I have had great experiences with audiobooks in my many years as a student, despite my teachers rarely, if ever, incorporating them into our lessons. While I did have one english teacher in sixth grade let us listen to a book during class, I discovered them on my own much later on in my life, as a junior in high school. Taking an honors english class and finding myself entirely overwhelmed with the amount and pace at which we were expected to read heavy and complex novels, I turned to audiobooks to help guide me through it. I have learned through my years as a student that I am much more successful in retaining information through text if I am able to hear it at the same time. Along with this, I generally find my mind wandering while reading passages and even the shortest of directions. Knowing this, I like to whisper text quietly to myself as I read as a way to keep myself focused and engaged in the content. Listening to my novels though audiobooks was the perfect solution to this learner factor, as I was able to follow along with the text as someone else provided the spoken version of the words for me. While I was an older student just learning to utilize this form of assistive technology, I believe it would be beneficial to students of all ages who have similar learner factors as those I have described in myself.
In preparation for presenting on this topic, my partner and I also found that audiobooks are very helpful in a lesson for improving reading with fluency. They can model for students how to read with speed, accuracy, and prosody, all while keeping students engaged with an exciting scene of a book. This lesson can be extended to having students record their own audiobooks of text a teacher assigns, or even having the students write their own stories, then record them using these fluency skills. This lesson would thus incorporate both reading and writing, and could work well as a final project by having students supplement their books with pictures they draw or find online.