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Take Note of Podcasts

Last week, we introduced "40 Ways Students Can Create Digital Content." Those ideas were inspired partly by NCTE’s recent position statement calling for media education in ELA classrooms and for expanding the scope of reading and writing instruction beyond books and essays.

Below you can find a practical strategy for teaching literacy using an exciting digital format—podcasts!

How can I teach literacy using podcasts?

You can use a "mentor text" approach to help your students listen, think, and write in response to award-winning student podcasts. This activity provides authentic, high-interest models for students to respond to and be inspired by.

Copy the Google Doc.

Teacher Support

Consider this support for the activity.



Learning Objectives

  • Practice careful listening.
  • Understand different ways to structure podcasts.
  • Compare audio to text as a mode of storytelling.

Teaching Tips

  • To prepare for the activity, have the whole class listen to one episode, fill out a listening log, and answer some or all of the response questions.
  • Use students’ answers and observations as the starting point for a whole-class discussion about podcasts.
  • Make sure students understand that podcasts can take many different forms. A host might read from a written script, or two or more people might carry on a conversation, or an interviewer might ask questions of a special guest.
  • Ask your students how the podcast episodes create drama and interest. How does audio enable drama differently than a written story does?
  • As a class, create a Venn diagram that compares essays and podcasts.