they can do a quick rewind (see Tip 2), but sometimes that’s not convenient. Additionally, beginning readers can get good practice from following along in the text as it’s being read aloud.
- Teach them how to pause the audiobook, whether on a CD or digital media. At our house, we find it decreases conflict if we designate one listener each session to be in charge of the playback. Nothing’s more bothersome than trying to write down a new word while the story continues to roll on, and before you know it, you’ve missed a key piece of the action. If you were reading the book aloud you would simply pause briefly without even thinking about it.
- Join in the first session (or two) of listening, and model WHY they might want to pause the audiobook. “Let’s just pause the audiobook right here between chapters so we can fill in that part of the timeline and color in our chapter tracker.” Use this first sessionor two to demonstrate consulting the Activity Guide and planning when to complete poster activities.
- Don’t go TOO far away. If possible, be in the same room or a nearby room, so that you’re not entirely disengaged from the reading action. Set the kids up at the kitchen table while you’re cooking dinner, or in the living room while you send some e-mails from your laptop.
P.S. If your family has already read a book together, kids doing a Read-Aloud Poster independently while listening to an audiobook “re-read” can be a great screen-free activity. They will need even less support from you than if none of you has read the book before, but they will still enjoy the audiobook-poster combination.
How about you? Have you used an audiobook with your Read-Aloud Poster? How did it go? Share your tips in the comments below!