Trish Cislak is Head of Libraries and Research at Crescent School. She is also a Team Advisor with the IBSC Action Research Program. She conducted her action research project in 2011.
What question did your action research explore? What might be the effects of the introduction of audiobooks on Middle School boys’ pleasure reading habits?
What were your key findings? The boys initially thought listening to books was lazy. But they loved the convenience of audio books on the bus, in the car (where reading books makes some boys car sick), and as a good way to de-stress in bed at night. Most importantly, they enjoyed a sense of accomplishment in finishing a book. Middle School boys will look at books and not even try because they seem too long etc., but an audio book proved to be more accessible. Through the research, we learned that we need to establish reading habits before Middle School, because that they often stop reading for pleasure.
How did the research process enhance your approach to teaching? Action research is such a wonderful reflective tool – we often say it is “intuition to intention.” This research methodology provides a framework to see the change in practice through to conclusions, and the takeaways provide the next cycle of potential research. It was a relevant experience for me at the time. I had just immersed myself in a Middle School/Upper School Library for the first time in my career, so I had lots to learn.
One of the key takeaways was to give audio books the same importance as print material. Six years later, we have a robust audio book collection at Crescent, so we can give boys options. This is particularly important considering that 30% of boys are auditory learners, and it is an excellent alternative for many of our boys on IEPs.