Monday, December 11, 2006

Getting back to it, and a random question

Missed blogging yesterday, but some days that can't be helped. Especially around the holidays.

It wasn't anything in particular that kept me away, just a little of everything.

Here's something that I've been pondering for awhile, as I'm going through my Christmas shopping list, and I'm interested in thoughts from the peanut gallery.

My son is eight, and he's currently reading Harry Potter #5. He can read at that level and he does enjoy it. But he also loves to listen to books on CD. He's listened to Eragon and the unabridged Chronicles of Narnia, along with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's Peter & the Starcatchers (a fabulous prequel to Peter Pan).

He's listened to those books over and over and over. Instead of music in his room while he's playing with pirate ships and Star Wars figures, he listens to the books on CD.

I love the fact that he does this, and I've noticed a wonderful increase in his vocabulary. He probably (though I've never asked) could quote lengthy passages from The Silver Chair and Eragon (guess which movie he's counting down to go see...this weekend!).

So when I was thinking about what to get him for Christmas, I considered whether a CD version of Eldest (the sequel to Eragon) or the book version would be better.

And I couldn't decide.

I found merit in either option. I'm leaning toward the CD for several reasons, though: first, because he doesn't read as often as he listens to CDs (although he's plowing through The Order of the Phoenix pretty darn quickly for an eight year old), and second because he'd probably listen to it over and over and I doubt he would read it over and over.

But I begin to wonder: is there a much greater benefit to reading, literally reading, as opposed to listening? To the same story?

You'd still get the vocabulary. You'd still get the story (I only buy unabridged audiobooks).

But you wouldn't see the written word. But...you'd hear it, and hear the words pronounced correctly.

Yes, reading the written word is important--I'm not discounting that at all, of course; in fact, I believe it's imperative. But I guess what I'm asking is, does listening to the book fully replace the benefits of reading it? Or only partially? Or not at all?

What do you think?

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8 Comments:

Blogger booklogged soliloquized...

I don't know that it really matters. If he's reading Harry Potter, he'll read other books. I think it's great that he will listen to books on tape instead of radio or watch tv while doing his project. I think I'd be tempted to go with the audio and buy him a different book.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 2:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Annie soliloquized...

I'd agree with the comment above. If he's reading Harry Potter #5 at 8, I think he's already developed a good initial bond with books.

I don't really think there's much difference between reading the written word and hearing it. It's the same words, the same story. If it were me, I'd buy the audio for him.

I personally don't like books on audio, solely because I love how a book feels in my hands, the pages beneath my fingers.

And by the way... Eldest ROCKED with the same OMG plot twist surprise at the end like Harry Potter 5 :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 8:47:00 AM  
Anonymous Gypsy soliloquized...

Can't wait to see Eragon!

As for audiobooks, I think they're fine! After all, consider those who can't see to read. Also, it increases listening comprehension, right? :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 9:14:00 AM  
Blogger Heather Harper soliloquized...

I don't think audio can replace reading. But it is a much better alternative than a movie because it forces him to pay attention, expand his vocabulary, and flex his imagination.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Devonna soliloquized...

Well, I think if his copy of Eragon is on CD, then his copy of Eldest should be also. I'm quirky that way ~ I like to have my sets all be in the same format. I agree with the comment above ~ buy him the audio of Eldest and get him a different book.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Caryle soliloquized...

This is a tough question for me to answer, but my gut reaction is to say it's important for him to read the words. Most of my writing skills have developed through osmosis; I learned what worked because I saw it over and over again. Reading as a child helped develop my reading comprehension skills, and I staunchly believe that reading the written word as a child is indirectly responsible for my employment today.

On the other hand, there are many words I'm unsure how to pronounce that I absolutely know how to spell. I'm also a highly visual learner, so hearing the spoken word has never stayed with me as well as reading the information.

If you think he'd enjoy the CD more than the book, go for the book. After all, he's eight. :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Sparky Duck soliloquized...

I like the audio books after I have read the original book. Why not buy them both?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 1:38:00 PM  
Blogger Alyssa Goodnight soliloquized...

I fall in the CD camp, rather than the book. Obviously he likes to read, and is good at it, so you don't need to be concerned about that. Plus, there are a huge number of books he can get his hands on in print that are not in audio format.

Also, the audio book will let him multi-task and enjoy a book at a time that he doesn't particularly want to read. Plus...as a person who knows plenty of words, but not how to pronounce a healthy number of them correctly, I think the audio book is a good help for hearing pronunciation, inflection, character dialogue, etc.

Hope he likes whichever one you pick!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 7:01:00 PM  

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