Teachers using Listenwise with their students have observed that Listenwise helps them engage students in learning and cultivate student agency. Many also note that Listenwise broadens accessibility to curriculum content and allows them to differentiate instruction to support all learners, including English learners and those who struggle with literacy. We have collected some of their reflections below.

Fostering Student Engagement & Agency

Teachers find that students enjoy listening to Listenwise stories, thinking deeply about them, and discussing them. They appreciate how Listenwise stories engage students in meaningful learning and connections, especially with the extra challenges posed by remote instruction. Some are inviting students to direct their own learning by browsing the collection to find stories that interest them.

“My students have come to learn how the world impacts them and how they can influence the world around them. They have also learned to look at problems, topics or ideas with more in-depth understanding. They are now more capable of examining viewpoints that are in opposition to their own in order to foster better communication with a wider variety of people.”

“Listenwise has helped us keep connected by discussing current topics, which is fun and engaging to do virtually.”

“It is great to share real stories with students that engage them enough to want to dig deeper to learn more.”

“My students really like Listenwise. I get a higher percentage of participation with Listenwise than I do any other independent work assignment. The students have so many distractions during these distance learning times. Having to focus on a listening activity really helps keep my students focused.”

“Students can become absorbed in Listenwise stories immediately because their listening skills outpace their reading skills by at least a few years. In this pandemic era of fear and stress, Listenwise offers an opportunity for student agency in choosing reports that interest them. As a teacher, I can monitor their progress quickly and easily. Listenwise also offers a place for meaningful, robust partner or small group work with kids who are in the classroom and those learning remotely. I am so grateful to have this wonderful tool and I talk it up whenever I meet new educators.”

“My students look forward to Listenwise activities. From the very first selection, it has been a highlight of their ELA program this school year.”

“Listenwise is a great tool for variety and student engagement. Students especially enjoy the current event topics.”

Broadening Accessibility

Teachers appreciate how Listenwise broadens access to curriculum content, through slowed audio, interactive transcripts, and other platform supports and instructional scaffolding, allowing all students to participate equitably in meaningful shared learning experiences. Since listening and reading comprehension are related, students who are at greater risk for learning loss can benefit from listening to engaging audio stories. 

“It has truly supported my intervention class. These students struggle with reading comprehension and writing. They are not the students who read recreationally, but I have now witnessed first hand that when I select current events podcasts, they are eager to engage and complete the podcast and the corresponding questions.”

“I’m a SpEd teacher and I love the easy-to-use audio file and transcript—it has built-in accommodations for all students!”

“Listenwise has been extremely beneficial for my struggling students who can access grade-level content stories although they are reading below grade level.”

“Listenwise is a great tool for students who aren’t the strongest readers, but it also allows all types of students to access content in a new way. Listenwise makes it easy for students to go back and replay. Students being able to hear from people interviewed all over the world is also a great experience for them!”

“As a speech and language pathologist at the middle school level, being thrown into the world of remote learning last spring was a challenge. I’m fairly tech savvy but I found it incredibly challenging to create engaging lessons for my students that addressed their language goals and objectives. When I found Listenwise and first started my free trial, I was sold! The vault of audio interviews and news clips that can be found on Listenwise is expansive. Each lesson can target any number of language objectives (vocabulary, comprehension, active listening strategies, expression, critical thinking and reasoning) while providing wonderful natural supports such as slowing the rate of speech, highlighting text, previewing vocabulary, etc. My students loved it, as did I, so we have continued with Listenwise as we’ve moved into our hybrid learning model.”

Supporting English Learners 

Teachers are grateful that Listenwise offers high-quality instructional materials with supports for English learners, such as slowed audio, interactive transcripts, and dictionary tools. They note that this is especially useful during remote learning when opportunities for ELs to hear academic language in an authentic context and practice speaking are more limited.

“Listenwise is a great tool to spark academic conversations for our EL students, while also introducing them to rich vocabulary and interesting current events.”

“My students are ELL, and Listenwise helps guide them in their learning especially in the remote setting where I am not sitting next to them for every lesson.”

“I use Listenwise to help with my LTEL students’ listening and speaking skills. I know they are listening to advanced, rigorous English in a structured setting. I like that they can stop the recording or slow it down when they are answering comprehension questions.”

“I love that my EL students can choose their own Listenwise story with a quiz. This helps them work on their focused listening skills, especially in a remote learning setting when there are fewer opportunities to practice listening/speaking academic English.”

“Listenwise has been one of the best applications purchased for my ELLs. It has greatly improved their test scores on WIDA, in addition to keeping them up- to-date on relevant information in the news and interesting topics!”

“English Language Learners require lessons that use all four language domains: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. When we shut down in March, I struggled to find accessible material that would help students build their skills until I discovered Listenwise….My students were able to increase access to current events and build prior knowledge of history and science topics for other courses. The graphic organizers utilized in the program are exemplary forms for comprehension; they are straight-forward while being used over and over so students internalize the strategy, not simple exposure or one-and-done.”

You may also be interested in educators’ ideas about teaching with Listenwise, including how they make their curriculum relevant, implement lessons with flexibility, and incorporate formative assessment practices. For additional ideas from teachers for using Listenwise in the classroom, check out our teacher support center. If you would like to share an idea or reflection of your own, please do so in the comments.