I got my first cassette player at the age of 7 – I still can clearly remember all of the books I listened to over and over. I started using my first cassette recorder at the age of 12 in secondary school to record all my lessons so I could listen back to them – I upgraded to a MP3 player/recorder by college!
Now as a dyslexic adult I insist on reading daily to keep up my skills and I’m secretly chuffed at having read 27 books this year!
However I still listen to audio books for series that I feel are beyond my reading and I feel that I would miss out on…
I prescribe audio books for younger students like a medical doctor. For younger students who are book-phobic it gets them into reading and liking books – they don’t realize what the are missing out on! It also helps with focus and relaxing the brian. I will talk about this more in my future sleep patterns article. The biggest thing I learned at 7 was that I could memorize the story by listening – it thought me the auditory compensation skills that I still rely so heavily on – in college my fellow students were fascinated that I could remember word for word the lectures despite no notes as I wasn’t able to ever take dictation. I would later correct all my class mates notes as I used them for my degree as I have had the time to take the lecture in and understand it rather than worrying about writing. So audio books teach us how to focus while just listening.
Many dyselxic spectrum students struggle with comprehension. Again with audio books we can learn to focus on the context of writing and reading. We learn what to expect from lanuage and where it goes best together. This later helps us while we are reading – it’s like we go into auto pilot working out the text from the context without even realizing what we are doing!
Lastly a great benefit of audio books is learning words! Like many dyslexics I simply didn’t have the words to say or write at an early age as I wasn’t learning them from books. We all know the students who talk better because they read or are read to or they spend more time in adult conversations – they always stand out as being more “educated” to us. Dyslexics quite often are seen as poor at communication as they speak a lot in “things” and “stuff” and other small bity words to fill the gaps of what they are trying to say. Audio books can help to fill these gaps very quickly!
As dyslexics all have huge imaginations I always recomend books that open up new worlds – or even better are like the world you live in only differently. This is why Harry Potter has got more dyslexics to read than any other series ever.
You can download the Harry Potter Audio Books directly from http://www.pottermore.com/
The next series I love is the Dark materials or Northern Lights series as I see them by Phillp Pullman. These can be found on iTunes, Audible and the BBC http://www.bbcshop.com/audiobook-boxsets/phillip-pullman-his-dark-materials-trilogy/invt/9780563529286
For every young student I recommend Dr. Seuss – He is amazing. The app store for the iPhone and iPad has some amazing interactive audio book apps – The Star-Belly Sneetches is still my favorite.
For older students I recommend the Twilight sage, any of the Agatha Christie books or plays, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Dick Francis & Felix Francis, Donna Leon books, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Boys will probably enjoy Frederick Forsyth or John Le Carre which may be too difficult to read. For both when older any books by Dan Brown or The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith can be good debating books on larger world issues.
Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly Expression Developist™