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Click on the book you are interested in for PDF file worksheets and more ...

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Be sure to check out:  Audiobook Recommendations

There are generally three ways in which a story may be presented:  books, audiobooks/CDs, movie. Each are important in their own arena.  It is important to encourage all three ways of processing information whenever possible.

Most individuals process information visually.  Writing down information has been important since ancient times. The ancients drew pictures, sculpted, and erected buildings to express thoughts to others.  Movies are similar to the Middle Ages stained glass windows.  Being able to visualize or see helps individuals to process information. This is where books and movies are important for story telling purposes.

Books make processing information intellectually possible.  The reader is the person creating the movie set complete with costuming, sound effects, etc.  All of a sudden the concepts thoughts have consequences and we act on what we think makes sense.  Frequently, readers experience a variety of emotions --- sorrow, joy, fear, anger, anxiety, etc. --- while enjoying literature.  They are "reading" the situation a character is in (thoughts) and responding appropriately (or acting on what they are thinking).

Audiobooks, or the age old art of storytelling, aids the listener in sharpening audio skills.  No longer will you need to explain to your student the importance of storytellers in history since they are experiencing storytelling first hand.  Audiobooks aid in vocabulary building, learning new and various phraseology, accurate pronunciations of complex words, dialects, plus technical and foreign language terms.  They reinforce the link between the spoken and printed word as well as assisting in comprehension skills encouraging the listener to develop their own reading voice.  The term word pictures or imagery suddenly make sense as the listener is creating their own word pictures while listening to the story.  Interestingly, reading fluency tends to increase as well as improving reading level and independent reading skills.  Audiobooks foster the notion that stories are a great form of entertainment along with helping to interpret a story.  You may want to consider taking an audiobook with you the next time you need to take a long car trip.  Audiobooks are also wonderful to listen to while settling down to go to sleep at night.

Abridged audiobooks are preferred as a student will gain more by comparing/contrasting an abridged audiobook with the book and a 1930s-1940s movie.  In this way, a student becomes more familiar with the story, plot, characters, etc.  It is important for a student to comprehend that storytelling or literature is a form of entertainment.  

The three instances where unabridged audiobooks (or the complete book) are recommended are:  

the King James Version of the Bible
(listen to Alexander Scourby read the Bible)
The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.  

(It is important to note that one of Shakespeare's plays has never been performed unabridged or completely!)

Movies and films are great aids in understanding yet another aspect of a story.  One of the fastest ways to teach is by demonstrating to another how to perform a task.  Teaching how to make beds, wash/dry dishes, laundry, dust, fish and many other duties demonstrate how important visual learning is in teaching others.  When it comes to stories, movies and films also aid in understanding how others interpret a story.  Watching an army form up on screen, a character's ball gown, a castle being stormed, lamplighters performing their tasks, ships battling a tempest at sea and many other things may be done very quickly where a book or an audiobook take more time to describe what is physically occurring.


Finally, whenever possible, try to combine all three methods of storytelling --- book, abridged audiobook, movie --- when tackling a piece of literature.  Recognize, this may not always be possible.  Encourage your student to compare/contrast all three styles of storytelling.  Which method do they prefer?  Why? This will give an insight into the student's preferred learning style while continuing to increase skills in the other methods of learning.


© Beverly Schmitt 1999-2004, all rights reserved
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