Reading … or not?

Is listening to an audiobook ‘reading’?
I remember asking this question at a conference last year and getting some diversity of response.
Like many others, our children’s school uses Accelerated Reader. They can do the quizzes on books that they hear in the car as well as on those that they read.

5 thoughts on “Reading … or not?”

  1. That’s a really interesting question isn’t it? I was asking myself that the other day after listening to Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach during a long flight, can I say I’ve read it? It depends if it’s abridged or not for a start, but let’s say it’s unabridged, is there something in the act of reading itself that makes a difference? I once argued (pretentiously) that reading was a ‘cognitive’ art form since it wasn’t tied to one sense. Blind readers who use braille for instance would argue that they are reading as much as anyone else. So, I think the answer’s yes, it is reading, but there is a slight difference to its nature.

  2. I don’t believe listening to an audiobook is reading. However, I believe that listening to an audiobook is as valid as reading. If I belonged to a book club, I wouldn’t feel any hesitation over listening to a book instead of reading it. The experience may be a little different. For instance, I dislike reading first person narrative but listening to first person is fine. I’ve also discovered that some genres I prefer to listen to and some I prefer to read.

  3. Is listening to a song ‘singing’?
    Is hearing a sermon ‘preaching’?
    Is looking at a watercolor ‘painting’?
    Is viewing a map ‘traveling’?
    Or are those surrogate experiences different in kind from listening to an audiobook?

  4. Well…in human terms, reading involves use of the eyes to ingest visual content, so listening to an audio book would not be considered reading.
    One could say “I processed that book” meaning she ingested the content, but that’s still too general and could be construed as anything from cataloging to labeling to discharging a book.
    For those who like to verberize their nouns, how about taking the noun ‘content’ and making it a verb? I contented that book could mean I listened to it or I read it or I ate it, but somehow I took the content and ingested it.

Comments are closed.