Listen!Do you want to know a secret?
I read a lot of books. People often are surprised that I read so many books and fit them in to a busy schedule. My secret? AUDIOBOOKS! I cannot overstate how much I love audiobooks. I have a dream of a retirement job where I am a reader for audiobooks.
Right now, I'm driving 4 hours each way on many weekends to travel to my doctoral classes, and I also drive around supervising student teachers and going to early intervention appointments. So I listen A LOT when I'm driving! But- I also listen when I'm doing mundane tasks (laundry, dishes, computer grunt work like re-organizing files on my desktop), or taking a walk. Last year I realized I was behind on reading my Newbery Award Winners, so I started listening to them when my kids were in the car with me. They all seem to be around 4 hours long, which is perfect for my weekend trips. I still have a lot to get through, but I'm making a start!
I primarily listen through Audible. I have also started to use Libby, the library audio app, and I have downloaded some through iTunes, though I find it less user-friendly than Audible. I have even gone through the painful process of importing audiobook CDs and creating playlists- but this is not great because if you listen to something else before you finish the book, you lose your spot in the playlist. So unless you want to take a screenshot of the time location where you were before you listen to something else, I don't recommend this mode of audiobooks.
From talking to friends, I have come to realize that not everyone is able to listen to audiobooks without tuning out, so this may not be a solution for everyone. BUT- I do know that I have become an even better listener over the past few years since I have been doing it more, so there is hope for everyone to get better (Read GRIT and Mindset if you're not convinced about that...). I know my parents paved the way for me with their own love of audiobooks, and we've carried on that tradition...no DVDs on our long trips, just audiobooks! (And just to be transparent...my kids often grumble about this, but after about 20 minutes of the book they are into it!) Since listening to audiobooks carries basically the same benefits as reading yourself (Check out this article), and we all know the importance of reading to our kids, I encourage parents to jump on the audiobook bandwagon. Additionally, audiobooks can be a great tool in the classroom!