RECORDED BOOKS 2007
Guide to Intervention
with Recorded Books
In an educational environment characterized by growing student enrollments,
stringent demands for Adequate Yearly Progress, and accountability at both the
classroom and administrative levels, today’s educator is still focused first of all
on teaching individual students and meeting their various needs.
Recorded Books are an excellent solution to the problem of instructing students
of different ability levels and with different learning challenges—students such
as struggling, reluctant, below-grade readers, ESL learners at all stages of profi-
ciency, special education and special needs students, students with IEP’s (indi-
vidual education plans), as well as students diagnosed with Dyslexia and
2 . . .Repeated Reading with
Attention Deficit Disorders. Audio helps ESL students
Administrators, curriculum directors, librarians, reading specialists, and class- 4 . . .Library’s Literacy Academy
room teachers all look for ways to meet the varying needs of these diverse stu- makes students more
dent populations—who are often found in a single classroom. confident readers
Intervention with Audiobooks: A
This Guide to Intervention with Recorded Books provides new information on 6 . . .More Research from Tufts
Lee Corey Article Baltimore City
how these educators are using audio support to differentiate instruction in
mixed-ability classrooms and for populations with special needs. 7 . . Gorsuch ESL
Greta.A Classroom Teacher’s
Perspective on Intervention
Student populations that benefit Tuft’s/Baltimore antidotes
from audio support
Advanced Readers (5%)
Struggling Readers (28%)
New Readers (3%)
ESL Students (16%) Recorded Books:
Special Needs Students (10%)
All Students/Combination Classrooms (28%)
Special Projects (1%)
Educator survey conducted by Recorded Books, LLC
Inside, you will find new information on intervention
strategies that work for all students, including the latest
case studies and strategies.
Recorded Books 2007
Proof That It Works!
Repeated Reading with
Recorded Books helps
Audio support is an important element of fluency strategies
involving repeated reading, new research shows.
In a recent issue of Language Magazine, Greta Gorsuch, Texas Tech University, describes
her research with ESL students in Japan and Vietnam and reports evidence for signifi-
Developing reading fluency in EFL:
cant, meaningful gains in reading fluency and comprehension. She also presents an easily
How assisted repeated reading
implemented intervention method for fluency building in reading.
and extensive reading affect
The link between fluency and comprehension
Greta J. Gorsuch
Texas Tech University
According to Professor Gorsuch, reading fluency and its link to reading comprehension are
vital concerns in both first and second language settings. The link between fluency and
Daito Bunka University
comprehension lies in the automaticity of word recognition in text. Without this automatic
recognition, students spend all their energy struggling to decode, ending up with no resources
left for comprehension, a struggle typical of many ESL readers.
Students from Japan and Vietnam
who were learning English as a sec-
Fluency increases in words per minute over the course of 16 repeated readings
ond language showed significant
benefits when using a repeated
reading method utilizing audio.
Utilize Repeated Reading
1. Silently read text alone.
2. Listen to text on audio and read
3. Repeat reading using
audio and text.
1 4 7 10 13 16
4. Repeat reading silently, using
5. Read text alone again.
Guide to The method
Intervention with A powerful means of increasing fluency for ESL students is Repeated Reading, in which 500-
Recorded Books: word portions of an easy text are read repeatedly, often with an audio model, resulting in faster
reading rates and better comprehension of new, unpracticed texts. Cumulative and ongoing
Update gains have been found to result from as few as two 25-minute sessions per week.
for Educators Working in Vinh, Vietnam in 2005 over an 11-week period, Professor Gorsuch administered
Repeated Reading treatments using short passages. Each session involved five readings:
1) silent reading of the text alone, 2) reading of text with audio support,
2 3) read again with tape, 4) repeat silent reading of text only, 5) read silently again.
