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(Originally published on April 29, 2016 and updated May 1, 2020)  

Teachers do so much to help students learn and make a positive difference in their lives. Their caring presence has reassured students and their families that learning can continue in the midst of a pandemic, even as so much else is changing. Often teachers never know what kind of influence they have had on their students. 

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8, 2020) we have curated some podcasts featuring teachers making a difference and students thanking teachers for all they have done. Enjoy listening to these stories and know that teachers’ dedication does not go unnoticed!

Kobe’s Teacher

Kobe Bryant’s high school English teacher had a profound influence on the basketball star; in fact, he even called her his “muse.” Listen to hear about the positive and lasting impact this teacher made on Kobe and how her voicemail inspired him before big games.  

A Gift for a Teacher

NPR’s “All Things Considered” host Audie Cornish remembers her high school history teacher as tough and caring. Listen to a conversation between the host and the teacher who pushed her to do her best. 

Teacher of the Year Teaches Inmates

Rodney Robinson works in a juvenile jail with students of many ages and skill levels, and he is dedicated to helping his students learn and succeed. Listen to hear how this National Teacher of the Year supports his students’ learning.

Love Poems from Kids

Poetry can strengthen bonds between teachers and students by helping them get to know each other better. Listen to hear poetic responses from students around the country to the Valentine’s Day prompt from teachers, “Love is…”

A Guidance Counselor’s Lessons

In high school, it’s nice to know that someone is on your side. Listen to hear NPR reporter Guy Raz reminisce with his former high school guidance counselor and thank him for always being in his corner. 

Reflecting with a Teacher

In this story, a student and her former 3rd grade teacher discuss how they remembered and admired each other. Later, the student became a victim of the February 10, 2015 shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Listen to the original conversation and follow-up comments from the teacher.

A Teacher Who Paid Attention

A former high school English teacher sits down with a former student who never graduated. Listen to their conversation to hear about the challenges both teacher and student faced, and how the student felt his teacher’s support even as he struggled with school.

Spring 2020

Our collection of more than 2000 expertly told stories touch upon a wide variety of topics and themes. There is undoubtedly something for everyone. Here are some staff favorites, with some thoughts about how they have affected us.  

Squirrels Are Listening

I like this one because it tells a small story and a big story at the same time. I appreciate that it makes good use of sound in telling a fascinating tale about what’s happening in the natural world right under our noses and prompts us to pay close attention to our surroundings. It makes me wonder what else we might learn about connections and communication among living things. I like that it emphasizes the power of positive messages, even for wild animals. 

– Marielle, Director of Curriculum

Moon Landing Anniversary

I love this story because it involves history, the moon, and forgotten figures. It starts with recordings of Neil Armstrong’s famous words from the moon (which never fail to give me goosebumps) and instantly captures my imagination about space travel and their awe-inspiring trip to the moon. We all know the names Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, but Michael Collins was also part of the crew, though he didn’t walk on the moon. Collins’ story reminds me that there are always people behind the scenes during history’s greatest moments who are vital to an event’s success but fade from our collective memory. They all need to be remembered!

– Erica, Customer Success Manager

How  Video Games Become Addictive

Are you playing Pokemon, Overcooked, or Animal Crossing? What makes a video game so fun and  addictive? This is a super fun and engaging story about how video games are designed using behavioral science to ensure that you will want to keep playing. The storyteller, Stacey Vanek Smith, walks the listener through the idea that anything could become addicting…including toast. Listening to this story is fun and very relevant for me, as it ties to my new addiction to playing the game “Overcooked” with a lot of the elements of the “Toast” game described. 

– Chelsea, Senior Marketing Manager

Supreme Court Women

Too little is understood about the daily challenges of being a woman on the Supreme Court. I love this story because it provides primary source accounts from female justices about what daily life entails and the difficult personal and professional choices that must be made in order to execute the job. I appreciate this piece, too, because it forces me to consider how vexing choices are still required for women in this profession despite greater opportunities.

