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Audio book versus reading for set texts

(33 Posts)
Bobochic Fri 21-Oct-16 13:46:16

I would be grateful for opinions. Do you ever get your DC to listen to an audio version of their school set texts? Does your DC's school ask them to listen to audio versions of classic literature?

steppemum Fri 21-Oct-16 14:18:12

so much depends - are they a good reader, or is reading it going to be a mountain to climb?
Are they actually likely to read it at all, or will they keep putting it off?

I think listening to it, especially a well read version cane be a great way to bring it to life.
But I would want them to read it too. (maybe asking for too much)

Also depends on whether they actually listen or just have it on in the background.

Bobochic Fri 21-Oct-16 14:52:44

I tend to think that listening to classic literature, well read, is more likely to have an impact than reading it. DD has to read Moby Dick - it's very long.

RalphSteadmansEye Fri 21-Oct-16 15:00:19

Yes, ds had already listened to an unabridged version of what turned out to be one of his GCSE set texts (a Dickens). When told what they were studying, he listened to it again and then read the text through on his own before they started reading in class.

He understood the book much better than those who'd only read it once (or hadn't even bothered!)

allthekingsshoes Fri 21-Oct-16 16:06:13

This is an interesting question. Dd 8 and I listen to audiobooks of some classics as she loves the stories and language but finds the reading just too hard and a bit dull and of course then it just becomes a chore. We also watch movie adaptations which secondary students often do for their set texts so it must support/encourage. But obv dd is still young. I'm going to ask my pal who is Head of English and Drama at DS's school and see what he has to say.

AtiaoftheJulii Fri 21-Oct-16 18:04:22

I've been thinking that I should get ds to listen to War of the Worlds as he's not enjoying reading it at all. I think listening to it is a great way to get the story and a feel for the themes etc, but can't replace reading where you can properly think about the words used etc.

BertrandRussell Fri 21-Oct-16 18:08:05

My dd listened to all her A level set texts- it was brilliant. She could get her reading done while doing other things. Make sure you get full length versions, though. Lots of abridged versions about. And have a listen to a sample first. Some of the readers have very annoying voices. Particularly after the first 15 hours.

Bobochic Fri 21-Oct-16 20:00:47

Thank you - I feel less guilty encouraged!

sendsummer Fri 21-Oct-16 22:47:39

I'm with PPs. I think that well read audiobooks are fantastic at bringing a book or poetry alive, we listened to quite a few as a family during lomgish car journeys. I always admire hearing the actor doing all the different voices. However IMO a DC who has no reading difficulties and is reasonably assiduous should also read the book. When my DCs persevered with a 'harder' book they then were much more comfortable reading that sort of level and found other books easier and more digestible. If Moby Dick is over ambitious at her level then just doing the audio supplemented by extracts in class sounds reasonable.

Redsrule Sat 22-Oct-16 07:28:35

I always read large chunks of a text being studied, with pupils listening to an audio recording as they read along. It works very well. Even strong readers will gain from listening to a professional reading. A great example is Timothy West's reading of Animal Farm, listening to that can only enhance understanding of characters and themes. Obviously, they are also expected to read the text themselves, if it is an exam text, more than once! But often at KS3 we will listen/read a lot of the text and then analyse/ respond to certain parts in detail.

Bobochic Sat 22-Oct-16 08:26:34

DD is 11, nearly 12, so there are no exams on the horizon. Her literature teacher (whom we know and love - DSS2 had her, years ago, and she did him a world of good) is quite demanding and there are two set texts per half term, all quite challenging, so it's really about tackling them so that understanding isn't hampered by the pace at which the class is moving. DD is a strong reader versus her peers.

CauliflowerSqueeze Sat 22-Oct-16 13:46:05

I would say listening is an excellent idea, if she follows it at the same time.

Reading it at the same time will give her an understanding of the "shape of the book" and the structure of paragraphing etc much better.

knittingwithnettles Sun 23-Oct-16 11:36:55

There is an excellent abridged version of Moby Dick with wonderful line and colour illustrations. I read it with Ds2 when home educating him. It has all the original wording but some of the passages are taken out (and short bridging passages put in in italics - mostly the bits about boiling up the whale) I read it when he was 13. Language amazing, and we are able toc oncentrate on the good bits! We also watched the b & w film to further discuss the themes. Will never listen to Captain My Captain poem again without thinking of Moby Dick reference. sad

knittingwithnettles Sun 23-Oct-16 11:40:48

Walker illustrated Classics edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Patrick Benson has all the original language (just a bit abridged in parts, mostly boiling up whale blubber bits missed out) stunning introduction to Melville language and themes.

knittingwithnettles Sun 23-Oct-16 11:41:23

sorry x post my own post, thought it was lost

knittingwithnettles Sun 23-Oct-16 11:46:33

I think most adults would struggle to read the whole of Moby Dick in the original, and it would certainly put them off for life...What was the teacher thinking of?

When I was very young I read all the abridged Dickens in an illustrated [Vict] children's version with the original language and I was hooked, whereas I suspect making me read the whole thing would have been counterproductive, moreover I wouldn't have time to cover more than just ONE Dickens. As it was I read Nicolas Nickleby, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, broke my heart over them and never equated them with boring classic texts.

Tryingtokeepalidonit Sun 23-Oct-16 16:57:57

Two set texts per half term? So is this purely a reading assignment for homework? In which case, without context, Moby Dick sounds bonkers?

Helenluvsrob Sun 23-Oct-16 17:01:55

Dd (a2) says it's never been discussed. She listens and reads too

Bobochic Sun 23-Oct-16 21:57:35

No, it's not purely a reading assignment. The DC get a set text to read over the holidays for study in the first two weeks back and then another set text for the next four weeks.

knittingwithnettles Sun 23-Oct-16 22:28:04

The Walker version I mentioned is very very good. Really exciting and inspiring and all the original words, just less of them - I don't see how you could go wrong using it. I was blown away by it, and kept pointing out to ds2 (who really is not very literary) all the ways Melville expressed his feelings about the voyage and the whale and Ahab. Please get it - and your dd will be inspired, I promise (and teacher will never know she didn't read whole thing)

Tryingtokeepalidonit Mon 24-Oct-16 14:29:27

Bobochic I am really curious about this syllabus. As HOD English my Dept find it difficult to study one novel in a half term and are always running over. What sort of written responses do they do? Do they study literary context/ structure or just character theme? We study a modern novel, a classic novel and a non fiction text each year plus poetry, media study, Shakespeare, writing and spoken language. How do they fit it all in? I would love to be able to read more as a class.

BertrandRussell Mon 24-Oct-16 14:47:33

That's French education for you!

Bobochic Mon 24-Oct-16 16:45:28

The DC have literature class 5 times a week, i.e. every day, and a lot of homework. Yes, they study context, author (they have to write a biography of every author they study) as well as the work itself. They read several whole works for each topic (so DD has read or will read The Call of the Wild, Vendredi ou la vie sauvage, Lord of the Flies, Moby Dick and Un hivernage dans les glaces for the adventure novel topic in the first term) plus lots of extracts from other works/authors. There is no actual reading of texts in class - that all gets done at home.

TBH there's a lot of work - probably one long piece of written work per week plus other short homeworks.

sendsummer Mon 24-Oct-16 19:10:01

They certainly don't seem to select 'easier' books as the UK syllabus does.

Vetsandpets Mon 24-Oct-16 19:14:32

If they have a kindle or tablet getting the matching audiobook to read along makes a good compromise.

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