The Children’s Book Review | September 14, 2019
Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 5
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
Podcasts Are Fantastic for Kids, Too!
One way to keep readers interested and boost various aspects of literacy is by listening to podcasts. Not only do they support listening skills and comprehension, they also help to increase vocabulary, facilitate making connections (an important reading strategy), help to build background knowledge, encourage critical thinking, and can often spark a wide variety of discussions and conversations.
Another added bonus is that listening to podcasts helps boost writing skills. Kids can stretch their writing stamina after finding inspiration through the words of a podcast. Podcasts can help expose you and your family to so many different and interesting topics as well as provide inspiration on how to tell your own stories, too.
Don’t know where to start? Here are a few podcasts we recommend!
“But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids” tackles some of the quirky questions that kids want answers to but often leave parents scratching their heads. This podcast answers so many interesting questions that we all end up learning something new! A great way to boost literacy skills through listening to podcasts is to simply pause occasionally, or wait until the end, and ask, “What was this mostly about?” or “What are some of the interesting facts you learned?” Listeners are encouraged to send in their very own questions. Who knows, theirs could be picked for an episode!
Another creative podcast is “What if World” which takes kids’ questions and spins them into engaging and imaginative stories! Some of our favorite episodes include “What if Fred got a disease that made everyone he touched travel back in time?” and “What if sabretooth tigers could be ninjas?” Listening to some of these episodes will surely lead to fun “What if?” conversations over dinner and during long car rides. Encouraging young children to think creatively and use their imagination is one of the greatest gifts we can give to them, plus it makes conversations pretty comical and interesting.
“Tumble: A Science Podcast for Kids” tells stories about scientific discoveries, with the help of real scientists who ask questions, share mysteries, and discuss what science is all about. Some episodes we’ve added to our library are: Young Ben Franklin, The Tale of the High School Astronomer, The Secret to Cheetah’s Super Speed, The Search for the Edge of the Solar System, and What Would Earth Be Like if Volcanoes Didn’t Exist? These episodes are short, engaging, fun and thought-provoking.
NPR’s “Wow in the World” is an excellent choice for curious kids fascinated by the wonderful world around them. The hosts, Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, do a stellar job of entertaining listeners while educating them about space, brain freeze, saliva, patience, bees, smells, fears, … the list goes on and on. Each podcast is between 24 and 30 minutes and they always elicit laughs with quirky facts that are backed up by research. Kids can participate by calling in with their own special “Wow in the World” facts to be featured in upcoming episodes.
If you are looking for even more podcast options, I recommend browsing “This American Life” episodes to see if any of the topics speak to you and your family. There are so many great stories that can help build empathy and teach kids about different walks of life.
Listening to all these podcasts might even inspire your kids to plan their very own “podcast”.
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. The Best Family Friendly Podcasts for Kids was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.