– Adam, Director of Sales

Government Shutdown Sparks Cheesecake Business

I love this story because it showcases something unexpectedly wonderful that came out of a difficult and painful time. The birth of the Furlough Cheesecake reflects the captivating entrepreneurial spirit of two sisters and how truly serendipitous life can sometimes be. On a deeper level, it shares the powerful role that food plays in our families and culture, connecting people through history, ritual, and joy. What Nikki and Jaqi give to the world is not just cheesecake, but slices of human connection and resilience. And who doesn’t love listening to the banter between two sisters? 

– Ashley, Partnership Development and Marketing Associate 

Hearing from a Fake News Creator

The “fake news” term  gets thrown around a lot these days. We hear it so much in relation to people’s opinions about what’s true, that sometimes the serious underlying business of creating fake news is overlooked. This story offers a great inside view of why some people deliberately create fake news to make money. It’s a real eye-opener, sure  to generate meaningful discussion about the need for digital literacy.  

– Karen, Chief Operating Officer

Connecting Through Art at the Border

This story brings me right to El Paso, Texas where people are communicating  across the border through criss-crossing searchlights. It’s an amazing story about the power of art to help people connect. I liked hearing the excitement in the voices of participants, young and old, as they made contact, and I was moved by the ways people found to support and celebrate each other. Upbeat and uplifting!

– Vicki, Curriculum Developer

“Ugly Dogs” Follow the Iditarod Race

I love this story because it combines two of my favorite things in the world–dogs and sports–and also gives the listener an inside look at an iconic sporting event they might not ever think about otherwise. Listening to Blair, the team’s musher, describe all of the training and logistics that go into preparing for the race makes me really appreciate their level of commitment, while also evoking a sense of wonder about this incredible event happening thousands of miles away. I also think the story of how Blair’s fans became known as “Ugly Dogs” is a great example of embracing negative feedback and putting a positive spin on it. 

– Matt, Account Manager

The Dust Bowl and the Great Depression

This was one––  of the first stories I put on the Listenwise platform in 2014.  It’s an incredibly evocative story with great sound and excellent writing with vivid images. It has archival recordings of  people who lived through the Great Depression, and their voices and accents are from another era. But there’s also a clear, informative explanation of why the Great Depression happened. To me, it exemplifies how excellent audio can captivate students and bring them back in history to a place and time and teach them something they won’t soon forget. 

– Monica, Chief Executive Officer

We hope that something in this list piqued your interest. We would love to hear about your favorite stories and why they appeal to you.

In times of stress, there is nothing like a good story to engage the mind and nourish the soul. Our collection of audio stories covers thousands of topics, from prehistoric penguins to pollution, from homelessness to high tech, from sneaker culture to star gazing, and much more. 

Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite stories from our current events collection. The topics are on the lighter side, intended to entertain, educate, and uplift. 

Each audio story is 2-5 minutes long and is accompanied by comprehension and discussion questions, and sometimes a quiz. These stories will transport students to a different place, and remind them that curiosity, creativity, and fun continue to thrive in these uncertain times. Enjoy!

Lighthearted & Fun

How far can you throw a hotdog? Using the Scientific Method to Win a Hotdog Toss tells the tale of a team of college students who investigated that question. Listen to scientists who study rocks, mushrooms, and bugs discuss the kinds of emojis they dream about in How New Emojis Are Created. Sneakerheads may enjoy Sneaker Culture on Display, about a marketplace for buying and selling all kinds of kicks. To learn about peacocks terrorizing a Florida neighborhood, tune in to Ninja Peacock Takeover.

Moving & Heart-Warming

The bond between animal and human is on dramatic display in the amazing story, Whale Saves Woman from Shark. Two women reconnect 50 years after a near-fatal accident at summer camp in Struck By Lightning and Reconnecting. In Love Poems from Kids, students around the country penned responses to the prompt, “Love is…”, which is a fun idea for any class. A Gift for a Teacher features a conversation between a reporter and a teacher who inspired her and reminds us of the transformative power of teaching.

