Audiobooks: Are you ‘cheating’ if you listen rather than read traditionally?

People in a book club ganged up on one of the members for enjoying an audiobook rather than traditionally reading the choice of the moment. The consensus, as described by a New York Magazine writer named Melissa Dahl, was that the woman was cheating. What do you think? The question is worth pondering when audiobook sales are growing faster than those of paper books and e-books.

For an answer, you need to consider that traditional reading is a multi-step process. You must decode the bunches of letters on the page, and separately you must then figure out what the related words mean. Decoding happens only with traditional reading, says Dr. Daniel Willingham, a University of Virginia psychology professor as well as author of Raising Kids Who Read: What Parents and Teachers Can Do. And for most adult readers—there’s a difference between grownups and kids, whose reading skills are still developing in a major way—the process…

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5 thoughts on “Audiobooks: Are you ‘cheating’ if you listen rather than read traditionally?

  1. I have a book and an audiobook by the same author Des Burge, I got the audio book for my husband who has trouble reading. Generally I prefer reading to listening. But with access to both I find great pleasure in both, making my own way through the story in the book; listening to Des’ country Aussie accent when he narrates his own country stories.

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