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Opinion | Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?

Decoding the Written Word

Audiobooks allow the listeners to get the meaning without the use of their eyes, which books require.

Reading as a skill is 'skipped' while listening to audiobooks, though it is ideal for people with dyslexia, those who cannot 'decode' the written word.

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Opinion | Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?

Opinion | Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/opinion/sunday/audiobooks-reading-cheating-listening.html

nytimes.com

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Key Ideas

A Case For Audiobooks

Old school printed books and e-books sales remain flat in the last five years, while Audiobook sales have shown an increase.

Such figures show that people are shifting towards audio formats of books.

Reading Vs Listening

The reading act, which requires focus, and which makes us stop, think and re-read is somehow only confined to books, as a study proves that retention is higher with books than with podcasts.

The audio format also misses some key visual aspects of fonts paragraphs and headings, that are available in books.

Context Wins

Audiobooks seem to win on prosody. The pitch, stress, and tempo of the spoken word are missing in books, which can affect the meaning of the content.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Difference Between Reading Listening To A Book

There is no real difference between listening to a book and reading as the mental processes involved are the same. Studies show that listeners and readers retain about equal understan...

“A 985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students...

“A 985 study found listening comprehension correlated strongly with reading comprehension — suggesting that those who read books well would listen to them well. In a 1977 study, college students who listened to a short story were able to summarize it with equal accuracy as those who read it.”

Olga Khazan

The Processes Of The Brain While Reading

Simplifying, two basic processes happen when you read: There is decoding, or translating the strings of letters into words with meaning. And then there is language processing, or comprehension.

Decoding is specific to reading but by about late elementary school, decoding becomes so second-nature that it isn’t any additional “work” for your brain. It happens automatically.

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Strategies speed readers use
Strategies speed readers use
  • Skimming: quickly going through passages to find the main points.
  • Meta guiding uses a pointer, such as your index finger or a pen, to guide your eyes along the lines...
Effectiveness of Speed Reading

Regardless of which reading method you use, the evidence points towards the fact that speed comes at the sacrifice of understanding.

Depending on what you’re reading, this might not necessarily be a bad thing: If you’re trying to get through a dry piece to capture a few key points or you are going through a short piece that’s easy to understand, speed reading strategies might make sense.

Make the most of what you read
  1. Choose different reading pieces for different occasions: articles and light reads can be reserved for short periods. Books that require less focus can be listened to in audio format etc.
  2. Incorporate reading into your daily habit: put a book on your bedside table.
  3. Share your reads with others, to help you to better understand and appreciate what you read.
  4. Reflect on your reading: take notes or check out films that are based on novels (to compare interpretations).
Why you should embrace books

Reading is essential for a healthy brain. Reading continues to develop the brains of adults and might help slow down or even stop cognitive decline.

Regular readers show more empath...

How to fit in more reading

We often struggle to find time to read. That's why we need to start small.

  • Read five pages of a book that interests you every day. When you are comfortable with five pages, try ten, then twenty.
  • The book should interest you. Reading a book of your choice makes the activity a pleasure to look forward to.
  • It helps to keep the book, audiobook app, or e-reader on you. Then, when you have some downtime, you can read instead of playing a smartphone game.
Audiobooks

Research found that audiobooks stimulate the brain differently but just as deeply as reading.

With print books, you need to provide the voice, imagine the tune and rhythm of speech, the intonation, stress of syllables, and so on. All this gets provided for you when listening to audio. With audiobooks, you're using different methods to decode and understand it. But it still deeply impacts your thoughts and feelings.

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