Recorded Books 2007
This practice produced stunning increases in both reading fluency and comprehension. Words
per minute fluency increased from 163.20 to 217.78 for first-time exposure to new text. That
is, students increased their reading speed in the course of a repeated reading session, and also
transferred this increased speed to new, unpracticed passages, showing both short term and long
Comprehension was measured by short answer tests, administered pre- and post-positively, cov-
ering inferences, main ideas, supporting details, and minor details. During the 16-week re-
peated reading sessions, students increased from referencing 14.2% of possibilities to 41.2%.
This is a 26.8% improvement.
Also used to measure comprehension was a recall test, also administered both before and after
the repeated reading experience. Students improved from recalling 8.5% of the material to
26.1%, an improvement of 17.6%.
The link between fluency and com-
prehension is the ability to auto-
matically recognize a word in text.
Comprehension growth as measured by short answer tests over 16 sessions Without this ability, students
spend all their energy struggling to
decode single words instead of
comprehending the work as a
Repeated Reading Works!
• Increased words-per-minute
Session 1 fluency by 54.58 words
• 26.8% improvement on short
10% 20% 30% 40% 50% answer tests
% of propositions referenced • 17.6% improvement on
• fewer instances of
Comprehension growth as measured by recall tests over 16 sessions “laborious word decoding”
• students more likely to guess at a
word’s meaning by using context
“The audio model adds a depth of
meaning for learners though hearing
meaning-rich features of pronuncia-
tion—such as pitch, intonation,
rhythm, and emphasis—embedded
directly in the text.”
5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30%
Going beyond reading
Another area of improvement observed by Professor Gorsuch was in the use of reading strate-
gies, those elusive internal uses of cognition teachers wish so desperately their students would
use independently. For example, she noted fewer instances of laborious word decoding among
students but increased attempts to guess a word’s meaning; more adjustments in the reader’s at-
tention and pace to fit the student’s purpose in reading.
Recorded Books 2007
Intervention with Recorded Books:
A Case Study
Library’s Literacy Academy
makes students more
Case Study Info
Northview High School
1,532 total students
Northview High School’s Literacy Academy, based in the school’s library, has been a hit with
51.5% of all students enrolled in
both teachers and students. The program pairs struggling readers with audio versions of re-
various intervention programs
quired texts to help them get ahead. Peer tutors monitor progress and direct book discussion as
Intervention for English/Language
students use Listening Centers set up around the library. Read on to find out more about
Arts focuses on pairing audio with
Northview High’s program—designed and implemented by librarian Hillary Wolfe—and learn
how you can implement a literacy intervention program with audiobooks.
Listening Centers set up in library
for student use
What is a Literacy Academy?
Teachers nominate students who they feel need extra help for the Literacy Academy. During
“Students who have participated in
free periods students come to the library for extra help from volunteer peer tutors. Students
our multi-subject intervention pro-
listen to the audio versions of required reading, while following along with the text. Teachers
gram have shown an increase of 36-
may send worksheets with students or require students to keep daily work reports. Tutors keep
40% on test scores!”
a progress log and report back to the learning specialist on the day’s work. Students even have
the opportunity to re-take tests after improvement has been shown in the Literacy Academy.
Learning Specialist and Librarian,
Northview High School
How can I set up my classroom or library
“For kids who are struggling readers,
audiobooks prepare them for the
classroom and give them access to
There are many ways to set up your learning space for literacy intervention. Set up a shelf
where you can pair audio and text versions together, and make it accessible to all students. For
—Dr. Chris Ericson,
Director of Instructional Services, individual study, use personal CD and tape players. Northview High school used listening
Rowland Unified School District, CA centers, allowing small groups of students to listen and work together—perfect for peer review
“I was able to pay attention way
better … I would definitely recom-
Does intervention with audiobooks work?
—Randy P., Carleen Cannon, a 12th grade English teacher at Northview High, assigned four students from
Northview High School senior
her class, some of who were two or more years below grade level in reading comprehension, to
the Literacy Academy because they were having trouble with Hamlet. After listening to the
audio and working with a peer tutor, these students not only caught up, but were the only ones
who had finished the required reading! Ms. Wolfe asked one of the students how it felt to be at
Intervention with the top of the class—“It feels cool,” he replied.
