States recently released standardized test scores, and teachers and administrators all across the nation are looking for ways to improve their scores. One particular area of assessment that can be quite difficult for educators to incorporate into everyday instruction is listening. Listening is an essential skill that many of our students need to work on; however, in today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven world, listening attentively to audio files can be quite challenging for today’s youth.
For this reason, I include Listenwise.com in my curriculum. Listenwise is an edtech site for educators that combines audio news stories, primarily from National Public Radio, with content-rich and academically-focused discussion questions. I began using Listenwise last year with many of my teaching units, and my students’ test scores improved!
Here are four different ways you can have your students analyze audio content on the Listenwise platform.
1. Analyze for the main idea
Being able to understand the main idea of a text is a stepping stone to the essential skill of summarizing. A simple way to analyze a story from Listenwise is to have students identify, explain, and summarize the main idea. What is the main idea and how does the author support it?
2. Analyze for rhetorical appeals and strategies
Readers often focus on what the text says, but it is just as important to focus on why a text is effective and how the author is able to communicate an argument or message effectively. To analyze the story for rhetorical appeals and strategies, have students listen for and identify examples of ethos, pathos, and logos. Also, have students identify various rhetorical strategies such as alliteration, assonance, and consonance. What was the author’s most effective appeal or strategy?
3. Analyze for author’s purpose
Understanding the context of a text is another way I have students analyze content from Listenwise. Knowing the “why” behind a news story, political speech, or national address helps build contextual knowledge and awareness, and it paves the way for students to gain a rich understanding of the author’s purpose. Why did the author write this piece? What prompted the author to write this piece?
4. Analyze for cause and effect
Students need to be able to listen to a text and understand the subtle relationships between events. Being able to identify the main event of a story and understand the resulting events that are directly related is an important skill. How are the events in the story related? Because this one event happened, what else occurred?
There are many ways to incorporate Listenwise into your curriculum, and you might be surprised with just how many stories and topics the site offers.