LTPS Partners with Audible to Provide Free Student Access to Thousands of Books
One of the ongoing goals for educators is to get students more closely connected to books and the learning that comes with them. Teachers within Lawrence Township Public Schools (LTPS) now have another tool to do just that.
Audible, the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment, is teaming up with a handful of schools nationwide to introduce Audible for Schools. With this national program, Audible is working with 15 public school districts (one of which is LTPS!), four state education departments, and seven charter management organizations. Each participating student and English/Language Arts teacher in LTPS in grades 8-12 have received an Audible account that includes free access to a curated bundle of 80 book titles commonly used in these grade levels.
Public domain titles in the bundle (over half of the offering) have access to Audible Captions, a new program that enables a simultaneous experience of text and audio so that users will see what they are hearing on their device as they listen, strengthening users’ ability to say words and know how they sound. With these titles, users have the ability to tap on any word to pull up dictionary definitions, Wikipedia entries, and translations in 20+ languages for greater understanding and learning.
“I’m thrilled that we’re part of the handful of public school districts selected for the initial launch of the Audible for Schools program,” related LTPS Superintendent Ross Kasun. “The program has a wealth of offerings that are certain to appeal to varied interests and to connect our students more closely to books and to building vocabulary and understanding.”
Students can participate in the program with parental consent and they must be 13 years of age or older. Participating students and teachers also receive 12 credits, which can be used to download additional titles from the Audible catalog of over 475,000 titles, providing the opportunity for students to pursue a topic or genre of interest and deepen their love of books.
Audible formed an Advisory Council comprised of leading experts in education to help guide this learning initiative. This council has helped inform how Audible will introduce the program and support educators to make the most of Audible in the classroom.
Who is on the Advisory Council?
- Chris Cerf, Former Superintendent, Newark NJ and Former NJ State Education Commissioner
- Hanna Skandera, Former Secretary of Education, New Mexico
- Tim Shanahan, University of Illinois Literacy Researcher, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
- Pete Gorman, Former Superintendent, Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina
- Dr. Ross Kasun, Superintendent, Lawrence Township, New Jersey
- Dr. Larrie Reynolds, Executive Director, Hamilton County, Tennessee
- Dr. Carey Wright, State Superintendent, Mississippi
- Michael Yudin, Former Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Acting Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education on behalf of the Obama administration
Chris Cerf provided, “When I was superintendent of the Newark Public Schools, I was grateful to work with Audible to provide every high school student with free access to a vast library of books. Students not only enjoyed access to Audible but were particularly attracted to the opportunity, in the case of some books, to listen while also seeing the words simultaneously.
“From my many years as State Education Commissioner of NJ and at the district-level, I have come to appreciate the urgency of exposing young readers to long-form narrative and the power of storytelling. Too many of our students today are what I refer to as ‘reluctant readers.’ Either they face challenges in the mechanics of reading or just simply don’t read regularly, in part as a result of competing distractions that too often diminish their appetite. I am excited to have the opportunity to [work with Audible to] bring this entirely philanthropic opportunity to tens of thousands of students across the country.”