Recorded Books 2007
“I know I got a better grade.”
Ms. Wolfe shares this story:
“Randy P., a senior, was assigned to read 1984. While in the library one day, I overheard him
complaining that the book was difficult to understand and that he had fallen behind. I sug-
gested he come in and listen to it on CD. He was reluctant until I offered to make him a cup of
cocoa! The next day, he came in with two friends, who also wanted to listen (and to have some
cocoa). True to my word, I made him cocoa every day he came in and listened, and he contin-
ued to come in until he finished the book.”
“I know I got a better grade,” said Randy of the experience. “It’s easier for me to understand.
Before, we would read it in class, but I would doze off or start getting distracted. When I
started listening to it, I was able to pay attention to it way better. The book is so dry, [but with Promote your own Literacy
audio] the reader gets the character real good … My friend Eric and I did it together. We would Academy with these fun tools!
Ms. Wolfe attracted students to the
stop and talk about it and take notes. I participated in the discussions in class. Oh yeah, I
audio collection with fun signs and
would definitely recommend it, especially when you’re struggling and trying to get your grade
notices. Download a PDF of this
up, it helps.” audiobook flyer at
History, Social Studies, and more. u
Have yo od
heard a tely ?
Audiobooks aren’t just for in-school use, and aren’t just for English and Language Arts classes.
Because of the success of this year’s program, Northview High School has big plans next year
for audiobooks. Many fiction titles and nonfiction texts correlate to other subjects such as So-
cial Studies and History—“AP History classes especially require a good deal of outside reading,”
says Ms. Wolfe. The school plans to buy more titles that can be used for inter-disciplinary edu-
cation, as well as more titles that correspond to the Reading Counts program. Also next year,
the school would like to explore allowing students to take audiobooks home on CD or by Listen & Read
downloading them to their personal MP3 players—adding fun technology such as MP3 and with Recorded Books!
Playaway is a great way to get students interested and engaged.
Want to start your own Literacy
Summary Academy? Download a PDF of
Northview High’s peer tutor guide-
Northview High students said audiobooks helped them:
lines at www.recordedbooks.com
• better comprehend difficult texts required for class.
• get more engaged in the text. Intervention Literacy Academy
1. Set up students with a listening center. Students should have both the audio
• be better prepared to paticipate in class discussions. version and the print version of the text. Preferably, students will work in
groups of 2-5, listening together with the tutor.
2. Before listening:
• If required to take notes or fill out worksheets on the book, students
should look over this information first so they know what to listen for.
• be better able to discuss the book in class. • If you are starting a new book, review what is already known about the
• If you are continuing a book, review what reading was covered in the
3. While listening:
• finish books and finish them more quickly. • Keep a list of unfamiliar words or phrases to define after each section.
• Keep a list of characters.
• Stop as needed if a section is especially confusing or warrants discussion.
4. The group should listen together to the audiobook for about 15 minutes, or
• score better on tests and improve confidence. until the end of a chapter or section. Students should follow along with the
text as they listen.
5. After listening, each member of the group should write a short summary of
what they have heard so the group can discuss the book.
6. After each listening to section, discuss what you heard. Go over any notes
all group members have taken, and answer any questions group members
7. Using what you’ve learned from your discussion, fill out any worksheets re-
quired by the teacher.
8. Note goals for the next listening and reading section and report these goals
back to the instructor.
Based on the Literacy Academy
at Northview High School in Covina, California.
For more information on how to use audiobooks in the classroom,
see www.recordedbooks.com or call to get our Research and Results! brochure.
Recorded Books 1-800-638-1304 www.recordedbooks.com
Recorded Books 2007
More Research from RFB&D
In addition to its outstanding work providing audio text-
book support tools for the blind and dyslexic, Recording for
the Blind and Dyslexic continues to commission and dissem-
inate the highest quality scientific research on the effective-
ness of audio support in learning.
