Audible donating tablets and more to Newark students, teachers

Thousands of Newark’s high school students and teachers are getting new tablets and free membership to an online business with audio books and other educational programming.

Audible Inc. is giving out about 15,000 memberships that will include 12 credits to download and own any of the more than 375,000 titles in the company’s library.

The students and teachers will also receive a free Amazon Fire 7-inch 8GB tablet with Alexa and headphones.

The giveaway started Wednesday at Technology High School.

“Project Listen Up” also will provide all participants with an enhanced Audible membership that includes a free bundle of more than 150 “recommended reading” titles identified by Newark educators and Audible experts.

Students and teachers will keep the content, tablets and headphones even after their free membership ends.

“Audible is a better company and a better place to work because of our decision to move to Newark 10 years ago and include so many Newark high school and college students and Newark-born and educated people as our paid interns and employees,” said Audible founder and CEO Don Katz. “As our interns who get free access to Audible memberships already know, students, parents and teachers consistently tell us how powerfully listening to Audible has made a difference — whether it engenders a lasting love of stories, builds active vocabulary, helps with academics or simply allows people to fit more books into their lives.” launched 20 years ago.

“A critical focus of our teachers is generating excitement about learning, and bringing people into books,” said Newark Schools Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf. “Audible opens up a world of adventure, a world of excitement, a world of learning. And, as an increasing number of students prefer digitally delivered media, access to Audible facilitates a range of learning choices.”

All other participating students and teachers will receive their Audible annual memberships, access to their free bundle of 150-plus “recommended reading” titles, Fire tables and headphones at a series of distribution events in Newark beginning in January.

“Audible is mobile for me and increases the flexibility of my time,” said Ama Hagan, a senior at the North Star Academy charter school in Newark. “You can multitask and, when you’re listening, you get deeper into the book because you hear the narrator as the different characters. Audible enhances my understanding of literature assignments and I’m able to even get more evidence and write better essays than in previous years.”

Among the scientifically verified benefits of the power of listening to literature for developing readers are:

  • Audiobooks teach critical listening, increase vocabulary and build foundational skills for listening, speaking and writing.
  • Learning to listen at a high level is a predictor of learning to read at a high level.
  • Listening has been shown to improve students’ enjoyment of and interest in literature.
  • Listening significantly helps struggling readers to better understand text, helping them learn more effectively and lifting their reading comprehension.

“We want our students to get into the habit of reading spontaneously and independently on their own time,” said Michael Mann, who heads North Star Academy. “Beyond enriching and reinforcing their learning, we believe Audible can spur an immediate increase in students’ ability to read for pleasure, in more interesting ways and to a greater extent.”

Audible experts will be available throughout the distribution process to provide “white glove” support to all students and teachers in activating their memberships and accessing their free content, and to make recommendations.

“We would like to thank our publishing partners who helped put together this program for Newark students,” Katz said.