Audiobooks v. Reading Aloud

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For thousands of years, we’ve been reading and listening to stories told by others. Today, that still continues. Whether we listen to our friends and family, things we see on the news or read something that has been published. However, what deems to be popular is accessibility. Many people are reading and listening on apps, for example, Audible, Kindle and even news outlets. While the technology of it is becoming more popular, listening to audiobooks versus reading aloud is something to think about. Audiobooks have better access for instance, when it comes to multitasking and if you like listening to stories instead of reading them, then it’s great. With reading aloud, you can see the text, have a better image of the story and you can hear the voices of it through your own. Both have pros and cons and hopefully this will help you decide which one you like better or maybe inspire you to try one or the other if you haven’t already.

Audiobooks through apps are great for instant access. For example, nowadays most people have smart phones or devices that have apps. Downloading audiobooks is fast and easy to do. Audible is most known in this case because it’s partnered with Amazon. If you have an Amazon account and the Audible app, you can buy books on Amazon and listen through Audible or you can gain credits if you subscribe to Audible. You can get one credit per month and with that credit get a free amazon audiobook purchase. It’s quick access and you can have as many audiobooks as you want. The downside to this is that you do have to pay a subscription to Audible in order to keep using the app and obtain audiobooks. So, while you may be getting audiobooks for free, you still have to pay in order to use the app at full discretion.

Another pro side to audiobooks is that it’s good entertainment while traveling. If you’re going on a road trip or on a plane, you can listen to your favorite book as you’re getting to your destination, and without having to pack it. If you don’t like carrying a book around in the airport or if you need something to listen to as your driving, audiobooks are a great way to avoid the hassle of making extra room in your bag(s) and to keep you engaged while driving on the road. However, the con of this is hearing the same voice. Sometimes hearing the narrator’s voice for a long period of time could be boring or even make you tired because there’s no change in volume or emotion. From personal experience, I know when I’m driving back home for the weekend, for four hours from school, listening to an audiobook, it has made me tired in the past. Even though I’ll enjoy the story I’m listening to, the narrator’s voice can have a monotone manner to it. Another con is that it could take longer to listen to a story versus reading at your own pace and time. It seems faster when you sit down and read than listening to, say, a twelve-hour story. In that case, if you wanted to finish a book in a certain amount of time or if you wanted to read the story faster, it’d be better to sit and read a book than listen to one.

Now, reading aloud can be beneficial too. If you like reading a story and hearing your own voice through the characters’, reading aloud is good because it gives you a better look of how the story is playing out. When I’m listening to a story, it can be hard for me to picture it because I have to actively hear what the narrator is describing and sometimes when I’m reading a story, I have to reread passage to understand what is going on. With audiobooks, it’s hard to go back because you may not know what time in the recording the narrator said a specific passage. Therefore, reading aloud can help because it gives readers a better recognition of what is happening, and you can understand the characters more by practicing what their voices are trying to reveal. That being said, in order to read aloud, you usually have to be in a private space, unless you don’t mind reading aloud in public, and aside from that it takes energy to read aloud. Many times, when I’m reading aloud a story, my voice starts to become hoarse and I need to take a break. But again, I do tend to understand the story better when I’m looking at the text myself and hearing the words through my own voice.

No matter if you like listening to stories or if you’d rather read aloud, reading in general is a great hobby to have and activity to do. It seems reading is becoming less and less popular, but because of the different technologies, there’ll always be readers. You don’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy a story, you just have to find something you like, for instance a specific genre, find an outlet you like whether that be reading or listening and watch the world of the story come to life.

Note: This is an opinionated blog post and isn’t sponsored by any of the companies mentioned above.

PRR Writer Allisone Doerner

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