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Education Trends, Sponsors & Supporters   |   Aug 24, 2016

Using authentic audio resources from Listenwise to bring non-fiction to life

By Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Using authentic audio resources from Listenwise to bring non-fiction to life

By Angela Watson

Listening comprehension is essential in building strong literacy skills, but it can be difficult and time-consuming for teachers to find engaging and relevant non-fiction stories for students.

Listenwise is a fantastic solution. It’s a website/subscription service that uses real world podcasts, public radio stories, and other authentic listening materials to help you create standards-aligned lessons in a wide variety of subjects (including social studies, ELA, science, and current events.)

Using authentic audio resources from Listenwise to bring non-fiction to life

With Listenwise’s rich collection of authentic audio and primary sourcesyou can create custom online assignments that are differentiated for your students.


Example Audio Resources

Middle schoolers who have read “The Hunger Games” book will love this audio discussion about how political ideas and systems from the novel link to the real world. As a bonus, kids who have never read the book might be enticed to do so.


This audio lesson on calorie counting could double as a science experiment, making it the perfect pre-lab lesson to build student background knowledge.


Listenwise also has daily current events based on carefully-curated NPR stories which are perfect for middle and high school students. The current events lessons can also help younger kids gain a better understanding of the news they see on TV.


Features of the free version of Listenwise

I really like that you can try out Listenwise at no cost to see how it works.

There are tons of great features with the free version that make it easy for students to listen (and for you as to manage):

  • Student listening links– a function that allows students to listen to the audio lessons on their own devices
  • Language Challenge Levels– a categorization next to each lesson title, showing a low, medium, or high language challenge level to gauge the complexity of the vocabulary, sentence structure and language in the audio story
  • Share to Google Classroom –assign lessons directly through Google Classroom
  • Daily current events– new stories added every day

Premium features

If you sign up for a paid subscription, you also get:

  • Interactive transcripts –written transcripts that progress with the audio, which are great for improving comprehension, re-listening, and helping students cite evidence
  • Slowed-down audio –students can play at a slightly lower speed, a great accommodation to help with processing
  • Flexible settings –you can assign a story to students or allow students to select the story themselves
  • Individual student accounts –register your students so they may have their own accounts and can complete/submit assignments online
  • Specialized ELL instruction– close listening materials with language help designed for English Language Learners
  • A vast library of supplementary teaching resources –comprehension questions, writing prompts, graphic organizers, lesson plans and more are all at your disposal

Listenwise doesn’t just provide listening materials, but also offers resources on teaching strategies and help getting started with using the material as well:


Want to learn more about Listenwise? Click here to sign up for a free account and explore the resources available.

Disclosure: Listenwise has compensated me via Syndicate Ads for sharing this post, but I do not get paid referral commissions for sign-ups. All opinions are my own, and I only share resources that I would use myself and recommend for others.


Angela Watson

Founder and Writer

Angela created the first version of this site in 2003, when she was a classroom teacher herself. With 11 years of teaching experience and more than a decade of experience as an instructional coach, Angela oversees and contributes regularly to...
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