Explorations, not prescriptions

Written by Francisca Goldsmith on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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Have you introduced teens or adults to how to make good use of reviews as media consumers? Reading reviews is an excellent way to open our consideration beyond what seems to be advertised on every screen we open. Learning about the medium in general, as well as a specific title, can also happen in our review reading.


Reviews help us learn where to pay closer attention to—and thus derive greater value from—technical details, such as an author’s use of symbolism or a narrator’s authenticity of inflection and accent. Listening to clips from audiobooks, including audiobooks of a genre or about a subject we presume holds little interest to us, according to our past preferences, also gives us the opportunity to consider a future direction instead of just where we’ve already been. A willingness to consider possibilities moves us, as listeners as well as readers, viewers, or in the pursuit of any consumption involving that nebulous feature called “taste,” from liking what we know toward knowing what we like.

During the off-season for downloading new audiobooks from SYNC, take some time to listen to something you received during the program and then read its audio review afterward. Did the reviewer articulate something that you also noted, giving critical description to a sense you formed without being sure what caused it?

To promote listening taste exploration in ourselves, discussions can help to see our experiences more clearly. Discussions that support exploration go beyond “I like/don’t like…” to noting how the performance came off and why we responded to it with specific feelings or thoughts. That’s what reviews do as well, sharing with us something well beyond thumbs up or down. When reviewers consider the material, they have to pay attention to it. 

Show someone you know, and whose listening enjoyment you hope to promote, how to use reviews to help in discerning an exploratory option. Help new review readers to understand the role of the reviewer as a guide, not as someone who is telling us what to think or feel about a title. This week's SYNC Newsletter from AudioFile Magazine offers some grreat reviews of new titles to get your discussion started.

Category : Literacy

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