Which is better – reading a book or listening to an audiobook?

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Discovering audiobooks

Reading is the best way to improve vocabulary, grammar and comprehension. But we sometimes we don’t have time to read. You can enjoy a book while doing other things when you use audiobooks. You can listen while travelling to work or doing chores.

Is reading better than listening to an audiobook?

Studies say that listening to an audiobook has the same benefits as reading. But if you need to study, reading is better than listening. You can go back and review the text using print material. You can also highlight the parts you need to remember.

But audiobooks can also help comprehension. The narrator’s intonation helps you understand feelings and meaning. You also improve your listening skills.

Each method has benefits. Each creates unique experiences and memories. Neither is better or worse than the other.

Benefits of listening to an audiobook:

  1. Convenience – You can read while doing other things.
  2. Improves your listening skills – It trains your ears to listen to intonation for meaning. You get used to the pace and accent of native English speakers.
  3. Improves vocabulary, pronunciation and comprehension – Just like reading a book, you get these benefits when you listen to an audiobook.

Want to try an audiobook? You will need:

  1. a device to download books and listen to them (preferably internet-capable)
  2. a source of books you can download from
  3. a headset or ear phones (you can also use a speaker).

Install an app (application) to download books on your phone or tablet. You can also download in MP3 format or get an eBook reader that can play audiobooks.

Sources of audiobooks:

Downloading an eAudiobook from the Millennium Library:
Borrowing audiobooks from the Millennium Library is free. Choose OverDrive or RBdigital. Use your computer, tablet, mobile phone or MP3 player.

  1. You need your library card, internet access and a listening/transferring software or app.
  2. Go to the library’s eAudiobooks Services page.
  3. Look at the book titles and choose an audiobook you like. Click on the image.
  4. See if the audiobook is available. Reserve (put “on hold”) if it is not available. Listen to a sample of the book if you like.
  5. Click “borrow” if the book is available.
  6. Sign-in. Type your 14-digit library card number and PIN (the last four digits of your phone number).
  7. Follow the next directions on the screen. You can borrow the audiobook for 7, 14 or 21 days.
  8. The audiobook expires at the end of the loan period. There are no late fees.

For more help, go to:

Other free sources of audiobooks:

Subscribe to an audiobook app for more choices. The most popular apps are Audible (US$14.95/month), Bookmobile (US$3.99) or Scribd (US$8.99).

Happy listening!
Sources: Audiobook vs Reading: There rules are, there are no rules, Dana Lee, Book Riot; To your brain, listening to a book is pretty much the same as reading it, Melissa Dahl, The Cut; Benefits of audiobooks for all readers, Denise Johnson, Reading Rockets; and Are audiobooks as good for you as reading? Here’s what the experts say, Markham Heid, Time. Accessed May 14, 2019.

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