What makes a player a Reading by Listening player?

10/28/16

Audio books are not created equally. There are specially formatted (Daisy) audio books that play on special book players, and there are standard audio books that play on standard audio playback equipment. In addition to the special navigation made possible by the (Daisy) formatting, the special players provide the speed and flexibility needed for Aural Reading (or Reading by Listening). Most of the special book players have the needed speed control functions that let the reader speed up and slow down the playback, and they have the needed functions that let the reader reread sentences, phrases, and words for studying. However, some of the special players do not have all of these needed functions, and one needs to understand what is being lost when these functions are missing.

Standard audio books, like those provided by textbook publishers, do not have the features needed for rapid reading and rereading of text because they are designed to play at standard speed on standard players like CD players, computers, or MP3 players, and those devices have limited playback functions. However, when these standard audio books can be played on a special player some of the speed and reread functions can be used, but the special navigation functions will not be available.

Devices for playing text are available in many forms, desk top, handheld, computer, and tablets but they must have read/reread features and adjustable speed playback features if they are to be considered Aural Reading devices and used for studying. Players without these functions, may be suitable for entertainment or recreational reading if students never need to go back to reread a previous word, sentence, or passage, but they are grossly inadequate for studying. When considering an audio text playback system for Reading by Listening, check to be sure that it has these functions. Some other examples of systems that have these two functions are: VoiceOver on iPads, iPod Touches, iPhones, and Mac computers; WindowEyes on Windows Computers, Victor Reader Classic X + book players, and NLS/BPH Digital Talking Book Players.