Fri | Jan 22, 2021

Glenford Smith | Reading versus audiobook consumption

Published:Thursday | August 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM

QUESTION: I found your article 'Motivating people who read,' quite useful. The heading was a bit puzzling at first, but once I started reading I got the gist. It gave me a gauge against which to determine the kind of reader I am, because even though I read both physical as well as e-books, I have not exercised the discipline to set apart time each week. I appreciate the reminder of the benefits and reading material referenced. Do you think listening to e-books equates to reading a book? Do you think you get the same value? If your children did not see you reading in their early years and therefore did not pick up the habit, how can you now motivate them to become devoted readers?

- Judith

CAREERS: Thank you for reading the Gleaner's Career section. I am happy that you have extracted some usefulness from the article. And I am very gratified that you are both a reader of e-books and physical books. It is very exciting to read of other Jamaicans who are reading, not just the writer of that letter.

I am pleased that you are moved to practise the discipline of setting aside special times each day of the week when you read. This is good. It will become a wonderful habit to develop. Let me say, I am excited by your gratitude for the benefits and reading materials mentioned.

Now, with regard to listening to an audiobook versus reading the physical books, there are a number of differences. Each is dependent on different sensory input, one visual and the other auditory. So the first thing is that it depends upon the person, whether they like to read or listen.

One clear advantage the audio learner has is that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, you can listen at the same time. So, you can be driving to work, or putting on your clothes, for example, and listening a favourite audiobook.

Sometimes you really want to get into a book in a way which no audiobook will allow you to do. You want to underline, reread and memorise while you are reading. This is where a physical book comes into its own. But you get the same value in both cases the education or enjoyment; whichever one is convenient.

If your children do not grow up seeing you read, then they might not naturally take up reading. It is a truism that children live what they learn. And children do what parents do, not what they say they are very smart. I have known of instances, however, where parents who can barely spell their names get their children to be excellent readers. So don't be discouraged because they didn't see you reading.

You can notice things they enjoy and find a book they might enjoy. Do not leave the book like a school assignment, just be a bit casual with it. Welcome questions on it, as well as pose questions, to gauge whether they are reading it as well as understanding it.

The most effective way to get your children to be motivated to become devoted readers is to let them see you reading. Or let them see you listening an audiobook.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.