Podcasts for Literacy Learning

Podcasts can be a great medium to enhance literacy learning. A podcast is a popular audio medium that is often found online for free. Podcasts can be a useful tool for reluctant or struggling readers to access a greater breadth of topics or information. In addition to opening the door to more subjects and content, podcasts can help support literacy learning by easing the pressure of decoding text. By doing so, learners can more easily understand the content while working on their literacy skills. This is particularly useful for learners with dyslexia or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Listening to a text being read, or dramatized as in a radio play, can help learners understand ambiguous sentences or unfamiliar vocabulary by listening to the performers’ stress, pitch or tempo. Listening to audio also allows for practicing active listening skills and improving focus.

“Having students regularly listen to audiobooks with sustained focus can also help build phonemic and phonological awareness, or awareness of the sounds in their language.” – Shiori Zinnen

Podcasts can also encourage greater exploration of a subject. By using multiple media, tutors can encourage their learners to explore a topic with written documents, audio formats like podcasts or audiobooks, as well as also video formats. Using a range of media can help promote a love for storytelling.

The National Literacy Trust (UK) reports four recent findings regarding podcasts:

  • More children and young people who listen to podcasts enjoy reading than their peers who do not listen to podcasts.
  • More children and young people who listen to podcasts read daily than their peers who do not listen to podcasts.
  • 1 in 5 children and young people say they listen to podcasts.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 children and young people listened to podcasts or audiobooks more during lockdown than they did before.

This data encourages embracing podcasts to help build a love for reading. How will you use podcasts in your teaching? Check out the resources below to learn more about teaching with podcasts.

Note to readers: There are also many podcasts about literacy! Check out this list for just a few highly rated literacy podcasts: Literacy Podcasts Worth Listening To


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