Braille books have been around for decades for the visually impaired but with the ever-increasing amount of matter to read, printing, obtaining and carrying around braille books can be cumbersome, difficult and inconvenient. The delay caused by the time taken to create, publish and ship these books made all the titles obsolete by the time they reached the shops. Furthermore, reading the braille alphabet requires training. Audiobooks on the other hand are cheaper, easier to obtain and hundreds of e-books can be stored on a single device.
Audiobooks are digital versions of books that are read aloud by AI that are available online through apps. These are downloadable texts that you can listen to while you do other work, in existence in simplistic forms since the 1930s. The use of audiobooks is growing from strength to strength in the Middle East due to their versatility and ‘on-the-go listening’. Audiobooks can be used by all for leisure listening but they also serve a more meaningful purpose. They are highly beneficial tools for the visually impaired. Special educational schools in the UAE have increased the use of audiobooks in their teaching methodology to transform the way they learn.
Reading Eggs is a comprehensive online library of books that recognises that reading has a significant impact on learning and skill development of children. It can be accessed through any device and the user has access to the whole library at the click of a button. Instead of carrying around bulky braille books, you can access over 3000 books on this platform, anywhere, anytime. Reading Eggs has a wide range of book categories to suit every child’s interest, ranging from everyday instances to mythical creatures in fantasy lands.
Audiobooks also help with time management as you can listen and continue to go about your day with tasks and chores that need to be completed. Commutes to and fro the office become less monotonous when you can listen to your favourite authors spin stories about various characters.
Students who listen to audiobooks improve their comprehension skills while the intonations of the voice guide them through the book. In the GCC areas, it has been found that students who develop mental health issues because of negative thought patterns, benefit from listening to audiobooks. They are distracted from negative thought patterns, by focusing on something else while listening. Studies have also shown that there is a link between social media use and feelings of loneliness and depression.
Schools in Dubai engage their students in audiobooks to motivate them to build fluency and critical thinking. Reading Eggs has hundreds of interactive reading lessons which build these skills in an enjoyable and rewarding way. They believe that all the literacy skills such as vocabulary, articulacy and comprehension can be attained through the use of audiobooks. Furthermore, the use of audiobooks is encouraged in all Dubai schools as it reduces the screen time for students and allows the eyes a break from the glare of a device screen.
Audiobooks can help a visually impaired child not only gain knowledge, but they can also boost their independence as they feel confident that they are able to do it alone. Sometimes they are also available free of charge to special students. And if not, the charges of shipping, production etc., are eliminated so the full benefit goes towards providing these audiobooks at minimal cost to the consumer.