Is listening to a book cheating?

Audio books are a big deal in my house. My kids love them and listen to them constantly. They also like to read, which I’m grateful for. Basically, they love a good story in any format.

I first discovered the appeal and value of audio books when I worked at an amazing school for dyslexic learners called, Charles Armstrong School. Dyslexia is a processing or, “wiring” issue in the brain that affects a person’s ability to acquire language skills like, decoding and fluency. It has nothing to do with intelligence. Dyslexic learners are every bit as smart as non dyslexic learners(there is actually some very compelling research about the hidden gifts and talents of dyslexic learners). The teachers at Armstrong knew they could work around the decoding issue by offering their students the chance to “listen” to books. This often unlocked the door to helping students build higher order comprehension skills and strategies that are so essential for learning. Of course, learning to read well is essential and the school was also expert at helping dyslexic learners improve their reading skills.

Today, audio books are everywhere and so easy to get and use. Podcasts too, as we are all aware. I love TED Talks and documentaries and radio programs like, RadioLab, The Moth Radio Hour and This American Life. These are all forms of storytelling that we listen to(and watch), rather than read. It really is amazing how much access we all have to content in all forms.
The attached article offers a succinct and information rich perspective on the similarities and differences between reading and listening to books and some implications for each. I enjoyed the article and it clearly sparked many wonderful memories of my time at Armstrong and all the brilliant kids I got to work with there. Hop you enjoy it too!