Books on Tape - Mind Candy or Enrichment?

The Los Angeles Times has this interesting article on books on tape. Its critics say that they are \"mind-candy\" which does not assist in making better readers.
\"That\'s the feeling of Willy Ackerman, an English teacher at Kennedy High School in Granada Hills. Although she may read a few passages of a book out loud to her students, Ackerman said the best way to master reading is to read. \"Difficult reading helps us to become better readers,\" she said. \"Easy reading helps us to become faster readers. That\'s how you improve.\"
The article also discusses audio books in schools.
\"You can say whatever you want, but listening to a book [on tape] is certainly not the same as reading it,\" she said. \"That\'s like saying, \'I have seen the movie, ergo I have read the book.\' \"
\"Yet others say audio versions of heavyweights such as \"War and Peace\" or Winston Churchill\'s biography can introduce listeners to books they might have otherwise ignored.\"
\"It\'s the same logic that parallels studies showing that children who are read to become more interested in reading itself, said Jeff McQuillan, an assistant education professor at Arizona State University who wrote \"The Literacy Crisis: False Claims, Real Solutions.\"
\"Reading out loud \"gets kids interested in stories, motivates them to go out and find books on their own to read, and exposes them to vocabulary they would not otherwise encounter,\" McQuillan said. \"Audiobooks are merely electronic versions of the same principle.\"

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