All About Animals 

Learn how a goose and a horse became besties in Unlikely Animal Friends. Why are puppies so cute? It’s all about the eyes and evolution, as Puppy Dog Eyes explains. Remembering Africa’s Favorite Elephant pays tribute to a Kenyan elephant famous for his long tusks and love for the camera. Tricky Spiders Avoid Predators features clever spiders pretending to be ants – even raising their front legs to look like antennae! Listen to Research on Primate Sharing to learn about sharing behavior in chimps, bonobos, and other primates and how it compares to humans.  

Strange Science

Listen to the whooshing and crackling sounds of plants as they grow in The Secret Language of Plants. Discover a recorded word that sounds completely different to some ears than others in Yanny or Laurel? What Do You Hear? An ancient wad of chewing gum unlocks clues to a woman’s life during the Stone Age in Ancient Chewing Gum Holds DNA Clues. Listen to Remembering C.C. the Cloned Cat to hear a tribute to the world’s first cloned cat, to learn how this pioneering feline came to be.

If you have other favorite fun Listenwise stories, please share them in the comments. We always appreciate hearing which stories teachers and students like best.

Remote learning is new to a lot of teachers, and it can seem overwhelming to learn many new platforms at once. Here is an easy way to start using Listenwise remotely with your students.

1)  Find a great podcast – lesson or current event
It may seem especially challenging to engage students in learning remotely. We recommend starting by choosing a story for its fun factor or its relevance to students’ interests. You can search the Listenwise library by topic or browse recent current events. For example, stories like Ninja Peacock Takeover or Remembering C.C. the Cloned Cat will appeal to many students. You can filter by topics, subjects, grade levels, or listening levels. If you are planning thematic lessons, you may want to explore our popular Collections

2)  Share the audio to Google Classroom (or another site).
The simplest way to invite students to listen to the story is to click on “Share Audio” and share the link to Google Classroom. You can also copy the link and send it via email or post it on a class website. You can discuss the story with students in Zoom or share a simple writing prompt using one of the discussion questions provided (or one that you create). This allows you to skip class setup in the Listenwise platform and get right to listening. Here’s how you share audio from a story.

3) Assign an auto-scored quiz.
If you want to go one step further, you can assign an auto-scored quiz. It can be assigned with or without the interactive transcript to support students’ listening comprehension. Upon completing a quiz, students immediately see their quiz results and teachers can view and analyze results from their dashboards. In order to assign a quiz, you will need to set up your classes. Importing rosters from Google Classroom is the easiest way. Just go to your “Classes” tab to see the options. 

If you are new to Listenwise and want to see how we integrate with Google Classroom, check out our Educator’s Guide to Using Listenwise with Google Classroom.

For more information about using Listenwise for remote learning, check out these blog posts:  

This blog was originally published on March 13, 2020 and has been updated on June 29, 2020 to reflect our updated free trial and hybrid learning resources.

At Listenwise, we watched how the outbreak of the coronavirus caused many schools to close temporarily and rely on remote and hybrid learning for the rest of this 2020 school year. As a result we opened up access to Listenwise Premium.

Now that schools are ending for 2020 we have gone back to our regular 30-day free trial of Listenwise Premium.

If you are a single teacher or parent seeking access to Listenwise Premium for remote or hybrid learning, you can join free for access to Listenwise PREMIUM for 30 days.

As you are planning for the upcoming school year in Fall 2020 be sure to check out our resources:

If you are interested in chatting with us about flexible plans for your flexible needs, schedule a call with us here.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can do to support you and your students while your school is closed. We wish you all good health!


