THE THERAPEUTIC FUNCTION OF READING: AUDIOBOOKS AND CHILDREN IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
University of Library Studies and Information Technologies (ULSIT) (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 16th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-8 March, 2022
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:The report considers audiobooks as a modern and preferred method for reading literary works of various genres. Taking into account the changes in readers' attitudes, as well as the changes in public life imposed by the health crisis caused by COVID-19, audiobooks are established as a desirable product for consumption, mass and innovative reading.
According to world statistics, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the download and use of audiobooks became increasingly popular with works of children's literature being particularly sought after. Young readers are educated, learning and getting acquainted with new information through audiobooks, and at the same time spend their time meaningfully, gaining new knowledge in a fun, intriguing and non-engaging way.
Audio literature transmits the written word through sound and is a great opportunity for young readers to combine different activities and discover new literary editions using modern technological products. Children are especially inclined to use all modern means and these alternatives to the traditional book formats are part of the child's modernity today. The need for reading does not subside, the book is transformed, it gets a voice; it is with us everywhere at any time on different devices. The literature is presented in a new form to touch every reader and to strengthen the connection between the two components – a reader and a book, especially useful in this form for the child - active, curious, information literate, the Internet child to change his/her horizon with a look to the future while listening to the audio book.
Audio literature influences children by developing intelligence, improving vocabulary culture and last but not least, the audio book is an innovative tool for mutual assistance, increasing the emotional health of the child. Audio literature develops the mind and arouses interest in the book, and detaching themselves from everyday life and immersing themselves in the plot of the works, children distance themselves from the tension caused by the tremors in their social, educational and even family environment.
According to all data and observations from 2020 and the pandemic period, the audio book is entering as a sought-after alternative to reading, with a particularly large increase in consumption observed in the countries which are mostly affected by the COVID-19 situation. Reading audio format is one of the eight most preferred activities in Europe, again based on analyzes conducted for the period.
The purpose of the report is to look at audio books as a means of dealing with the atypical situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey was conducted among families left in isolation for a long time. Subsequent interviews were conducted with the surveyed parents and children. According to the results, the benefits of audio books are reinforced, with young users saying that listening to audio books makes them feel better during isolation, which means that they help to increase their mental health. Parents point to audio books as a good opportunity for children to use in this situation and emphasize the beneficial effect of books on the emotional and mental state of their children.
Keywords: Therapeutic Function, Reading, Bibliotherapy, Audiobooks, Children, COVID-19.