Several months ago, I loaded all 40 Magic Tree House books on an ipod for my son (6). At the back of my mind I was a little worried that it will put him off actual reading because he is able to get the stories in a format that is easy. I mean, why work to learn to read when you can just listen to all the books you want, right?
Well, I went ahead anyway. Over many months, he enjoyed listening to them over and over. In fact, he still listens to them now. In some ways, it is like having the radio on for him. In the afternoons, he hangs out with the stories on via speaker and just does other stuff.
The side effect of spending so much time listening to the same 40 stories again and again, it turns out, is the desire to read the books. Ha!
Magic Tree House books have a lot of difficult to read (for my son) vocabulary. But because he had spent hours upon hours listening to the stories, when he reads the books now, he is better able to decode words because the vocabulary is in the forefront of his brain. He spent the last week trying to read the books and he is excited. He is reading at least at a 90 percent accuracy. The best part, he knows how to read the conversations in a slightly dramatized way (just like the storyteller!)
I am beyond impressed (and pleasantly surprised) with how this ended up working out. To be sure, my son did quite a bit on Reading Eggs and had pretty good phonics skills. However, the audio books seemed to have played an invaluable role in propelling his desire to read more challenging (for him) chapter books. In a few short weeks, he seems to be transitioning from the Henry and Mudge books to the MT series with a relative ease. Here at the Learning at Home forum, we have had many discussions about how kids learn to read. I thought I'd share my experience with you guys