Audiobook research & resources

I write the audiobook column “Voices in My Head” in ALA’s Book Links magazine. For the March issue, I focus on the future of audiobook formats, interviewing industry leaders about their predictions on the containers that will carry stories over the next few years. For the upcoming issue’s Web Connections printable list, I compiled print & online resources that might come in handy for those of you who must justify audiobooks for children and teens in your yearly budgets. Today’s students are digital natives who have been born into a world of multiple literacies. Schools are embracing audiobooks, as listening to literature expands and enhances the reading experience. But teachers and school & public librarians must provide evidence of the effectiveness of including audiobooks as part of their literacy initiatives. I know my library’s budget is due this week – so for those of you crunching numbers, here’s a sneak peak of the resources from the March issue of Book Links (be sure to click “Read the rest…” to see the complete list, including web links) :

The Power of Audiobooks: Research and Resources


Beavin, Kristi. “Audiobooks: Four Styles of Narration.” Horn Book Magazine Sep. 1996: 566-573.

Beers, Kylene. “Listen While You Read.” School Library Journal Apr. 1998: 30.

Burkey, Mary. “The Audible Art of Poetry.” Book Links May 2008: 34-35.

Burkey, Mary. “Audiobooks Alive with the Sound of Music.” Book Links Sept 2008: 24-25.

Burkey, Mary. “Sounds Good to Me: Listening to Audiobooks with a Critical Ear.” Booklist 01 June 2007: 104.

Cardillo, A., Coville, B., Ditlow, T., Myrick, E., & Lesesne, T. “Tuning in to Audiobooks.” Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children Winter 2007: 42-46.

Clark, Ruth Cox. “Audiobooks for Children: Is This Really Reading?” Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children Spring 2007: 49-50.

Dessoff, Alan. “Resources to Support Disabled Learners.” District Administration May 2008: 49-52.

Donohue, Nanette. Nurturing Your Media. Library Journal 15 Nov. 2008 : 32-35.

Dowell, Jennifer M. “The Alchemy of Children’s Audio.” AudioFile Apr./May 2001: 18-23.

Fallows, James. “Reading by Ear.” Atlantic Monthly Jan. 2001: 16-17.

Goldsmith, Francisca. “Earphone English.” School Library Journal May 2002: 50.

Grover, Sharon, and Lizette D. Hannegan. “Not Just for Listening.” Book Links May 2005: 16-19.

Harmon, Amy. “Loud, Proud, Unabridged: It Is Too Reading!” New York Times 26 May 2005: G1-G2.

Harris, Karen. “What Makes a Book Narrator?” Booklist 01 Jan. 1998: 833.

Jemtegaard, Kristi Elle. “Audio Poetry: A Call to Words.” Horn Book Magazine May 005: 357-364.

Jemtegaard, Kristi. “Readers vs. Listeners.” Booklist 01 Apr. 2005: 1399-1399.

Seper, Chris. “To Curl Up With a Good Book, Listen Up.” Plain Dealer 23 May 2005: B1.

Kozloff, Sarah. “Audio Books in Visual Culture.” Journal of American Culture Winter 1995: 83.

Marchionda, Denise. “A Bridge to Literacy: Creating Lifelong Readers through Audiobooks.” AudioFile Aug./Sept. 2001: 19-21.

Mediatore, Kaite, and Mary K. Chelton. “Reading with Your Ears.” Reference & User Services Quarterly Summer 2003: 318.

Saricks, Joyce. “LA: Essentials of Listening Advisory.” Booklist July 2008: 16.

Varley, Pamela. “As Good as Reading? Kids and the Audiobook Revolution.” Horn Book Magazine May 2002: 251-262.

Wolfson, Gene. “Using Audiobooks to Meet the Needs of Adolescent Readers.” American Secondary Education 01 Jan. 2008: 105-117.

Wysocki, Barbara. “Louder, Please.” School Library Journal Mar. 2005: 10-14.

Online links:

Audiobooks & Literacy:

Celebrating Excellence in Audiobooks for Children & Young Adults Podcast:

Creating Lifelong Readers Through Audiobooks:

Get Caught Listening:

Learning through Listening (from Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic):

Listening Library’s Teacher Resources:

Now Playing: A Review of the Accessibility of Digital Audio Players:

Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production:

Odyssey Award 2008 Booklist Forum Podcast:

Recorded Books Resource Guides to Research & Classroom use:

Twenty-first Century Reading

Young Adult Audiobooks:

Why Listen at All:

Please let me know of any other research that I should add to the list!



Posted in: Audiobooks

About the Author:

Mary Burkey is a National Board Certified teacher-librarian in the Olentangy School District in Columbus, Ohio.

6 Comments on "Audiobook research & resources"

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  1.' Liz Burns says:

    those libraries & schools that are budget crunched and have students who need audiobooks for a physical reason (blind, low vision, physical, dyslexia) can have their students sign up for the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped (

    I’m at a regional library (NJ Library for the Blind & Handicapped, LBH) and we have audiobooks that are not commercially available. It’s all free, and they also offer books & magazines that can be downloaded over the Internet. Email me if you want more details.

  2.' niamh says:

    in response to –
    schools that are budget crunched and have students who need audio books for a physical reason (blind, low vision, physical, dyslexia) can have their students sign up for the National Library Service for the Blind & Physically Handicapped

    i am a student at South West College and i was researching about audio books for my, BTEC Level 3 National diploma in creative media and sound production and your trying to say that someone with dyslexia is physically handicapped!? your comment has made me very angry as i have dyslexia.

    • Mary Burkey says:

      I appreciate your comment about the designation of dyslexia. Here in the U.S. many of the services provided in schools must match the often hard to understand designation of federal and state funding. The inclusion of dyslexia in the National Services funding recognized the fact that dyslexia is a reading disability that occurs as the brain processes symbols. This federal designation is not meant as a negative label, but rather as recognition that there is a physical cause for dyslexia, and therefore qualifying those with dyslexia to services funded by government agencies.

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