Sunday, February 5, 2017

Audiobook Love Affair Continues

Every night at bedtime, the girls start begging and negotiating for the number of chapters I'm willing to read from the Magic Treehouse book we're currently on. The chapters are short and each seems to end on a cliffhanger, so I understand the need to just keep going - you can't go to sleep if you're wondering if Jack and Annie are ever going to escape the pyramid/avoid the sabertooth/make it home before their mother discovers that they actually spend every moment they can get away in a magical time traveling treehouse.

What's interesting about this is that these books are at Madison's "just right" reading level - even bordering on too easy. The chapters aren't long, the print isn't too small, the reading level isn't hard and the stories are interesting. In fact, if she wanted to, she could completely devour one on her own in about an hour. I've seen her do it.

But she doesn't want to. She reads plenty on her own, but she and Reagan both love to snuggle into bed and listen to me read before they fall asleep.

I get it. I'm a vociferous reader, tearing through novels and memoirs and other interesting books at lightening speed. Always have been. But there's something about being read to - sitting back and letting the story wash over you - that's its own kind of special.

I've written before about listening to audiobooks in the car. Even back in my teaching days, I'd listen to podcasts I'd downloaded during my long commute, and I let my Audible account take over soon afterward. Back in those days, I was singing with kids all day. I was listening to music with kids all day. By the time I was alone in the car, I wanted to hear grown ups talking. When I was up to date with TV and watching more sports, I liked listening to people talk about those. Now, I want someone to read me a story.

I will admit, I'm sort of an odd duck when it comes to audiobooks. I listen to books that I've already read, on my own, and enjoyed (the one exception to this is memoirs read by the author - there's something about someone telling their own story in their own voice that really hooks me). The reader is incredibly important to me. It might be a good book, but if the reader's voice gets on my nerves, it's not a good choice. In fact, someone recently told me they weren't going to bother with Audible, because you can get Alexa or Kindle voice to read to you. But I absolutely can't do this. Way to robotic - too computer. I need a storyteller.

Generally I listen when I'm alone in the car, or when the girls have opted for headphones, but a few weeks ago Madison and I were on our way home from co-op. I thought she was in a music and headphones mood, so I pulled up Audible on my phone and started listening to Anne of Green Gables for the 10,000th time.

And about fifteen minutes into the story, I noticed that her headphones were off and she was listening intently. Usually, our reading dynamic as a homeschool family is either that she's reading to me or I'm reading to her. Never did we think to use audiobooks where we were both actively listening.

Now it's a road trip thing. It's calming, it's interesting, and it gives us something to discuss when we're driving to a competition or shuffling between activities.

I could not be happier that I've got some new audiobook listeners in the house, and I know my Audible account is going to start filling with stories that we'll all love.
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