Monica Brady-Myerov

Founder and CEO, Listenwise

Monica@Listenwise.com

About Listenwise:

Listenwise is an online platform that supports remote learning with easy-to-use lessons and quizzes. Listenwise offers a curated collection of more than 2000 lessons featuring brief nonfiction audio stories for students in grades 2-12. Lessons address current events and popular curriculum topics in English language arts, social studies, and science. Listenwise sources podcasts from public radio and other producers of high quality educational audio content.

Listenwise lessons help students develop listening comprehension and other core literacy skills and build academic vocabulary and background knowledge in a wide range of domains. They offer opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking about important topics and make connections between the curriculum and the world outside of school. 


Remote learning is now a reality for millions of students. When they are physically isolated, social connections are more important than ever. Listenwise can help by providing interesting, relevant audio stories, which can seed engaging student exchanges that foster critical and creative thinking and offer opportunities to practice academic talk at a distance, including among English language learners.

In addition to setting up classes on the Listenwise platform and exploring ways to teach remotely with Listenwise, teachers can coordinate assignments using Listenwise in conjunction with other apps to make learning interactive, even at a distance. For example, students can respond to discussion questions accompanying any of the  2000+ Listenwise podcasts (or alternate questions generated by teachers or students) using a variety of digital tools that facilitate communication and collaboration. 

Teachers may select any of the following digital media to support student communication about Listenwise stories, or they may decide to use several of them in sequence to deepen learning about a topic and guide students through the writing process along the way. As with any academic conversations, guidelines for participation should be established in advance, including norms such as treating others respectfully and expectations such as using sentence stems that support academic talk

Students can respond to discussion questions through a variety of media, depending on teaching goals and comfort levels with various digital tools and platforms:

1) Engage in face-to-face discussions with Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, or other video chat apps. These real-time discussions work best with established guidelines or protocols. For example, you might ask students to jot down their own thoughts first, then take turns sharing ideas, either in small groups or as a whole class. Seeing each other’s faces can help students feel connected to each other, and discussing meaningful issues can help them feel connected to the world beyond their homes.

2) Participate in online discussion forums in Google Classroom, Schoology, or another learning management system. Online text-based discussion forums offer opportunities for broad inclusion in conversations, as students can take the time they need to respond. As with real-time discussions, clear expectations for participation are important. Many students who are anxious about speaking in front of others feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts without time constraints or social pressure.

Another advantage of threaded discussions is that participants can respond to each other in divergent conversation threads, making it easier to follow a chain of replies. For example, they might discuss lessons learned from the connection between two men with the same name, debate whether police should have access to genetic data, or share strategies for persevering in the face of challenges.
Check out these tips for facilitating online discussions in Google classroom, which allows assignment posts to take the form of threaded discussions that open up once students reply to the original prompt.

3) Record and share responses via FlipGrid, VoiceThread, EdmodoPadlet or other social media apps. It is important when doing this to honor student privacy policies, which can usually be achieved by operating within a “walled garden” that requires students to log into online spaces shared only by other classmates and teachers. Students can record themselves responding to discussion prompts using audio or video recording apps on computers, smartphones, or other mobile devices and then share those responses with classmates. 

For example, students might discuss what it means to be represented in literature, or what they would address in a campaign speech. Hearing each other’s voices and seeing each other’s faces can help to bridge the distance among students working remotely, even if they are not meeting in real time. When students record their responses via digital media, other students and teachers can play the recordings at their own pace repeatedly, and the recordings can serve as artifacts of learning to be revisited and responded to over time. Learn about one teacher’s experiences using FlipGrid with Listenwise to promote inquiry among her students.

