Listen Up!

Attending the Odyssey Awards & audiobook resources

An ALA smore report by Caitlin Jacobson

Listen Up!

On Monday afternoon of ALA Annual, the Odyssey Awards for audiobooks are presented by YALSA and ALSC. The event features live readings by the winning narrators, and is usually very entertaining! As I was planning my grant report, I was reminded of a few audiobook resources I wanted to share with the AkASL community. Both are part of Listening Library’s 2-page info sheet on audiobooks in schools, “Why Listen?”

A dear colleague, Sharon Grover, from my Washington, DC days is a leader in the audiobook field. She and another colleague published a book on the subject a few years ago for ALA Editions, “Listening to Learn: Audiobooks Supporting Literacy”. Filled to the brim with lesson plans, suggested “best-of” lists, and reasons why audiobooks are important, this is a terrific resource for school librarians.

Former school librarian, and fellow 2009 Newbery Committee member Rose Brock recently completed doctoral research on audiobooks. (She is now an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University.) Her research is linked above, and is summarized with the following statement:

“While there are challenges that need to be overcome, the research and the findings of this study indicate that audiobooks and their benefits are a vital component of literacy for all learners.”

Reading Up on Listening

While looking for a link to Rose’s research, I also found an excellent study from AASL: “Use of Audiobooks in a School Library and Positive Effects of Struggling Readers’ Participation in a Library -Sponsored Audiobook Club”. The summary statements were powerful!

“Analysis of the responses to post-participation qualitative interview questions revealed that, in contrast to their pre-study responses, participants expressed a belief in themselves as “good readers.” The question was asked, “Are you a good reader?” and 93 percent said “Yes.” Responses included:

“Yes, I am now.”

“Yes, I can read big books like my classmates.”

An overwhelming number of participants self-reported that they were now good readers. This represented a major shift in their attitudes toward their own reading abilities, a shift that the researchers suspect was a direct result of exposure to audiobooks. “

One more piece that jumped out at me while browsing: “The survey results are in! Are you listening?” This piece discusses a survey sent to public and school libraries, and also includes a link to a spring webcast on audio reader’s advisory.

A Wall Street Journal piece on audiobook publishing finishes off this Smore report. Happy listening!