Policy Webinar: Literacy and the power of audiobooks

audiobooks image Hig res.jpg

The National Literacy Trust is launching new research into the value and impact of audiobooks on younger and older listeners, supported by Audible UK and launching with a webinar to review what we know and shape our next steps.

Our research in the space so far has asked the following questions:

  • Do audiobooks improve reading engagement? What is the evidence and what do we still need to research?
  • Do audiobooks help students build vocabulary?
  • How do teachers and educators use audiobooks in education and what is the best practice?
  • How do audiobooks impact on mental wellbeing?

At this webinar we will showcase what we already know about engagement with audiobooks, from the perspective of children, young people and adults, and get expert insights from across the sector. We will highlight two areas that we are planning to research further this spring/summer; findings from which we will share in a follow-up webinar in the autumn.

Our research, which the National Literacy Trust will conduct this spring/summer, aims to:

  1. Build on our previous study into children and young people’s engagement with audio, sponsored by The Publisher Association. We will now deep-dive to gain further insight in engagement with audiobooks amongst different demographics, such as, reluctant readers and children in receipt of free school meals
  2. Increase our understanding on the role of audiobooks in the lives of older people. To that effect, we will investigate whether audiobooks can mitigate feelings of isolation and promote wellbeing, which we feel is particularly pertinent given the potential increased socialisation of this population as a result of successive lockdowns.

We will launch findings from this research in a follow-up webinar in the autumn.

The event is free to attend and will feature insights from:

  • Dr Christina Clark, Head of Research and Emily Best, Audio Research Manager, National Literacy Trust
  • Kevin Addley, Country Manager, Audible UK
  • Ruth Howells, Deputy Director of External Affairs, Publishers Association
  • Nicola Izibili, Literacy Consultant and Teacher

The session will be opened by Jonathan Douglas CBE, CEO of the National Literacy Trust and there will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentations.

The Axe the Reading Tax campaign calls for a removal of VAT from all reading formats, helping to remove barriers to the knowledge, enjoyment, and other benefits that books provide. The campaign has so far been successful in removing VAT from e-books, but the tax still remains on audiobooks. Our hope is that this new series of research will help strengthen the case for the removal of the tax on audiobooks.

Who should attend?

We welcome delegates from across the sector including those working in education, publishing and audiobook production, policy, and wellbeing.

We will ask participants what they would like to know about the impact and power of audiobooks and this discussion will help to shape the research.

Booking form