4) Write essays or reports in Google Docs or another digital writing tool. Listenwise discussion questions can also serve as writing prompts. Some questions ask students to analyze key ideas within an audio story more deeply, while others invite students to make connections between stories and their own views and experiences. Listenwise debate stories can be helpful in teaching written argument

Some stories introduce students to topics that they can research further using additional reliable sources and then report their findings in writing or create their own podcasts or multimedia presentations. Extended written responses can also be shared for peer feedback using Google Docs reviewing features, published on student blogs with invitations for comment, or contributed to a collaborative wiki. Some stories introduce students to topics that they can research further using additional reliable sources and then report their findings in writing or create their own podcasts or multimedia presentations. Extended written responses can also be shared for peer feedback using Google Docs reviewing features, published on student blogs with invitations for comment, or contributed to a collaborative wiki.

For instance, students could co-author a wiki (e.g., using Google Docs or Google Sites) about the causes and effects of climate change or perspectives on immigration, using different Listenwise stories to spark specific lines of  inquiry. 

If you have engaged students in online communication about Listenwise, please share tips, successes, or challenges in the comments. Exchanging ideas through digital communication media can be helpful for teachers, too! 

We are excited to now feature Lexile audio measures on every podcast in Listenwise Premium! This is a major advance in helping educators connect students to audio content at a level of complexity that is appropriate for their listening comprehension skills.

Sign up for our free webinar this week: “Leveraging the Power of the New Lexile Audio Measures” co-presented with Metametrics to learn about how these measures can be used to deepen literacy instruction. The webinar will take place Wednesday, March 25th at 2 pm PST/ 5 pm EST.

What Lexile Audio Measures Mean for Literacy

Listening is an important part of literacy – both in the school years and beyond. However, until now, there has not been a standard system for measuring the complexity of audio content. For years teachers have asked for more information about how easy or difficult a Listenwise story would be for their students. This new Lexile audio measure provides a valid and reliable research-based approach to leveling listening comprehension.

How do educators use Lexile audio measures in Listenwise?

Lexile measures enable teachers to find stories at the right level of complexity for their students, so that they will be challenged without being frustrated. The measures are categorized as low, medium, or high to help teachers with story selection when they do not know students’ Lexile listening levels. 

Sign up for Listenwise Premium to explore all the Lexile-leveled podcasts! Due to school closures, we will be offering Listenwise Premium free for the rest of the school year to support remote learning during this challenging time. 

If I already know a student’s Lexile reading measure, can I use that to choose podcasts for my students? 

The Lexile audio measure is distinct from the Lexile text measure. Educators familiar with the Lexile Framework for Reading will discover that students’ listening levels might be higher or lower than their reading levels. To help teachers identify appropriate Listenwise content for their classes, we have provided guidance about ranges of Lexile audio measures for grade level instruction. However, in the absence of listening measure data, the Lexile reading measure can be used as a starting point to estimate listening levels. 

How do I find Listenwise podcasts by Lexile audio measure?

Every podcast is labeled with a Lexile audio measure. You can filter your search to find podcasts within a certain range, or you can search by topic and scan the results to see which ones have audio measures that fit your class.

Do you provide grade level ranges for Lexile audio measures?

We provide recommendations for use of Listenwise content by Lexile ranges. In general, elementary educators may want to start with low level stories (Lexile levels 340-1250L), middle grade educators with medium level stories (1251L -1555L), and high school educators with high level stories (1556L-2000L). Appropriate Lexile audio levels will vary by student – the key is to challenge students without frustrating them. 

We also provide recommended ranges by grade level for teachers using Listenwise Premium. These recommendations are for instructional use and assume the use of Listenwise comprehension supports such as interactive transcripts, etc. Simply click on the Lexile audio measure to display the recommended Lexile audio ranges for each grade level. 

As always if you have issues or questions reach out to us at support@listenwise.com.

Our new elementary podcast lesson collection features carefully curated podcasts designed to engage and excite students in grades 2-5. These short audio stories on current events and relevant topics in ELA, social studies, and science can generate writing and discussion, build vocabulary, and introduce or extend topic knowledge. Some podcasts lend themselves to a 30-minute lesson; others take as little as 10 minutes of instructional time and can fit into the beginning or end of the school day. Read on for details about what kinds of podcast lessons you will find at Listenwise, ideas for integrating podcasts into classroom instruction, and how to search for the stories that are best suited for your curriculum and your students.

