Enjoy Reading with Audiobooks

Audiobooks have become a popular format for books; people enjoy reading them.  Experts, such as Daniel Willingham, point out that listening to audiobooks isn’t cheating. With both print books and audiobooks, the brain is working to comprehend the words. One major difference is that print books require decoding skills that audiobooks don’t need.

Benefits of Audiobooks

Evidence points to the benefits from listening to audiobooks. These are some of them:

  • Audiobooks provide access to books above the reader’s decoding skill level. This can help engage developing, reluctant or struggling readers.
  • Audiobooks help develop listening skills.
  • Audiobooks can introduce new vocabulary.
  • Audiobooks model pronunciation and good oral reading.
  • Audiobooks can increase comprehension when the vocal tone and inflection adds meaning.
  • Audiobooks can be enjoyed while participating in another activity, e.g. driving.
  • Audiobooks allow parents who are not fluent readers to share books with their children.
  • Audiobooks can be a useful alternate book format for students with dyslexia.
  • Most of all, audiobooks are enjoyable!


  • Audiobooks on their own do not help develop decoding skills.  Audiobooks accompanied by printed book or transcripts can help connect the listening to printed words.
  • Audiobooks are not a substitute for effective reading instruction.
  • The speed of the reading can hinder comprehension. Recordings may have speed options.
  • Unfamiliar accents may make understanding more difficult.
  • It can be more difficult to locate information to review that you might highlight, bookmark or flip back to in a print book.

Teaching Tips

Finding Audiobooks

With so many audiobooks available now, how do you choose? Many audiobooks are available for free from public libraries. Free Audiobooks and Why You Should Try Them lists some other places to find free audiobooks.

What titles to borrow? Here are some suggestions:

Learn more

Are Audiobooks As Good For You As Reading? Here’s What Experts Say

Audiobooks and literacy: a rapid review of the literature

Audiobooks for Adult Literacy? It’s not a Myth!

Benefits of Audiobooks for All Readers

The Benefits of Ear-Reading

Two Studies about the Benefits of Audiobooks

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