Written by Miss Jones, Head of English and Modern and Ancient Languages
At the start of 2019, I wanted to make a New Year’s resolution I would stick to. I also wanted a resolution that I believed would positively impact both my professional and personal life and my personal enjoyment. The choice seemed obvious. I was going to try to average reading three books a month.
Now for many of us this is a daunting task, especially given how busy our lives are. Between commuting, work, socialising, and homework, reading can often feel like a task that is too tiring at the end of a busy day. Even as an English teacher who loves reading, I was concerned about this. How on earth could I average three books a month with everything else I had going on?
… But I did it! Over 2019, I devoured 34 books!
Now I know what you mathematicians are thinking, and yes, that is technically an average of 2.83 books a month, but I was still pretty pleased. My readings ranged from the inspirational autobiography of Michelle Obama, to the informative On Writing by Stephen King; from the chilling The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud, to the hilarious Joy in the Morning by P G Wodehouse; from the literary classic Little Women, to the modern masterpiece Girl, Woman, Other. Every single story was different and wonderful, and I have never been more pleased with a New Year’s resolution.
So, how did I do it, you ask? Well, it was all thanks to audiobooks. On average, every third book that I ‘read’ was actually listened to as I commuted to and from school and walked around London. As I zoomed down the Victoria line, Grayson Perry narrated his Descent of Man. As I changed at the central line, Tina Fey talked me through her life experiences in Bossypants. As I spent my weekends walking through Clapham Common, Colin Firth beautifully narrated The End of the Affair as I gazed up at Graham Greene’s home.
All in all, audiobooks opened up a totally new ‘reading’ experience for me. The actors and authors who narrated the texts brought them to life, bringing new joy to texts I had previously read, and injecting character and emotion into the words on the page. Audiobooks let me consume more fiction in a year than I ever thought was possible. They were convenient too! I could listen to books and clean the kitchen, or I could get through a novel at double the speed I could if I read it on my own. Indeed, after doing some research
myself, many argue that audio books allow you to retain the plot of texts more easily, making them an excellent resource for learners in our English classes.
Fundamentally, audio books changed my life.
So during this period of uncertain times, Audible have opened up their doors to pupils and parents alike, offering a range of free audio books for the foreseeable future. So whilst you are at home, why not take the opportunity to open up a whole new world and see how many audio books you can devour? In a time that feels almost like a dystopian novel itself, escaping into the land of the fictional is a wonderful way to relax and unwind. It has positive benefits for our mental health, improves our literacy and vocabulary, and helps us to think more imaginatively. Given how many new challenges we all currently facing, thinking creatively might just be exactly what we need!