If you don’t have a Listenwise Premium subscription, a lot of the elementary lesson collection won’t be available. Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Premium to explore the full elementary podcast collection.

What is in the Elementary Podcast Lesson Collection?

The elementary collection includes standards-aligned elementary lessons, Weird News, and current events. Read about how we have taken our success formula and applied it to carefully selected podcasts for younger students.

Standards-aligned elementary lessons are 3-5 minute long podcasts on engaging topics in ELA, social studies, and science. Like secondary lessons, each elementary lesson includes instructional activities before, during, and after listening, along with listening organizers, comprehension and discussion questions, and related external materials. Each elementary lesson also includes an additional brief synopsis written specifically for elementary students and an auto-scored multiple-choice quiz assessing four key listening comprehension skills: recognizing literal meaning, understanding vocabulary in context, making inferences, and identifying the main idea. Lessons address popular topics such as hibernation and the Lewis and Clark expedition

Weird News stories are 30-second podcasts that are funny, unexpected, and engaging for kids. Each story synopsis features highlighted vocabulary words that are incorporated into comprehension and discussion questions. For example, stories such as Space Cookies and Beekeeper Police Unit offer intrigue, humor, and great opportunities to learn academic vocabulary in context. These short audio stories are especially well suited for quick vocabulary-building activities with a fun spin. 

Current events feature news stories grabbed from the headlines that are interesting and instructive for students. We publish an elementary-level current event every Wednesday, including listening comprehension and discussion questions as well as an auto-scored multiple-choice quiz. These stories work well for a brief weekly current events lesson, a learning station activity, or listening comprehension skills practice and assessment. Timely stories about a famous African elephant and a teen who discovered a planet, for example, are selected for high engagement value. 

New podcasts are added regularly to our growing elementary collection. Search the full collection here. To learn more about where we source our elementary podcasts, see Elementary Podcast Lesson Sources on Listenwise.

4 Ways to Use Elementary Podcasts

All elementary podcast lessons offer a variety of possibilities for classroom use. Podcasts can be played for the whole group while students follow a transcript projected on a screen and then discuss what they have heard. Students can listen to podcasts individually, take the auto-corrected quiz, and explore discussion questions in writing or in conversation with a partner. Using Google Classroom, teachers can assign podcast lessons for students to complete at their own pace over the course of a week. Alternatively, students can rotate among learning centers or stations, with a Listenwise podcast lesson as one of several activities. 

Here are a few more suggestions for incorporating Listenwise elementary podcasts into your classroom routine:

Morning Meeting:  When students gather to begin the school day, play a Weird News story such as Cat’s Great Escape (vocabulary: agenda, contained), Chance of Falling Iguanas (vocabulary: uncommon, tumble, advice, slumber), or Penny Pyramid (vocabulary: demolish, unconventional). The short, off-beat stories will grab and hold their attention. You can review the vocabulary words and replay the story, or just ask students to respond orally or in writing to the questions that incorporate the words. 

Before Dismissal: Play a Weird News story to help calm restlessness in the last 10 minutes of the day. Ask students to discuss the comprehension questions with a partner to ensure understanding, or use the discussion questions for group exchange before the bell.

Weekly Feature: Set aside a weekly time slot of about 20-30 minutes when students can listen to an engaging podcast while following along with the transcript projected on a screen. Some high-interest options include The History of Chocolate, Animal Superpowers, or Saving to Splurge on Something. After introducing students to the topic, ask them to use the listening organizers to focus their attention during the podcast. After listening, students can respond in writing to questions, discuss their ideas with a partner, or take the auto-corrected quiz. Results from the quiz will help you monitor students’ listening comprehension skills.

