Podcasts and literacy

Podcast consumption has increased steadily in recent years. Most podcasts are free and can be accessed on smartphones, laptops and smart speakers through free apps such as Spotify, or iTunes and dedicated apps like BBC Sounds, Podbean and Audible.

Research shows that podcasts can be used to support children’s learning, giving them greater access to a whole world of topics.

Our research report on podcasts and literacy found that:

  • More children and young people who listen to podcasts enjoy reading than their peers who do not listen to podcasts
  • More children and young people who listen to podcasts read daily than their peers who do not listen to podcasts
  • 1 in 5 children and young people say they listen to podcasts
  • Nearly 1 in 4 children and young people listened to podcasts or audiobooks more during lockdown than they did before

Podcasts can also open up a range of different topics for children and young people and help reluctant or struggling readers with their learning. They give them access to discussions and information around topics which they may not have been able to comprehend as well in print.

Podcasts can also be great for families to listen to together at home where parents may not be confident readers.

Resources

We have published a series of resources for parents and schools to help explore the world of podcasts.

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    Podcasts resource for teachers

    Top tips to help teachers make the most of podcasts to support children’s literacy in the classroom.
    Download now
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    Podcasts resource for parents

    Top tips to help families share and enjoy podcasts at home to support children’s literacy and learning.
    Download now
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    Podcast survey

    Take part in our latest survey to find out more about your students' interest in and behaviours around podcasts.
    Take part

Programmes

We’ve been working with partners including Audible and Fun Kids to include podcast and audio elements in many of our projects.

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    New Chapters

    Working in partnership with Audible and National Prison Radio, we deliver podcast making training sessions to young people in HMYOI Feltham.
    Learn more
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    In conversation with...

    For our 25th anniversary, we interviewed Dermot O’Leary, Patrice Lawrence, Greg James and Chris Smith for a series of podcasts for families about books, reading and writing.
    Learn more
  • Fun Kids

    Story Explorers - coming soon!

    This winter, we are launching a new podcast series for 7 to 11-year-olds with the Audio Content Fund, Pixiu Productions and Fun Kids. Watch this space for discussions between children's authors and pupils about the stories they love.
    Explore Fun Kids' podcasts

Research

Explore our research on children and young's peoples engagement with podcasts and audiobooks.

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    Podcasts and literacy

    Read our latest research report exploring children and young people's engagement with podcasts and how this links to literacy.
    Learn more
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    Audiobooks before and during lockdown

    This report explores children and young people's engagement with audiobooks in 2020, both before and during lockdown.
    Learn more
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    Audiobooks and literacy review

    This literature review provides an overview of research exploring the role of audiobooks in supporting children’s literacy both at home and in the classroom.
    Learn more