Listening tiP: Using audiobooks to read and listen along to the story, passage, or article

(October 2018)

Mastering your listening skills and abilities in English is perhaps the most difficult of them all due to the fact that you really have to be paying attention to not just the words that are being spoken to but also the emotion and the context as well.

It can be hard to make listening activities fun to do but I believe that using audiobooks in the classroom is a great way to have students both read and following but also hear the emotions, the meaning, and the context of how the story is progressing. By listening to a book and not just reading it, there is an added level of discovery that you don’t get otherwise.

If you’re an English student and your teacher doesn’t use audiobooks in the classroom, it would be good of you to do so at home to give yourself some extra listening practice. Your teacher or professor may also be amenable to using audiobooks as well if you can do a good job of politely suggesting the idea to them and discussing the benefits of how reading while listening can help you retain more information about the book especially its characters, its setting, its main ideas, and what the story was all about.

Listening to an audiobook in particular is a lengthy activity but if you as the student are engaged in the story as well as other aspects of the book, then you will be learning a lot more grammar, vocabulary, and you’ll also be able to understand how emotions are expressed in the English language. If you can’t listen to an audiobook with your classmates because your teacher does not have time to go through with it, then take the time and invest in purchasing an audiobook, which is cheaper than a regular book and more transportable.

You may find that instead of reading the book alone to retain the English language concepts that you are better served by listening to the book instead and deeply concentrating on hearing it through your speakers / your computer. If you need it, you can also have the physical book in front of you and be reading the same chapter as the one you are listening to through your computer.

Don’t be afraid to supplement your listening activities with the added benefit of using audiobooks. You’ll absorb a lot more of the English language through your hearing it being spoken and you’ll also gain a greater appreciation for the authors, the stories, and the concepts that make up English literature.