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You are HERE >> Language Arts >  Oral and Visual Communications

Reading on the Telephone
by Jodi Jill
July 2, 2001


Ring, Ring, Ring…it is the phone again. Whether the cellular phone or the portable on the kitchen table, phones seem to be a strong part of today’s society. Believe it or not, reading is incorporated on the telephone too. The majority of libraries have reading lines that cater to children who are looking for a great story.

 Across the country libraries are involved with bringing reading to the young by their reading lines. The premise is simple – if you can’t get to the library to read a story, then you can call to listen. 

 Once a week (sometimes more frequently) a new story is placed on a recorder that can be called by anyone. The stories, lasting anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes, are interesting journeys that appeal to children.  Using inflections of the voice, librarians are able to pull the joys of library reading time into a digital format accommodating today’s busy lifestyle yet holding your child’s interest. If your child had the particular book at home, they could easily follow along or if they are just listening they can picture the images in their minds.

 Reading lines are not the only place on the telephone where you can find words being used that maybe interesting for kids. In big cities like New York and Chicago there is a daily quote line. Once called a prerecorded quote is recited on the telephone (usually positive) for listening. High school students in these areas are sometimes required to call the lines daily for listening and dictating skills as homework.  There is the time and temperature number found in almost every city that can be called to listen or to write down and keep track of the current conditions.

 There is no wonder why reading lines are successful. Found across the country, they cross language barriers as well. In the Los Angeles area, you can hear a story in Italian, English, Spanish, German Chinese, Japanese, and French with just a touch of a keypad. Libraries in the area also have stories on their websites and some even have RealPlayer for the kids to listen too.

 Encouraging reading can be done by example. Giving kids a taste of what lies on the pages of the written words will no doubt encourage them to find out more about the library and of course books.

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Submitted by: Copyright © Jodi Jill   Jodi Jill is a retired literary agent. After 12 years of promoting authors, she has turned her focus to promoting literacy in America with the Quit Whining and Read! Literacy Program.  Tell Jodi how much you agree or disagree.

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