Election Day Reads

ivotedstickerLooking for some election-related reads? The Kid Who Ran for President, The Kid Who Became President, So You Want to Be President?, Abe Lincoln and the Muddy Pig, George Washington’s Socks, George Washington and the General’s Dog, Founding Brothers and more are available from Recorded Books – are they in your collection of audiobooks? If so, read them today with your class for a review on the presidency and the election process.


One Teacher’s Success Story

We received this inspiring story in an email from Paula Parkinson, a teacher at Hallettsville Junior High in Texas…

I use audiobooks in my class regularly because of all the success struggling readers experience with the support of hearing a story aloud. It enables readers to enhance the mental image of characters and settings in their minds. Visualization is a weakness for some students since we are in an age of technology and excellent computer graphics so that visualization skills are lacking for some readers. They can connect the auditory image to a visual image after hearing the words of the text pronouced correctly and seeing them in print. The quality of the tapes and CDs is excellent–produced and read by experienced actors who are fluent readers and who can pronounce words with the proper dialect and expression.

Also by using audiobooks I feel certain that students are having a better reading experience than if they read the text individually. I can stop the tape or CD to emphasize vocabulary or points the author is trying to make. Last year I used 2 audio books in the spring semester, Lyddie by Katherine Paterson and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Because all students in a class had just heard the same chapters, our classroom discussions had more depth and students had a deeper understanding of the events in the story. Student response was very positive and scores on classwork were higher than in other years. Even for the advanced students, the audio books added deeper meaning to the literature and heir responses in writing. By using those 2 books on tape with the entire 8th grade, I believe it is a contributing factor to the success of my students on their standardized reading test, and why our campus received a higher rating than before.

In addition, I can monitor the classroom more effectively instead of reading aloud myself. After 17 years of teaching language arts, I am able to guide students to read books on higher lexile levels than those that they would read indepdendently, challenging them to stretch and grow to improve their individual lexile levels. Audiobooks positively changed my classroom mangement procedures, and enabled students to perform at higher levels than they ever dreamed possible!

Share your success story—leave us a comment!

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Classroom Management with Audiobooks

Mrs. McGrath name apple While at White Marsh Elementary, we were impressed by Laurie McGrath’s ability to have many group activities going on at once—with all students on task! We asked her to tell us about her classroom management methods and she told us audiobooks are the key. Here’s what she said…

Laurie said…

Small novel groups
“I usually start one group listening while I am having a discussion with a second group, and a third group is working independently. I then switch groups. The discussion group works independently, the listening group goes to discussion, and the independent group listens.”

Each group then gets to listen and discuss the novel in three different ways, keeping things exciting and making sure all learning needs are addressed.

Whole class listening
“We usually listen to two chapters with audiobooks as a whole class (using the boombox while students follow along in the print book) each day, have a skill discussion, and have a quiz. After doing that for a few days we then switch it up for a day or two where the students read aloud or partner read, or I read aloud. Then we go back to listening to the audiobook chapters for a few days.”

This way, they get to listen to the modeled reading for a few days, then get to practice the skills they’ve picked up on during partner reads or read alouds. It also helps differentiate instruction.

Special groups
“I also have a group that sees the reading instructional resource teacher three or four days a week. They are not part of the three small novel groups I have going, so I have them either listening to an audiobook or listening to a Playaway when they are in the classroom for novel time (when the rest of the class rotates through groups). This allows them to listen to a novel even though they are not part of one of the novel groups.”

Independent Reading
“I let the students checkout the audiobooks/CD player or Playaways that we are not currently using in novel groups. When they are finished they hand it back in and another student can listen.”

Mrs. McGrath’s classroom reading methods support the kids and motivate them to continue reading on their own. This independent reading will reinforce what they’ve learned in class and give them extra practice—while they’re having fun!

Do you use any similar methods in your classroom?

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Win audiobooks for your school!

We are excited to announce the start of two contests that could win your school free audiobooks! Details and entry forms for both contests appear in our Spring 2008 catalog, but we encourage you to enter via the banners on this blog. We want to hear your innovative ideas!

CONTEST 1: When teachers and librarians collaborate, good things happen!
We want to hear your best idea for teacher/librarian collaboration using audiobooks. We know that when teachers and librarians work together, they are a powerful and inspiring team for students. Do you work together to explore a certain book or certain theme? Does the library help expand on ideas learned in the classroom? Perhaps a history teacher will collaborate with the librarian on a project about slavery instead of a
particular book, or a drama teacher might go after acting skills. Let us know how you work together, and you could win a free custom Recorded Books collection consisting of 10 Recorded Books on CD or cassette plus matching print books, plus 2 Recorded Books on Playaway with matching print books. Enter here or click on the red banner.

CONTEST 2: Guest host a Recorded Books teaching blog!
Do you have a good lesson that incorporates audio? Share it with other educators! We’ll give you the audio and print book needed for your lesson. Send us your lesson plan here (or click on the blue banner) for introducing an author or theme, or just getting students interested in reading. We’ll post your lesson plans and material for other educators to use on our blog—we’ll even include the downloadable audiobook!

We know that educators who use audiobooks are innovators, so show us your stuff! Send in entries for both contests by May 1, 2008 June 30, 2008 for your chance to win!

Also, check out this EdNews interview with Recorded Books’ school marketing manager for her perspective on why audiobook support is great and how educators can use it.

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Look for our new catalog for librarians!

Peggy EkhausWe’ve dedicated our Spring 2008 K-12 catalog to librarians. In addition to the favorite products of teachers and librarians, you’ll find special tips and ideas especially for librarians using audiobooks. Also check out our contests for the chance to win free stuff for your school! In Part Four of our series featuring White Marsh Elementary, librarian Peggy Ekhaus shares her feelings about how Recorded Books make great authors accessible for all students …

How do you incorporate audiobooks into both your classroom and library instruction time at your school? Enter our contest and tell us and you could win!

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What made you try audiobooks?

Mrs. Cord name apple In Part Two of our continuing series with White Marsh teachers Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath, Jennifer shares how she was first inspired to try audiobooks, and how she immediately got a positive reaction from students and parents…

Jennifer says …“For me, using audio books came as such an easy thing. It’s something I really enjoy and something I will continue to use for a long while. I guess I got the idea to use them in the summer. I loved reading but I was often driving around a lot or going on trips. I decided to start using audiobooks in the car. It seemed like a novel idea, and it worked. Then later, I was in the library and saw the many children’s/young adult books were on audio tapes/cds, and realized that my children probably didn’t even know that theses existed for the newer releases that they were choosing to read.

So when school started that fall, I got my hands on a class set of print books and purchased the audiobook to go with them. What a new and exciting thing! Parents were calling and saying how great it was that their child was INTERESTED in a book. They couldn’t stop talking about the book at home, and were trying to get hold of other books that the author had written, just because they were so hooked on this way of reading a book!”

What made you start using audiobooks in your classroom, and how did students and parents react?

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Teachers (and students!) talk about how audiobooks work

wmes id White Marsh Elementary teachers Jennifer Cord and Laurie McGrath talk about how audiobooks work in their classroom, and their students tell us how audiobooks have helped them and why. This begins our series on how one school uses audiobooks—check back soon for updates on how the 5th grade team, the library, and the students use audiobooks.

Do you have a similar success story? Share it with us! And check back soon for our continuing series on how Mrs. Cord and Mrs. McGrath use audio to help their students.

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