Audio books are not a new concept, but they are definitely becoming more and more popular. I remeber one time in 6th grade we were reading The Cay. It was a difficult book at the time for the whole class to read. Our teacher played it on audio tape for us while we followed along. It helped most of the students to keep up with the reading, even though we were not technically reading. That was my first experience with audio books.
I haven't really used audio books since, but I know many people who do. I think they are of great use in the car during a long drive. However, now people are starting to use them in place of the actual text, especially in high school. They are given the book, but simply download it from the internet and listen to it instead. I've even heard cases of college students using ausio books. Some books can be rather expensive, not so much the small books we get for an Litrerature class. But those small books start to add up; for example, I had to get ten books for my one class. Each one may have only cost anywhere from ten to fifteen dollars but that adds up. Audio books can be much cheaper, if not completely free. I got the actual book anyway just because that is what I prefer, but a lot of people who have to get books for other English classes are just down loading the audio version! I like to have the text, especially if it is for a class. That way I can takes notes in it or highlight important lines. I think audio books should be for reading for pleasure, not academic work.
Do you think students get the same experience from listening to a book verses reading it?