When you want your students to hear a short story about a current event or a particular global issue, Listenwise is the place to go. NPR along with Listenwise produces high quality short audio stories about a variety of topics. Besides Social Studies and Current Events, Listenwise also has categories for Science and ELA. Since the stories are short (about 4 minutes) they are an excellent way to enhance or introduce a topic.

Many of the stories are very unique. For example, the story called Making Lunch in Japan is High Stakes is about how moms in Japan spend a great amount of time making creative bento boxes for their children. Although it seems like a simple story on the surface it can bring up important discussions about gender roles in Japan since many women quit working after they have children and therefore have more time to spend on work in the home.

Some of the stories can help to give students important background information about a topic. Afghanistan: Its Geography and Development discusses civil war in the country and the use of land mines.

As it states on Listenwise, listening can greatly improve literacy even for young children. Students can learn about complex topics in an effective way.


Teaching Tips

  • Use a story as a way to start class. It will get the class focused and interested in learning right away.
  • Have students find relevant news articles about one of the stories to see the situation from another perspective.
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