Read Aloud with Audio Books

I read to my class everyday.  My message is clear; no matter how busy you are in life, there is also an extra 20 minutes to spare to just sit and read a good book.  We read novels.  Sometimes they are quick, something they take a bit longer.  At the moment, we are working on The Hunger Games, which is fantastic!  They are really into it, and making some great connections to our world and other books we have read.

Today, my voice was feeling a bit hoarse today and my throat hurt.  I took a moment at lunch and found my copy of the audio book of the Hunger Games.  I spend a couple more minutes and found the point we were at.  When the kids came back I hit play and we all listened to Suzanne Collins read us the book.  It started off wonderfully.  They thought it was quite cool that the author of a book they love was reading it to them!

However, it was not the same.  I noticed the interest fade away and some of the eyes start to wander around the class, staring at the walls, the posters; but not listening.  I still paused at important points to clarify or ask questions, but the engagement was nothing like it usually was.

Nothing against Ms. Collins, she has a lovely voice, but I found it to be a poor substitute for actually reading the book yourself.  The pacing, the pronunciation, the pauses; it was not tailored to their needs.  When I read I routinely change words or add another layer if the original was not clear enough, or I feel the students might miss a valuable point that may have been lost in language or metaphor that was above their level.  Of course, I always try and read the difficult passages and we break them down and talk about it, but sometimes when you are in the midst of an exciting scene and are absorbed, the last thing you want is to stop and talk about the finer points of grammar and metaphor.

Perhaps I approached it wrong.  Has anyone used Audio-Books with their kids (I teach grade 5)?  Any tips or tricks?

Arigato for any advice.


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