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Podcasts To Pair with CSLP’s Summer Reading Theme

“Imagine Your Story” is the focus of this year’s Collaborative Summer Library Program. These podcasts for elementary, middle, and high school students will keep their imaginations active. 

tween in an armchair, at home, listening to a podcastTwelve to 14-year-olds are the fastest growing segment of podcast listeners, driving new paid subscription services—think Netflix for kids’ audio—such as Pinna and Spotify Kids. But the majority of children’s content can be listened to with free apps, Kids Listen or Leela.

As podcast content and platforms evolve, librarians continue to listen, learn, and recommend  podcast resources to families. This work matters perhaps more than ever now, as Covid-19 and misinformation spreads.

Some podcasters are leading with facts and helpful explanations for how to talk about the virus and stay safe. Two great examples include “Coronavirus for Kids, and the Science of Soap,” a recent episode of But Why, and "Understanding Coronavirus and How Germs Spread,” from science podcast Brains On! Children’s podcasters, such as Kids Listen, a grassroots organization promoting high-quality audio, are also offering families ways to help keep kids learning and entertained during the pandemic with a podcast playlist and an upcoming daily listening podcast and activity.

In the midst of this, summer reading may not feel like a top priority—but the school break will be here before we know it. How can educators help keep kids engaged from afar? This podcast playlists for elementary, middle, and high school listeners can help. Each list is pegged to this year’s Collaborative Summer Library Program reading theme, Imagine Your Story.

These podcasts are free and easy to listen to from any device via popular apps such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher or from a website like the podcast search engine Listen Notes. You can link these playlists to your library’s summer reading web page or create your own using Listen Notes, which lets you build and share playlists with its Listen Later feature.

Elementary school: The full playlist contains 20 shows and approximately six hours of listening, in genres spanning history, literature, music, science, and more. Episodes include “Summer at Imagination Inn” (Buttons & Figs), “Africa for Kids: Living Next to the Namib Desert” (Go with Nugget for Kids), and “Aru Shah and the End of Time” (Book Power for Kids).

Middle school: This selection ranges from myths, legends, and adventure to time travel, reading, and writing. The full playlist features 20 episodes—“Bigfoot, Unicorns and Dragons: Making Sense of Myths” (Brains On!), “Fortnite of Many Earths” (This Week in the Multiverse), and more—for roughly six hours of listening.

High school: This collection of episodes covers a wide array of fiction and nonfiction that stretches the Imagine Your Story theme. Some podcasts may include a mix of young adult and adult recommendations, but all episodes are appropriate for high schoolers. The full playlist contains 13 episodes ranging from fantasy to horror and technology, for about seven hours of listening.

Spread the word: ways to keep kids listening
● Reach out to your public library to cross-post summer listening lists online.

● Set up a virtual space where students can email or chat to get new podcast recommendations from one another and the library through your classroom management tool or other classroom applications.

● Encourage kids to interact with podcasters and authors by submitting drawings, questions, or stories.

● Schedule a live video lecture through Google Hangouts or Zoom or prerecord a lecture in which you introduce different podcasts to your students.

● Have students make a video and share a podcast review as a virtual assignment.

● Crowdsource what families are listening to while they’re spending more time at home, compile a list in Listen Notes, and share it via your classroom management tool or email.

How podcasts fuel imagination and encourage storytelling
Here are some ways podcasters are engaging with kids in the real world and igniting their imaginations.

● Hosts create fantasy stories based on kids’ imaginative musings. Listener Winnie, for example, contacted the podcast What If World to ask, “What if Mr. Eric told a “What If” story backwards?” which challenged writer Eric O’Keefe to create the forward-flowing yet backward-unfolding fantasy episode “What If Clocks Were Bananas and Monkeys Ate Time?” Listener Jonah contacted the podcast Story Pirates because his principal ate real worms for a good cause, which inspired Lee Overtree and his writing team to create a not-so-real sketch-comedy piece titled “My Principal Ate a Worm.”

● Hosts are influenced by questions tackling real-world issues, such as when an adoptive family of five wrote to Rhea Pechter, host and creator of Little Stories for Tiny People, looking for a way to talk about belonging and adoption. That resulted in the honest, heartfelt episode, “A Hamster Named Bobo: An Adoption Story for Kids.” When concerns arose around the ghoulish internet meme Momo, listeners wrote to Unspookable producer Nate DuFort asking for ways to better understand online information. In response, he created in the episode, “Momo and Media Literacy.”

● Historical events and age-old mysteries inspire podcast episodes, such as when the host of The Past & The Curious, Mick Sullivan, received an email from a listener who wanted to know where the idea for going over Niagara Falls in a barrel originated. This question led to an episode about Annie Edson Taylor's successful stunt, as well as a hands-on activity kids can try. Historical events also inspire fictional podcast worlds. In the fantasy podcast Timestorm, the Ventura twins travel to another dimension, but their adventures are shaped by the real history and culture of Puerto Rico. Book Club for Kids podcast host Kitty Felde breathes new life into the mystery of the Demon Cat—a feline ghost that haunts Capitol Hill—in her book, Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza, and the companion audio drama, The Fina Mendoza Mysteries.

● Creators literally get kids moving and exploring with projects like Audioplay, an app that encourages kids to hide, build, run, or otherwise act out scenes while wearing their headphones.

Youth technology integration consultant Anne Bensfield helps libraries and schools implement new models for innovation. Librarian and Buttons & Figs podcast creator Pamela Rogers inspires creative expression from elementary school kids by reading, writing, and playing with words.

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Indiana Campo

Good morning,
Thank you for sharing this important information for our summer reading,. I am a preschool teacher and would like to have any reading appropriate for my little ones. Take care!

Posted : Apr 22, 2020 02:31


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