Why Reading Over Listening?


8th grade student, Luke Butler, is reading with the class. Mrs. Neel’s 8th grade Humanities class was reading The History of Us.

Erica Kendree, Columnist

Many books have options for audio rather than standard reading. But is that really better than seeing the words and visualizing it in your head? Do all the benefits of reading books – knowledge, word comprehension, memory improvement – transmit just as well through sound?

The opinions of many will vary, but reading a book works best for me. I like the feeling of the actual book in my hands. I like flipping the page myself instead of not knowing which page is which when I’m listening to an audio. Many times I tell myself I am going to read 20 pages before I go to bed. How does that work with audio books?

I find myself concentrating more while reading a book then listening to one due to the fact that I get distracted easily. While listening to an audiobook, I can multitask but I don’t focus enough on the book. Don’t get me wrong, it is sometimes nice to finish my chores while listening to a book. But I comprehend more while focusing. The book is more fascinating and exciting when I’m fully engaged. It influences how well the information gets absorbed.

A great deal depends on the narrator. If the narrator is boring and dull, the chances are that the book is going to be the same. When I read a book, I narrate it in my head. I make the words exciting and emphasize the parts which are important to me. I change my style of reading based on my thoughts.

An additional point is that you can’t highlight or mark pages while listening to an audiobook. As a reader, I sometimes mark a page that I want to reference back to, but by listening I won’t be able to do that. Also, it is much more difficult to share or trade books with audio books. The great part about trading is that I won’t have to pay for a book I will only read once, most likely. Others can also have a chance to read the book after I’m finished.

Listening and reading both have its benefits, but overall reading is better for me. Sound can’t transmit the advantages of reading. Looking at the words work my brain in a way that others can’t compare to. Altogether, the option of reading a book versus listening to a book is decisive.