The Tufts Summer Literacy Program
Massachusetts Center for Reading and Language Research
Tufts University 2004-2006
Maryann Wolf, Ed.D, Director
This primary research program showed significant increases for young readers ages 7 to 10 in an
audiobook experimental intervention group vs a control group in certain reading skills:
• listening comprehension
• phonological analysis and blending
• reading comprehension
Baltimore City Public School System
RFB&D 2004-2005 Case Study
Dramatic achievement gains were found among students with IEPs from 35 Baltimore schools on
the Brigance Reading Assessment, administered at the beginning and end of the school year.
• Average word recognition: .76 grade level gain
• Average reading comprehension:. .61 grade level gain
• Grade 8 word recognition: 1.0 grade level gain
• Grade 8 reading comprehension: 1.5 grade level gain
• Grade 9 word recognition: 1.5 grade level gain
Audiobooks and IEPs:
• Grade 9 reading comprehension: 1.5 grade level gain
Integrate audiobooks into students’
IEP plans. Audiobooks can
be useful to students who are strug-
Educators observed a range of student benefits resulting from the use of audiobooks, including
gling with reading comprehension,
improved self-confidence, interest and attitude about reading.
have reading-specific disabilities,
or are learning English as a
Percentage of educators noting benefit:
Improved reading comprehension 70%+
Improved reading accuracy 50%+
Improved self-confidence 60%+
Guide to Increased reading rate 40%+
Intervention with Increased motivation 60%+
Increased interest in reading 70%+
For more research on audio learning, including RFB&D’s Johns Hopkins University
study, download “Recorded Books Work” at www.recordedbooks.com/school or call
for Educators 1-800-638-1304 to have a copy mailed to you.
6 For more information of RFB&D programs and research, see www.rfbd.org.
Recorded Books 2007
Intervention in the Inclusion Classroom
on Intervention “Studies show that the nation’s most
effective teachers routinely create
‘multi-sourced, multi-level’ curricu-
with Audiobooks lum plans that provide struggling
readers with books they can read
Voices from the Middle
By Lee Corey
Lee Corey says:
Lee Corey has been teaching English Language Arts for twelve years in Florida, “Audio recordings are a crucial part
South Carolina, and Turkey. She has served as president of the Orange County of my instruction.”
Council of Teachers of English and is Board Certified in Adolescent and
“I learned early in my teaching ca-
Young Adult English Language Arts. reer the value of having a classroom
library. Students are much more
likely to read when the books are
introducing good books and stories. I use short
t’s difficult to imagine a class these days that readily accessible.”
texts and excerpts at the beginning of class to in-
doesn’t have students of widely varying needs
troduce books, show specific writing traits, or
and skills. I teach “regular” ninth and tenth
How does Lee Corey use
share interesting information. I also want to
grade English classes, but I haven’t quite figured
audio in her classroom?
model what good reading sounds like, but I don’t
out what “regular” means. Learning disabled,
1. Start with classroom read-alouds.
want them to think that I am the only good
gifted, ESL, apathetic students, hard workers— Expose students to different
reader. Audio recordings let me continue to share
they’re all in class together. This is what today voices using audiobooks, modeling
interesting texts while also exposing students to
has become know as the “inclusion classroom,” good reading practices.
different voices. They can hear men and women
and it poses specific challenges for teachers. 2. Strategy lessons with audio allow
of all ages who are excellent readers.
Richard Allington reports, “Studies show that students to move past decoding
and on to comprehension.
the nation’s most effective teachers routinely cre-
ate ‘multi-sourced, multi-level’ curriculum plans 3. Group reading with audio support
Students move past decoding and gets students talking about the
that provide struggling readers with books they
on to comprehension. book.
can read successfully” (Voices from the Middle, 9).
