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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Problem Solving

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

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.

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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RELATED IDEAS

“A 1985 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.”

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IDEAS

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.

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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