Guest Post: Audiobooks and Fluency

Recently, we featured audiobook reviews from guest blogger Jana Warnell, an elementary school librarian in Montana. You can read her reviews of Clementine, The Thief, and The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan. She also shared with us how to hook reluctant readers with audio. Check out more reviews and librarian insights from Jana at her blog,

Today, Jana shares with us how audiobooks can help to increase fluency and expression.


One of the biggest benefits I have heard in using audio books with my children and students I work with is the increase in fluency in their own reading aloud. I first noticed this with my oldest son. We had listened to a few shorter audio books while driving around our town when he was in the fifth grade Later that school year he had a book he was enjoying and wanted to read a section to me. I was amazed the first time he read aloud to me. His fluency and cadence were so much stronger! I credit it fully to audio books because he hadn’t been reading too many print books during that whole time, maybe one, possibly two.

When a child hears a book read well they are treated to expression, smoothness, dramatic pauses, and confidence. Teachers provide this when they read aloud, but their time is limited. If you could add another half hour of quality listening to your students’ (or childrens’) day, think how much that would benefit them!

Even using audio books for picture books in early elementary classrooms is a bonus. Sometimes when a teacher reads a picture book out loud it is their first time, or the first time in a year. They can forget the cadence that is needed to read a book, especially rhyming books. Using audio books with a professional narrator who has practiced the book plenty of times before it is recorded would make it one of the favorites of the classroom! I bet they would request that listening experience over and over.

Remember that kids don’t need to be drilled in skills for them to be effective. Sometimes just being exposed to a desired skill helps them pick it up and they don’t even realize they are improving. Audio books are a way to help them increase the fluency of their reading, inside the classroom and out.

Have you had success using audiobooks to increase fluency? Share your story here or on our Facebook page!


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