By Chloe M. Brown
There has been some debate on whether listening to an audiobook should count as reading. The classic arguments are that you are not sitting down reading the book, there is no physical book in your hands, how can this be considered reading? However, let’s challenge the classical view and understand why we should stop shaming someone for counting audiobooks as reading.
Reading should be for everyone. This includes the blind, visually impaired, and those who suffer from neurological disorders like dyslexia. There are quite a few groups that benefit from the use of audiobook. Reading is more about being a part of a community than just the story alone. According to Learning Ally, “Audiobooks help students by allowing them to focus on the meaning of what they’re reading rather than decoding words on a page.” Many dyslexic readers have trouble reading fast and reading longer when they are first starting to learn to read which is where audiobooks can be helpful. Not only that, but dyslexic readers often have trouble reading when they are tired or stressed so having audiobooks is extremely important.
For the visually impaired, the site Eyeware states, “Audiobooks are considered a highly preferable means to provide books to persons with blindness as unlike Braille books that can go up to several volumes per book, audio books are not bulky. The audio books are also preferred by people who lose their sight later in life and are unable to read Braille as quickly.”
Audiobooks are important to those who can’t easily read books on their own, and it wouldn’t be right to discount their experiences.
There is this idea that because you can multitask while listening to the book, but I think we should discredit this idea. Not only is this idea meant to diminish someone’s experience with a book. The idea that someone can’t be reading if they are listening means that most of us have never read a picture book. However, we all talk about the books that were read to us as a child and still count it as reading.
Adding to this point, on average it actually takes longer to get through an audiobook. There are some books that take upward to twelve hours to listen to. That’s dedication and it’s just as much as reading a physical book.
So are audiobooks read?
Yes. While audiobooks aren’t for everyone, they are still a valid reading option. For those who are still hesitant about audiobooks, local libraries have started renting out audiobooks to anyone with a library card.
Some good audiobooks to get you started.