I've also attached the body of the article below (underneath my blog post).
This research is fascinating to me, for at least a few reasons:
- Three years ago, at a homeschool conference, the speaker (a literacy expert who also h/schooled his children) talked about the importance of out-loud reading to our kids. He suggested that a minimum of two hours/day was what was required, and said that the impact on vocabulary, grammar, and language comprehension gains was very significant as a result (I forget the stats). I remember him so clearly because I've always been an out loud reader to my kids, but not typically at a rate of two hours/day. I was vastly comforted when he assured parents that audio books counted as reading out loud time; at the time, Matthew was listening to at least two hours of audio books/day, and Seth and Lizzie were just beginning to be interested. Today, Lizzie also listens to audio books every day (usually begs to listen) and her vocabulary and grammar and comprehension is remarkably good given her language deprivation background. Anyway, the information that the h/school speaker provided was/is very consistent with this new research, and I'm thankful I had the opportunity to hear that information a few years ago already. I think I'm on my fifth or sixth year of paying $22.95/month for our audible.com subscription, which is where we get most of our audio books.
- I have often wondered about Matthew's reading ability. If you've been reading my blog for a few years already, you'll know that Matthew really didn't begin reading until he was ten years old, but that he has been a voracious audio book listener from the time he was four or five years old...and he loved me to read out loud to him as well. When Matthew did start to read, he progressed from virtually nothing to almost grade level in four days (yes, you read that right). It was an unbelievable (really) experience to watch him. Over the past two years, there have been times (months, sometimes) when his interest in reading has waned, and there have been a couple of periods of time (during our busy Shakespeare month, for example) when I haven't required him to do much (or any) out loud reading to me. Every single time that he's experienced an extended, total break from reading, his reading has improved when he has begun to read again. Every. Time. I have puzzled and puzzled over this, and recently even joked aloud to Geoff that we should just stop having him read every other month or so because we're pretty much guaranteed to see an improvement in his reading during the opposite months. It's remarkable...it's almost like his reading brain improves every time it gets a rest from reading; suddenly he's able to read more complex words, and the flow of his reading is improved. It's remarkable. This audio book research might help to explain things, though, because even during those times when Matthew is doing absolutely nothing to practice his reading skills, he is always always always listening to audiobooks. He goes from one to the next and loves it.
- Seth is hit and miss with audio books; he goes through waves of interest in listening to audio books; it's mostly been because Matthew has been interested that he's sort of, sometimes, been into it. His language/vocabulary/comprehension reflects his lack of interest in reading; it's not all that great, largely due to his deprivation background; his lack of interest in being read to or in listening to audio books at times is, I believe, one of the reasons for this. This new research, which supplements what I've suspected ever since I heard that h/school speaker, is encouraging me to think of creative ways in which I can get this middle child of mine to listen to more audio books (in addition to listening to me read out loud, which is a normal thing).