Long-Term Assignment: If you use Google Classroom, you can invite students to work on a podcast lesson at their own pace. You can assign the same or different stories to each student. Select which activities they should complete, such as filling in the listening organizer, taking the quiz, answering comprehension and discussion questions, reading the paired text, and more. For example, students can listen to Garbage in the Sea, answer the listening comprehension questions, and then read a complementary article about what they can do to prevent ocean pollution.

To learn how one 4th grade teacher used the Bird Mystery podcast to explore bird migration and teach vocabulary, see Teaching with Podcasts in the Elementary Classroom.

For ideas about how to use the elementary collection for remote learning, see Setting Up Listenwise Classes for Remote Learning.

How to Search for Elementary Podcast Lessons, Weird News, and Current Events

To find elementary lessons: 

  1. Go to your Teacher Dashboard. Click “Lessons.” In the drop-down menu, click “Search.”
  2. Select the filters you prefer. For “Grade Level,” be sure “Elementary” is checked and “Middle School” and “High School” are not checked. Under “Type,” be sure “Lessons” is checked and “Current Events” and “Collection” are not checked. 
  3. If you want to search for a specific topic, simply enter the topic into the search bar after making sure the filters are correctly checked.

To find Weird News:

  1. Go to your Teacher Dashboard. Click “Lessons.” In the drop-down menu, click “Search.”
  2. Enter “Weird News” in the search bar, and hit the “Return” key.

To find current events with quizzes: 

  1. Go to your Teacher Dashboard. Click “Lessons.” In the drop-down menu, click “Search.”
  2. Scroll down to “Type” and make sure “Current Event” is checked and “Lessons” and “Collections” are not checked.  
  3. Check “with Quiz” and click “Search.”

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt schooling, Listenwise supports educators in planning for remote learning during temporary school closures. If your school or district is closed for preventative health-related reasons, we are offering Listenwise Premium at no cost. Learn more about how to access Premium if your school is closed


Listenwise is an online platform that supports remote learning with easy-to-use lessons and quizzes. Listenwise offers a curated collection of more than 2000 lessons featuring brief nonfiction audio stories for students in grades 2-12. Lessons address current events and popular curriculum topics in English language arts, social studies, and science. Listenwise sources podcasts from public radio and other producers of high quality educational audio content. Listenwise lessons help students develop listening comprehension and other core literacy skills and build academic vocabulary and background knowledge in a wide range of domains. They offer opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking about important topics and make connections between the curriculum and the world outside of school. 


Here is a quick overview of how to use Listenwise in a remote learning environment: 

If you want to get started quickly sharing podcasts with students, you can learn how with this Quick Start Guide to Remote Learning with Listenwise. Links to audio stories can be shared via Google Classroom, email, or any digital communication media by clicking the “Share Audio” button and copying and pasting the link along with any questions you might want to ask. 

For guidance on optimizing the benefits of the Listenwise platform, follow the instructions below.

Set Up Classes

To use Listenwise for remote learning, you first need to set up your classes in the platform. Listenwise is integrated with Google Classroom, so it is easy to import rosters if your school uses Google. See the Teacher Guide for Google Classroom for more information. If you do not use Google, this brief video will guide you through creating classes.

Make Assignments 

All of Listenwise’s 2000+ instructional podcasts (current events and standards-aligned lessons) include online resources that can be assigned to students learning remotely.

  • Online multiple-choice auto-scored quizzes are available on many of our standards-aligned lessons and on every Wednesday current event. Find Wednesday current event quizzes here and quizzes on standards-aligned lessons by searching here
  • Written assignments can be assigned and completed entirely online. Each audio story is accompanied by a set of listening comprehension and discussion questions, which teachers can customize. Teachers can modify the questions and/or add their own, and they can respond to students with feedback within the Listenwise platform.
  • Links to audio stories can also be shared via Google Classroom, email, or any digital communication media by clicking the “Share Audio” button and copying and pasting the link along with any questions you might want to ask.

