Books on tape


            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 childís reading:

            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 clubs.

            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.

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