The Benefits of Using An Audio Textbook With My Struggling Learner

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My dyslexic son feels like his mom is always treating him like a baby. And the truth is, there are times where I necessarily have to.

His struggle to read effects his interactions in the world every single day. And I am the one that has been filling in the gap.

Although he is only ten, and barely reading at all, he is however completing the same coursework in Science and Geography as his 13 year old brother. He loves the challenge. He is able to keep up.

The only problem is that I am the one reading every single thing to him.


Project Outlines


For all of it, I act as a reading interpreter. And he seriously dislikes it.

Conversely, my reading out loud also drives my oldest son completely bonkers. He is a fast and effective reader. He says I slow him down. He wants to get ahead of me, but can’t as I drone on with his brother.

The truth is, I had just about given up on completing any schoolwork with both of them together. The frustration of trying to meet both of their exceptional, but very different learning needs, was getting to be just too much – for all three of us.

And then we began using North Star Geography.

You already know how much I admire the curriculum. (Anything that uses real life and everyday practicalities to teach is right up my boys’ alley!)

The curriculum itself has been amazing for my kids. But the delivery was a little rough. My reading every lesson was getting tedious for all of us.

I realized that North Star has an audio version of the textbook available for download. To say I was enthusiastic about trying it, is an understatement.

We have never used an audio textbook. Strangely, the thought never even occurred to me before using Northstar.

But I know how much my boys respond to audio learning. We use audio books almost exclusively for read-alouds and language arts these days. Why not try a text book as well?

I am so glad we did.

The Benefits of Using An Audio Textbook With My Struggling Learner

Desired Independence

My son is thrilled that he can follow along in the textbook on his own now, without having his mom sit next to him and read everything. He has said on several occasions that he looks like he is in college now. And the truth is, his learning independently means a much needed break for me. Using headphones mean his older brother is thrilled, to not hear my voice droning on and on anymore.  Win-Win-Win.

Increased Confidence

Increasing independence is also bringing on an increased confidence in my youngest learner. Because he is now “in charge” and succeeding in a subject that is actually well above his current grade level, he is much more confident in his overall ability to learn. The sneakiest part of dyslexia is how much is erodes his own perception of how intelligent he really is. Using North Star’s audio text is helping him realize his capabilities – independent from me. This has been a huge confidence builder!

Better Retention

This one is a given. Because my child is an audio learner, he needs to hear it out loud to help retain the information. Moreover, hearing someone other than his mom, makes it much more interesting and “advanced” in his mind. His overall retention of this material has been excellent.

More Fun And Engaged Learning

This is the most beneficial part of our move to North Star Geography. Because the curriculum is well written and engaging, and because we have found a successful way to deliver the information using the audio format, my sons are enjoying the learning.

Learning About the World with North Star Geography

Overall, using North Star Geography’s audio textbook has been a huge win for us and our learning.

Have you ever used an audio textbook? What has your experience been? I am thinking we may expand this to other subjects as well in the upcoming school year, and would love to hear your thoughts!


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  1. Brenda Damon says:

    Learning Ally was THE turnaround for our homeschool! They have thousands of audiobooks, (including college text books, Apologia science and some BJU materials) My 14yo is now able to study science completely independent and is loving it! Some audiobooks also contain text on screen so that he can read along. This exercise of reading along with the audio is a daily one for about 20 min. and has made the biggest improvement in his reading abilities. The constant visual exposure to larger words while hearing the audio trains the brain. With dyslexia all things take time but it works! And allows for grade level coursework!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Brenda. I think we should talk about the importance of using audio books more often! I am so glad you agree (and it sounds like your son is doing so well!).

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