Class Tech Tips: How To Strengthen Student Listening Skills with Podcasts

Class Tech Tips: How To Strengthen Student Listening Skills with Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to help strengthen student listening skills. Podcasts are audio (and sometimes video) recordings similar to a radio program or television episode. A wide range of organizations and individuals host podcasts and share their thinking around a topic through this medium. You can access podcasts through iTunes and the Podcast app on iOS devices or through web-based tools. Most individual podcasts have their own site where you can stream each episode directly from their webpage.

There are a wide range of podcasts to choose from and I share some of my favorite kid-friendly podcasts in this post. If you are teaching a specific subject area, like American History or Ocean Ecosystems, you can search for a related podcast to find a clip to share with your students. The search feature in iTunes lets you find episodes as well as podcasts that focus on a topic related to the keyword you enter.

Teachers can use podcasts to help students build listening skills. By listening to a narrator tell a story or an expert discuss a topic, podcasts can help students strengthen their ability to gather information through multimedia.

  1. Listening in partners gives students another person to share a story with. Just like students might sit and read side-by-side, children can listen to an audio podcast in pairs to gather information or experience a new story.
  2. Talking about topics helps students set a purpose for listening. In the same way you’d expect students to share their thinking about a text, students can respond to the information or story presented in a podcast.
  3. Teaching students to replay is a strategy similar to rereading. Students are using a wide range of media to learn new information. It’s important to help students understand how pressing rewind can boost their comprehension.
  4. Using podcasts at home is a great way to extend a learning activity. Pick a few kid-friendly podcasts or episodes to share with families in a class newsletter to help connect learning in the classroom to activities at home.

Do you have a favorite podcast or classroom activity? Share it in the comments below!

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Monica Burns is a fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom. Visit her website at for creative education technology tips and technology lesson plans aligned to the Common Core Standards.