How Can Books on Tape Improve Reading Speed and Reading Comprehension?

Posted by Erica Warren on

Listening to books on tape or to someone reading aloud can improve reading comprehension because the brain does not have to work on decoding the words but can simply focus on the content. But merely laying back and passively listening is not always the best approach, because it is easy for personal thoughts to interrupt the text content. Therefore, for this mode of learning to be most effective, it is best for the listener to do one of two things:
Students listening to audiobooks

Scan the text:

Scanning the text while listening will not only help maintain attention, but it will assist with sight word recognition. Additionally, students that decode words one letter at a time while reading will begin to see whole words and phrases. Before long, these skills will apply when the student reads independently, and whole words recognition and reading speed will improve.

Happy kids reading

Visualize the content:

Picturing the characters, the setting and the plot helps to sustain attention, improve comprehension and it also makes the text more memorable. With practice, many students report that they are able to create a mental movie in their mind and that reading becomes far more enjoyable.

There are a number of places online that offer audiobooks:
  1. Learning Ally:
  2. Bookshare: 
  3. Audio Books for Free:
  4. LibriVox:
  5. Epic: 
  6. Project Guttenberg:
  7. Pinna: 
  8. Razkids:
student learning to visualize
If you would like to help students develop their visualization abilities, I have a free image that reviews the 10 visualization skills. I also offer two PowerPoint presentations that teach the 10 skills needed to visualize. If interested go to:
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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