Audible Inc., the world’s largest seller and producer of digital spoken-word entertainment, announced that it will give 15,000 Newark high school students and teachers one year of Audible membership, including 12 credits to download and own any of the 375,000+ titles in Audible’s unparalleled library of digital audiobooks and other educational programming. To make use of their free Audible memberships, each Newark student and teacher will receive a free Amazon Fire 7-inch 8GB tablet with Alexa and headphones.

Rolling out today with a distribution event at Technology High School in Newark, the Audible “Project Listen Up” initiative will provide all participants with an enhanced Audible membership experience that includes a free bundle of 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 ten 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.”

“As we mark 20 years since we launched and 10 years since we moved to Newark, we want to say thank you to our adopted hometown and its citizens by giving each high school student and teacher in Newark – including both district and charter high schools – access to Audible, including more than 150 free titles selected by Newark educators and Audible editors,” Katz added.

“A critical focus of our teachers is generating excitement about learning, and bringing people into books,” said Christopher D. Cerf, Superintendent of Newark Public Schools. “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.”

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

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.

All other participating students and teachers will receive their Audible annual memberships, access to their free bundle of 150+ “recommended reading” titles, Fire tables, and headphones at a series of distribution events in Newark beginning in January 2018.

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.