Shared Listening

Last weekend The Professor and I went on a mini-vacation to Albuquerque. We went to the Botanical Gardens, the aquarium and a few other places about the city (including two bookstores, because we bookish folk can’t help ourselves). And it was fun. We had a good time on our outings.

But there was a drive. Of course there was a drive, it’s vacation. Last time we listened to The Nerdist Podcast episode with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and it was awesome.  This time we listened to Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian because of the banning of this book was recently revoked in a school district. I’ve heard it a few times, now; it was The Professor’s first listen.

I love sharing stories with my partner. Periodically, we’d stop the audio and talk about what was happening, sharing connections and thoughts.

Now, I’ve read this at least eight times between taking classes from one of my favorite professors and teaching it myself when I taught graduate school. The first time I listened to Part-Time Indian the experience was different in terms of pacing and inflection. And that, by itself, contributed to heightened enjoyment and understanding of the story.

Being able to share the audio of the story with my partner provided me the opportnity to vicariously experience the story for the first time again. That was fun.

And I think that’s part of why I don’t get tired teaching the same novels more than once. The experience I have with my students is different each time. Hearing the predictions they make, experiencing their anger when the story doesn’t end the way they want it to, listening to the unplanned conversations between students wherein they argue about the story — these are all power ups for me, as their teacher. Without fail. Every time. No matter how many times I’ve taught a story.

So I’m excited to start with a new group of students, and I’m excited to continue listening to my favorite audiobooks with The Professor.

What do you love about audiobooks and/or shared reading?

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