Playaway Audiobooks, 5-12

Heartland’s children’s and young adult library has added a new collection called Playaways. Playaways are mp3 players pre-loaded with audiobooks. The simple, portability of Playaways allows students to listen to an audiobook anytime, anywhere. Special equipment, cassettes or CDs, or lengthy downloads are not needed. The entire book is already loaded on the durable Playaway unit, which is about half the size of a deck of cards and made of “droppable plastic”. Each Playaway comes with earbuds, a triple A battery and a lanyard. Your students just plug in the earbuds and press play. With the high-quality digital technology of Playaways, the sound is sharp and clear. The Playaway also allows the student to control the speed of the narrator's voice and automatically remembers where the student left off when it is powered down.

Playaway audiobooks can be plugged into a powered desktop speaker for whole class participation. Students can read the print text as they listen to the Playaway for audio-supported reading that increases the development of critical listening and reading skills. Playaways can also motivate students to read more by an author they've been introduced to and to read books at their interest level, which may be above their reading level. Reluctant, struggling, or non-readers can have the same "reading" experiences as their peers. The variable speed feature can also be used to assist struggling and reluctant readers while they follow along with the printed book.

Playaways offer ELL students the opportunity to listen to spoken English with correct pronunciation of words, vocal inflection and fluency. The playback functions of the Playaway also support repeated listening of key phrases when necessary.