This week I've been introducing our third graders to the newest collection in the library: the Playaways! These devices allow a student to listen to an audiobook without any other equipment needed. The Playaway has all the buttons right on it (volume, play/pause, rewind, etc.) and the earbuds plug directly into it. We bought our first set of them three years ago thanks to a CCEP grant, and we've been adding to the collection ever since. As you might guess, the students love them and they are in high demand!
Borrowing a Playaway is a privilege reserved for the third and fourth graders because they require special handling and care. This week they have been signing up for the ones they would like to borrow, and the Playaways will begin circulating next week. (Because they are so popular, I maintain a "holds list" to ensure that the students get the titles they're most interested in.)
Children have much to gain from listening to audio books. For example, they can hear the correct pronunciation of new vocabulary as well as models of correct grammar. Listening to stories can help students with their own fluency when reading aloud. They also enable students to enjoy material which may be above their reading level. Whatever their reasons for borrowing a Playaway, it's wonderful to see the kids get so excited about signing them out!