Track Results 

  • Quiz Reporting – Every quiz tracks students’ performance on key listening comprehension skills. To view quiz results, click “See Quiz Results” from the Classes tab. This quick video gives you an overview of the quiz reports available on Listenwise.
  • Assessing Written Assignments – Teachers can review student work and provide constructive feedback on written assignments. See this blog post for further guidance on using Listenwise for formative assessment. 

Support English Language Learners

You can scaffold Listenwise assignments by modifying supports for ELLs or struggling readers. Stories with the “Scaffolding” icon have additional supports you can assign online for ELLs. 

If you are looking for ways to use Listenwise for remote learning, you will find ideas here.

Questions or comments? Our team is on standby to support school and district leaders who are creating school closure plans. Email support@listenwise.com.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt schooling, Listenwise supports educators in planning for remote learning during temporary school closures. If your school or district is closed for preventative health-related reasons, we are offering Listenwise Premium at no cost. Learn more about how to access Premium if your school is closed


Listenwise is an online platform that supports remote learning with easy-to-use lessons and quizzes. The platform includes a curated collection of more than 2000 lessons featuring brief nonfiction audio stories for students in grades 2-12, sourced from public radio and other producers of high quality educational audio content. The platform is designed for flexible use and can help teachers address a variety of potential instructional goals. For information about setting up your Listenwise classes for remote learning, see this blog post


Once you have your classes set up and ready to go, consider these ideas for using Listenwise to support remote learning: 

1. Following News with Current Events (~15-20 min. learning time)

New current event stories are posted every school day and include listening comprehension and discussion questions that can be assigned online. Recent current events include War Powers Act and Iran, Connecting through Art at the Border, and Esports Explosion

Of course, the biggest news story of the day is the novel coronavirus itself. As the virus spreads, your role as educators puts you in a critical position to help kids understand what’s happening with fact-based, level-headed information. Here are some recent Listenwise stories about the outbreak: 

2. Practicing Listening with Auto-Scored Multiple Choice Quizzes
(1 quiz = ~15 min. learning time)

Auto-scored multiple choice quizzes can be assigned to students online, with or without the interactive transcript, to support students’ listening comprehension. Quizzes can be assigned to the whole class or to individual students. Upon completing a quiz, students immediately see their quiz results, including correct answers, and teachers can view and analyze results from their dashboards. Teachers can assign quizzes whether or not they have also assigned listening comprehension questions. 

3. Making Curriculum Connections with Standards-Aligned Lessons
(~30-45 min. learning time)

Standards-aligned lessons address popular curriculum topics in English language arts, social studies, and science. Listenwise sources podcasts from public radio and other producers of high quality educational audio content. Listenwise lessons help students develop listening comprehension and other core literacy skills and build academic vocabulary and background knowledge in a wide range of domains. They offer opportunities for students to engage in critical thinking about important topics and make connections between the curriculum and the world outside of school. 

Here are some ideas for structuring remote lessons: 

  • Find a lesson related to your curriculum and assign it. (See Setting Up Listenwise Classes for Remote Learning for instructions.) 
  • Ask students to listen to the audio story once (5-7 min) and use a selected listening organizer to focus notes while listening.
  • Ask students to listen to the story again and answer the listening comprehension questions online. (See Providing Feedback on Written Assignments for guidance on responding to students online.) 
  • Ask students to respond in writing to a discussion question OR a writing prompt about a paired text or other external resource provided in the lesson under the “Teacher’s Guide” tab. All Listenwise podcasts have accompanying discussion questions, and many standards-aligned lessons have a paired text with a writing prompt.

Extra Fun Activities

For additional activities, try our Media Literacy Scavenger Hunt (45 min learning time) or Weird News stories with a vocabulary focus (5-10 min learning time per story).  

Questions or comments? Our team is on standby to support school and district leaders who are creating school closure plans. Email support@listenwise.com.