Research tells us that better listeners are better readers. We’ve put together this list of 10 Great Podcasts for Kids to highlight some excellent podcasts that provide active listening practice.
Why Listen to Podcasts?
- Reading is a function of two key components: decoding and language comprehension. Listening is a key part of language comprehension.
- In the Science of Reading, the awareness of sounds that make up spoken words is critical. Listening to stories and articles helps students hear grammar and syntax and understand how stories work.
- Incidental exposure to vocabulary through listening together helps students learn the meaning of unknown words.
- Podcasts are practical – you can listen to them anywhere! Great for home learning, hybrid learning, in the classroom, in the car – anywhere!
In no particular order, here are our list of 10 Great Podcasts for Kids!
1. The Aotearoa History Show
The Aotearoa History Show is the story of New Zealand and its people from its geological origins to modern day. Now in its second series, these podcasts are also available in video form. These podcasts break down key moments in history in an easy to understand format. See more here.
2. That’s Incredible – Stories to Share With Kids
That’s Incredible is a podcast for parents and kids that’s packed with incredible facts and amazing stories about the world around us. This podcast explores topics like the human body, animals, sport, music, science, technology and space. See more here.
3. Imagine This
Imagine This is a science podcast for ‘the young and curious’. This podcast explores a range of fascinating science questions sent in from curious kids! We recommend checking out Imagine This: How does the sun light up the world? and Imagine This: Why did the dinosaurs die? See more here.
4. Moments of Um
The Moment of Um podcast is a history show for the whole family! Every episode explores the origin of just one thing — like sandwiches, video games, clocks and more! We recommend the episode on How does pencil lead stick to paper? See more here.
5. News 2 Me
The News 2 Me podcast is run by Radio New Zealand. It’s a great little five minute podcast featuring lots of interesting newsworthy topics. Topics include Sugar, the Metaverse, War, Puberty, Fake News, and more! See more here.
6. Two Whats?! and a Wow!
Two Whats?! And A Wow! is an interactive, science-based game show from the creators of the #1 kids & family podcast, Wow in the World. Each podcast is around seven minutes in length and explores science in a very engaging way. Topics include: Water Jellyfish Made Of?, Tree’s Company, Body Building, and Gene Machine. See more here.
7. Buttons & Figs
Buttons & Figs introduces kids to great nonsense literature, poetry, and songs as a way to give them permission to play with words. Each podcast episode or activity features some form of wordplay inspired by a great book, song, or poem. See more here.
8. Animal Sound Safari
The Animal Sound Safari podcast explores ‘the weird and wacky histories we humans have with animals’. Topics include: Buzzing Bee BFFs, The Luckiest Cat in the World, Can a Crocodile Be a Part of Your Family? and How Do Vultures Help the Dead? See more here.
9. NanoGirls Science Adventures
This wonderful podcast from Dr. Michelle Dickinson and RNZ is a science podcast from kids. Each episode answers children’s burning questions and explores interesting science concepts. Topics include Why do Bees Buzz?, How do Planes Fly?, Can Fish Talk? and What’s the Smartest Animal? See more here.
10. David Walliams’ Marvellous Musical Podcast
This podcast helps students to explore the marvellous word of classical music! Mozart, Beethoven, and Schumann are just some of the musical geniuses explored in these podcast episodes. See more here.
Our Active Listening Podcast Resources
The first task card asks students to take notes and summarise as they listen. This involves sketch-noting, finding key ideas and writing a one-two sentence summary.
We have provided a working model of this skill that can be taught and modelled to students.
The second task card has six comprehension questions for students to answer while, or after, listening. These questions are designed to correspond to the content in the podcast and reinforce the main messages of the podcast.
The questions cover many aspects of comprehension including summarising, making connections, questioning, evaluating and visualising, as well as some vocabulary activities and creative tasks.
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