Alternative, not less.

Since the 1970’s the concept of different learning styles began percolating and since then, it has shaped the classroom. With most of us possessing a general understanding of our own learning styles and the fact that people have different learning styles, the development of different reading formats is well overdue.  Digital reading and audiobooks, in particular, the relatively new reading formats that allow readers to engage in new, not different ways.

Digital reading through e-readers and using the internet are much like text reading still requires visual perception, but offer those with visual impairments ways to modify their reading experience than traditional books. These include the ability to invert colours and enlarge text among many other features. The physicality of an object is not really present in e-reading as it utilizes an electronic device and the “collection” of books can only be seen through a virtual library. While e-reading can be beneficial, it does have some limitations; mainly as a result of how we were interacting with these types of readers. Digital reading in both e-readers and the internet do open readers to hyperlinking.  Which can be beneficial, but also it does pose “limitless input and decisions, including images, video and multiple hyperlinks that lead to even more information.” As a result, digital readers will often skim text which not necessarily the same reading habit they would have for physical books.

Audiobooks, on the other hand, would greatly appeal to more auditory learning styles and open the opportunity to read for those who may have an impairment that prohibits them from “traditional” forms of reading.  In classrooms, audiobooks offer a number of benefits that include: Increases comprehension,  Removes printed word decoding anxiety, and Increases word exposure and improves vocabulary. The same benefits could also apply to adult readers. In only offering the “traditional” reading forms as we have done, we’re excluding the means of reading from those who may have dyslexia or illiterate. Audiobooks, in this case, open up the reading experience to a broader audience that we have been doing thus far.


One Reply to “Alternative, not less.”

  1. Hi Tricia,
    Thanks for this post! I think relating different reading forms to different learning styles is a great way to appreciate their different strengths and the different, but equally valuable, functions they can serve. I think that one of the more interesting and amazing things about technological advances is that people are finding new ways to use technology to bridge gaps in society, ultimately leading to broader and more equitable accessibility.

    Along these same lines and in the context of a classroom, I wonder what sort of studies have been done in regards to reading in people with attention deficit disorders? We’ve read that online reading requires discipline in order to maintain focus and read deeply, but what about in readers that already struggle with this? I wonder if audiobooks would also be beneficial here, or maybe an audiobook + print book combination?

    Congratulations on finishing PUB 802!

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