The EarPhone Project is awesome! Simply put, it is a dial-in audio telephone line comprised of adult professional volunteers lending their voices to record stories from the DC Public Library’s reading list. Students dial in and access titles ranging from varying genres of titles allowing them to listen independently or with their families. They are further encouraged to visit their local libraries to check out the books from their selected audio recording.
The EarPhone Project is available to 70k students in the District. It promotes volunteerism in the community, activism towards literacy, independence in reading and encourages family recreation.
Without audio stimuli, listening skills become under-developed, impacting both language and, ultimately, literacy. Listening to spoken word improves a child’s grammar through vocabulary and elocution, both of which underpin literacy. Audio recordings allow children the opportunity to create images in their mind’s eye. By stimulating a student’s ability to imagine, their ability for lateral thinking is also greatly enhanced.
These recordings allow children to hear adults read books on their reading list, articulate words and convey their own imagination towards the story. Children are then encouraged to visit their local library to check these books out. Each child is expected to read independently or be joined by a family member to enjoy the books they have selected.
I've been asked numerous times how I came up with this idea, and my third-grade school teacher has explained it. Many years ago, on career day, I decided I wanted an EarPhone Project. Only then, as a child, I elected to have an ice cream truck and a loudspeaker to drive around the community reading stories. Assuming a third grader could drive AND read simultaneously illustrated illustrated the same creativity it took to create the EarPhone Project.
Funded by Washington, DC (October 2012)