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How Podcasts Can Improve Literacy

Posted on 06/18/2018

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Studies such as that conducted by Emma Rodero External link opens in new window or tab, confirm that a story told through dialogue “stimulates listeners’ attention” more than a traditional narration, or as one learner put it, “Listening to the words puts the visualization in my head.”

If you’re considering whether or not you want to explore using podcasts as primary or supplementary texts, consider these benefits for learners:

Reading along with a podcast builds confidence and literacy.?

Podcasts allow learners to practice their listening comprehension of complex texts that are both conversational and formal, and the corresponding transcripts enable learners to confirm their success.

In addition, those learning English as a second language report that they like how they can read the words and promptly “hear how they’re supposed to sound.” Pronunciation and prosody—the patterns of stress and intonation used when people are speaking—aid in understanding, especially for English-language learners.

Podcasts present a broad array of narrative types and subject matter.

With podcasts, you can choose the content and form that fits your particular lesson, and the possibilities are endless: fictional stories, educational and inspirational TED talks, current events/world news, history, sports, pop culture/entertainment, and investigative journalism. Using an array of forms keeps your class fresh and engaging, and podcasts expose learners to a wide variety of methods of communication, including narration, casual dialogue, scripted dialogue, and interviews.

Featuring diverse subject matter keeps the class exciting and gives them access to a whole world of knowledge and wisdom. Podcasts can provide new subject matter that not only keeps you and your learners more engaged but also allows learners to experience exemplary communication outside traditional texts.

Reading along keeps easily-distracted learners focused.

Learners report that reading along with the audio helps with their focus and keeps them from “spacing out” while listening. Learners can look back and reread something they didn’t understand when they first heard it.

Podcasts are free, accessible, and always contemporary.

Total cost of using a podcast in your classroom: $0—which also happens to be the budget most teachers are given for classroom materials. Learners feel like they’re doing something special, new, and fresh, which is inherently exciting.

Source: eSchoolNews External link opens in new window or tab

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