4. Independent reading with audio-
So, the challenge for any teacher is to be sure to
he core of my class is strategy lessons. I books is a great way to get all
provide positive, successful reading experiences want my students to acquire specific students excited about reading.
for readers who struggle, whatever the cause, skills related to reading, writing and Let them check out the books
while challenging the avid readers in class. I have they are interested in!
thinking which they can use in other situations.
found that audiobooks can be a valuable tool in For example, my ninth grade classes always study
such differentiation in my curriculum. The Odyssey. I want my students to be able to an-
alyze Odysseus’ thoughts and actions in order to
Modeled Reading exposes draw some conclusions about our ideas of heroes
and human beings in general. Unfortunately,
students to different voices. Recorded Books:
many of my students struggle with decoding the
text. Their brains are too preoccupied with fig-
ne of my main goals as an English
uring out words and sentences to focus on a
teacher is to help students find the joy
character analysis. This is another area where
in reading. I know that if they find
audio recordings are a crucial part of my in-
books and stories that they love, they will want
struction. As a class, we will listen to the record-
to read more often, both in class and outside of
my classroom. Read-alouds are my first tool for
Continued on following page
Recorded Books 2007
ing while reading along in the text. This type of this method of reading, but it ensures that every-
shared reading allows the entire class to be on one is reading and it creates a situation where
the same page at the same time. Struggling conversations about books come naturally. They
readers can focus on higher level reading skills laugh together and gasp together as they’re read-
like character analysis because they’re not ing. Since students are reading together and stop
focused on decoding. Whether the class is on the same page, when they pull their head-
reading an entire book together with the audio phones off, the comments and conversations
recording or just an excerpt, using the recording start naturally. I find very few management
with the entire class will show your students problems while students are listening to their
that this is a tool for everyone, not just the books in small groups. This time also gives me
“slow” students. This encourages students to the opportunity to observe students or work
use audio recordings in situations with small with small groups uninterrupted.
groups and independent reading.
Keep group work on task of independent reading.
and level the field.
also dedicate class time each week for inde-
s teachers, we know there is a lot for pendent reading and recorded books are a
students to gain from small-group part of the success of silent sustained read-
work, however, it is often difficult to ing. I make audiobooks available as part of the
keep groups on task, especially in classes with 35- class library. I have a variety of titles available to
40 students. In addition to leveling the playing anyone who wants to use them. For many of my
field for students, audiobooks can also help with struggling readers, recorded books are a way to
classroom management. For example, I always stay focused and interested for 30-40 minutes of
Every learning level
found reading groups to be incredibly challeng- reading. But it is not only my lower-level stu-
Because audiobooks help keep
ing for my students. I love the idea of small dents who use the audiobooks. Just like many of
everyone on the same page, audio-
groups of students choosing their own books, us enjoy listening to books in our cars, I have
books are great for all inclusion
reading, and meeting in class to discuss those students at all levels who enjoy the audio record-
classrooms, from K-12.
books; however, even with extensive planning ings. They do not listen out of necessity, but just
and preparation, the reality of literature circles for the joy of listening. For all of my students
Lee Corey says:
never came close to my expectations. I always who choose to use audiobooks independently, it
“Everyone in the group is on the
had students who loved the book and so read the increases their enjoyment of reading and, there-
same page at the same time … they
entire thing in one or two nights. On the other fore, they are willing to spend more time reading.
laugh together and gasp together.”
end of the spectrum, there were always students
who never read. In a group of five students, I was
Make your classroom library
“It is not only my lower level stu-
lucky if two or three actually stuck to the sched-
dents who use the audiobooks … I
ule they planned. It made discussions difficult,
have students at all levels who enjoy
the audio recordings … it increases with some students revealing things still-to-come
learned early in my teaching career the value
their enjoyment of reading.”
and other students off-task because they had not
of having a classroom library. Students are
read and were not engaged in the book.
much more likely to read when the books are
“Audiobooks have become a valuable
Having audio support completely changed readily accessible. As I have added audio record-
tool for my students’ success.”
the reading group experience for me. Now, I ings to my library, I have found that they can
have listening centers and students read their contribute to components of my reading in-
books in class while following along with the struction—read alouds, strategy instruction,
audio recording. Everyone in the group is on the small group work, and independent reading. Au-
Intervention with same page at the same time. Obviously, this diobooks have become a valuable tool for my
means I have to dedicate significant class time to
Recorded Books: students’ success.
Recorded Books 2007