Audiobooks: A Different Way of Reading

audiobooksIf you are like most kids and teens, you may think that audiobooks are for adults.  Perhaps they are learning another language or getting some information on a new subject.  Or maybe they are looking for a book to distract themselves from a long road trip.  However, in my family, audio books are an everyday treat.

It is really interesting to learn how audiobook recordings  are made.  First, the reader auditions for the voice(s).  Sometimes there is one reader doing all of the voices, and in other cases, there are separate readers for different characters or voices.  Once a reader is chosen, he or she records several takes of a few chapters at a time.  If there are sound effects, then the company will sometimes hire a semi-professional sound effects person from the movie business to make the sounds.  If a door is slamming, then the sound could be made from celery slapping against leather!  The last step is to add music.  The music can come from any music group.  (Music is typically heard at the beginning and end of the audio tapes.)  It can cost anywhere from $1,000 (for a small children’s book) up to $10,000 (for a larger book) to make an audio book.

I’ve been told that I’ve been listening to books on tape since I was strapped into a car-seat.  Some of my earliest memories of audiobooks include  “Junie B. Jones”; “The Magic Tree House”; “Skippy-jon Jones”; “The Mouse and the Motorcycle”; and “Ramona.”  Later we graduated to books like “Peter Pan”; “Poppy”; “The Doll House”; and “Harry Potter.”  One of my favorite voice actors is Jim Dale, the man who has recorded all seven books in the Harry Potter series.  In fact, he created and recorded 146 different character voices for one book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”  His British accent is amazing as well as his other unique voices.

In my opinion, the best strategy when concentrating on an audiobook is to stare off into space without taking anything in except hearing the words from the book.  If you like the actual feel of a book, you can read along with the CD.  However, if you’re a fast reader, you may find yourself accidently reading ahead if the audiobook narrator isn’t going quickly enough.

The best part of an audiobook is you can read your book on the go!  You can just insert the disk into the car and listen.  Or at home, while you are getting ready for bed, you can put the CD into a CD player and listen to your book as you are brushing your teeth.  If that’s not convenient,  you can go on eBooks or Kindle read (on an electronic device) and download the book and listen with ear buds.  If you haven’t experienced this way of reading, try it out and comment below.  If you are also an audiobook enthusiast, tell me your favorite book on tape, voice actor, and where you enjoy listening.

-Maya S., 6th grade

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