Affordable, Effective Strategies with Audio

With the budget constraints imposed on so many educators today, it can be hard to get administrators to approve more costly items. Though audiobooks and Playaways may seem to fall under that category, there are many reasons why audio is an affordable and effective solution for your school. Do you have any tricks for fitting audio into your budget? If so, share!

  • Audiobooks are very versatile and are easy to incorporate into all kinds of classroom instruction and reading practice situations. Whole-class listening, small groups, or individual listening are all effective methods. Many titles are also a natural gateway to social studies, science, or history instruction. A multi-use product!
  • Compare a $30 audiobook or a $300 audiobook collection or even a huge audio collection to the cost of implementing any of the large-scale reading intervention/instruction programs that are out there. Tens of thousands of dollars are needed just to set them up. Plus you need computers, classroom re-wiring, training, etc. For additional instructional ideas with Recorded Books audiobooks, try a Homework Pack or buy a Teacher’s Guide (TGs are only $1.25!)
  • Little equipment is needed to use audiobooks. One boombox for a classroom. One listening center for small groups. Students can even bring in their own old CD players for solo listening.
  • Playaways need no equipment at all! Easy to handle, easy to maintain, and no equipment.
  • The listen and read method is proven effective, and is beneficial in some way to all readers—be it letting them really sink in and enjoy a book, read something they would have had trouble with otherwise, helping them learn English, or helping them comprehend what the rest of the class is working on more easily.
  • The listen and read method lets the teacher apply a precise solution to a particular problem or issue, based on his or her own judgment and experience. Teachers can help students move at their own pace.

If you’d like to try an audiobook in your classroom or library for free, keep checking the blog for our contests and giveaways, or check out our free audio and lesson plans for great ideas that can be used with our audiobooks.

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Happy Free Shipping Day

A lot of retailers are offering free shipping today for the holidays – and that includes Recorded Books! In case you missed our email offer, there are still a few days to take advantage of an offer for 25% off Playaway orders plus free shipping! Offer expired Dec. 21, 2008. To be notified of these offers in the future, join our mailing list!

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Playaway Coupon Code

Time for your friendly monthly reminder—get a discount on Playaways by entering our super easy contest. Just look through the latest Playaway catalog and tell us how many Walter Dean Myers titles are offered on Playaway in the catalog for a 5% off coupon code. Use the link here at the blog to email us your answer and we’ll send you a discount code.

Didn’t get the latest Playaway catalog? You can download a PDF here and sign up to receive catalogs here.

Offer valid through December 31, 2008.

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Get a discount on Playaways!

All you have to do to get a 5% discount on Playaways is look through the latest Playaway catalog and tell us how many Walter Dean Myers titles are offered on Playaway in the catalog. Use the link here at the blog to email us your answer and we’ll send you a discount code.

Didn’t get the latest Playaway catalog? You can download a PDF here and sign up to receive catalogs here.

Offer valid through December 31, 2008.

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Integrating Audio into Your Teaching Strategies

We got some great answers when our Recorded Books website survey asked teachers…
How do you integrate audiobooks into your teaching strategy?

“I use the stories to help the students practice important concepts like comprehension, summary, character plot and development. I also like to expose them to a good story that they wouldn’t read otherwise. I’ve been very happy with the quality of recorded books, and my students have enjoyed every story they’ve heard so far.—Angelina Scarson; East Avenue Elementary, grades 5-6

“We use three stations in our classroom of exceptional education students, English Language Learners, and Intensive Reading Students. Depending on where they start, each student transitions clockwise (electronically signaled) each 15 minutes to the teacher station (small group instruction), listening center (bean bags/pillows), or the technology center (computers, GeoSafar, piano, tv, karaoke). My students average a minimum of 2 years growth in each year. EVERY DAY our students come in and ask if they can read instead of go to technology!!!! I always kid them, “Hmmmm, let me think…this is reading class…ok…just the one time.” My formal and informal data document the enormous growth our students are experiencing. My classroom library now has over 500 books on tape/cd. Through many years of trial and error, I have finally figured out how to have 50+ students reading different as well as the same books. First of all, I purchased individual personal cassette players with headphones. Next, I numbered each headphone and cassette player. Then, I bought two 24-pair hanging shoe-pocket organizers and labeled each pocket with corresponding numbers. IMPORTANT – only use RECHARGEABLE batteries!! It’s best if you buy at least 125% of the number of batteries you need so you have plenty of recharging time!! (Otherwise, we have to “borrow” from other cassette players.) Of course, with the popularity of the CD, as well as the non-availability of the personal cassette players, I have now purchased 40 of the 50 CD players for our readers. I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it is to see these “special” students engaged in the reading process.—Karon Stepan; Clifford Meigs Middle School, special education teacher, grades 6-8 (NOTE: If you are having trouble keeping up with equipment, try adding some Playaways to the mix! They are just as easy to use, and require no additional equipment.)

What are your ideas?

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First commenter wins a Playaway audiobook!

Recorded Books on PlayawayHappy end of the school year! To help you celebrate, we are giving away a FREE Recorded Books Playaway audiobook and matching print book to the very first person to leave a comment for this post! Just leave us your email, and we’ll contact you. In the post, let us know what title you’d like to have on Playaway and how you plan to use it in your classroom. Choose from our unparalleled K-12 collection of Recorded Books on Playaway.

Pairing Recorded Books Playaways with print books is a great way to motivate readers. Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath of White Marsh Elementary have told us that their students love checking out the Playaways and even take them to listen and read at home.

And even if you’re too late to win, still let us know what you like about audiobooks and Playaways from Recorded Books! We are always looking for motivated educators to feature, and we hope you continue to check back with us for great new ideas over the summer. Try subscribing to our RSS feed for updates.

Also – please note that today, as of 1pm (EST), downloads of Joyful Noise have been disabled. But you can still listen/play the audio from online! Scroll down or click on the “Free Audiobook Lesson Guides” category in the sidebar for access to the guides and audio.

Contest Rules and Regulations

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10% discount on Playaways! [ended 12/31/07]

This special discount has ended, but stay tuned to the blog for more discounts and special announcements!

playaway December

Order titles for your school on Playaway before the new year and get 10% off your order—it’s our holiday gift to you! Lots of great titles are available, including 2007 National Book Award Winner The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Just click on the banner above to browse our titles and make your selections. Please note that the discount will not show up in the cart, but will show up at billing/invoice.

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