A wonderful way to encourage reading and give beginning readers a boost
is to use books on tape. At school, many teachers use these in listening
centers, which accommodate several children at one time.
At home, though, you can have either one or more of your kids use this
technique simultaneously. For those young people whose learning style is
auditory, this can be an effective way to use the dominant style to help learn a
skill that is visual.
Consider these different ways to use books on tape to boost your
Many books that are sold these days are also available on audio cassette.
As an activity that is purely a listening experience, you could use the cassette
so that children can hear the story. You add another learning mode - the visual
aspect - when you have the book available as well. That way children can hear
the story while they are looking at the book. Many of these cassettes include
signals to let young readers know when to turn the page. Audio cassettes are
widely available in bookstores, at libraries, and through classroom-based book
Once your child has experienced a few of these, you may want to branch
out a little and be creative with the members of your family. Buying blank tapes
gives you the opportunity to make your own stories using the books that you have
on hand or borrow from the library. The adults can read the stories, older
siblings can read into the microphone, or the newest reader in the family can
read. You could even make it a project the entire family can get into, by giving
parts to everyone, including sound effects.
If you have seen Reading Rainbow on television, then you are familiar
with the way that stories can come to life on a video cassette. Since many
families have camcorders and other means for making home movies, you can also
record your family members reading stories this way, either to view at home or
to send to grandparents or other family members that will enjoy seeing the
kidsí reading progress.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents.