New York Times
Audiobooks and the Return of Storytelling
by T. M. Luhrmann, professor of anthropology at Stanford.
Here’s my take:
We place a much greater emphasis on the ability to read and comprehend a text than to listen and do the same. In the classroom, auditory books are typically used to supplement the printed text for specific students and may be considered as assistive technology (AT). However, all students benefit from multiple means of engagement and representation and it would be quite useful to introduce the auditory version first as a universal approach. You cannot obtain literacy by solely listening to texts, but we should embrace this method of storytelling as technology is only ever-increasing. The narrator serves as a model — to recognize inflection, sense emotion, set the tone, etc. Teachers can pay attention to how students react to different parts of the story since everyone will be at the same point. Storytelling is an integral part of culture, whether intended to pass on information, establish a moral code, or ignite a sense of belonging. Students will gain insight through open discussions about such components of telling stories as connections are made to their personal experiences as the speaker and listener.