With the recent widespread popularity of TikTok and YouTube videos amongst the younger generations, one can’t help but wonder about the impending plight of libraries and bookstores across the world. Could Audiobooks bridge that gap between these mediums?
Listening is the first step in Language Learning
From the time of birth, a baby constantly listens to the sounds around it. As a matter of fact, the baby listens even as a fetus inside its mothers’ womb.
The ear is one of the earliest organs to develop, after the brain and the heart. In a fetus, the ears begin to develop as early as 18 weeks into the pregnancy, and develop further until the fetus is about 5 or 6 months old.
The baby learns the sound of its mother even before it has seen her. The sounds of the people and environment around it will become familiar to the child even before its birth. And when the child is born, it is already at ease with the familiar sounds to which it has become accustomed before birth! Amazing, isn’t it?!
In the next few months of life, the child learns the language of its family- the tones, associated expressions and the enunciation of the words. And then, the child finally starts speaking at the tender age of 6 or 8 months, practicing what it has been listening to since the time of creation inside the mother’s womb. Wow! So, that’s how far back learning goes! It starts from the time of inception… and continues for the rest of their lives.
The Importance of Teaching Phonetics
When a child starts going to school, we teach them the Alphabet song… much before they become visibly familiar with the alphabet shapes. We teach the child to connect the sound of the letter “A” with the very familiar “Apple”. Then the picture of an “Apple” is connected again with the alphabet “A”. Through this way, the child begins recognizing the letter “A” in connection with the word “Apple”, and not vice versa.
As the child grows familiar with the alphabets (or rather the sounds that the alphabets make), they start to connect each word to its letter sounds and, in turn, the letter itself. When they finally start reading words, they simply have to put the sounds of the letters together. This is the wisdom behind phonetics, or the phonic method of learning a language.
So all learning is, in the end, connected to familiarity with sounds. Therefore, a child who is highly exposed to language because of a talkative mother, for instance, is more likely to become a better reader, than a child with a quiet mother. Hence, needless to say, audiobooks have a very important role in teaching children any language.
Bedtime Stories are the first Audiobooks
The first audiobooks are the stories a child listens to at home. This is why we give so much importance to bed-time stories. The child listens to and hears stories from parents or grandparents. Captivating stories of fairies and sea pirates, or tales of the great jungle and its animals, or stories of amazing people and their travels, subconsciously builds the little child’s vocabulary, in addition to a sense of wonder and imagination.
The Benefits of Audiobooks
Audiobooks and stories help improve a child’s pronunciation and diction. They help the child to learn how to carry off a sentence in such a way, so as to maximize its expressive capacity. And hence, the child connects reading with emotion. Audiobooks spark the child’s imagination and thinking, and there can be no limit to a child’s thoughts and imagination! Each child will perceive the same audiobook differently. So, ideally, learning in the form of audiobooks should happen even before a child starts going to school.
All in all, audiobooks sow the seeds that help to reap a Good Reader! Head over to the fREADom app for audiobooks, sorted by age groups and interests!
Hungry for more children’s writing? Don’t miss the Best of Indian Children’s Writing (BICW) – Contemporary Award List!
Also, check out our reviews of more books on the Neev Awards 2019 Shortlist!
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