Listening is Reading

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem with reading. The problem is staying focused as my mind easily drifts to something unrelated or something linked to what I’m reading about. Minutes will go by and I’ll realize that none of the reading I had been doing has actually made it into my head. As if it wasn’t read at all. I want to be a reader. I want to read fiction and non-fiction.

Of course I’ve known about audiobooks for a long time. I remember listening to a book while driving my kids to Disney World in 2003. The problem is, I told myself that it isn’t “real” reading. So… I continued to struggle trying to force myself to read and occasionally succeeding.

Finally I talked to my wife and others about this self-imposed ”listening isn’t really reading” rule. They laughed. It’s actually something that leads to a lot of debate but there is some research to show that listening comprehension is strongly correlated with reading comprehension.

“The way this is usually interpreted is that once you are good at decoding letters into sound, which most of us are by the time we’re in 5th or 6th grade, the comprehension is the same whether it’s spoken or written,”

explained University of Virginia psychology professor Dan Willingham.

This would seem to imply that I’m not a good reader at all. I think this is where you have to recognize your own strengths. I am much more comfortable learning from video or audio sources than from reading. That’s a weakness I can recgonize and accept. Welcome back audiobooks, meet my brain.

In the last 2 months I’ve already listened to 4 audio books and I can’t wait for what’s next.