Blogs About Reading

Aiming for Access

June Behrmann

June Behrmann is a longtime special education teacher (pre-K to grade 6) who retired for about two seconds, and is now prospecting for accessible instructional resources. Follow June on Twitter @aimnoncat. Thank you to AIM-VA: Accessible Instructional Materials for sharing this blog with us.

Free "Summer of Listening" Podcasts Help Build Background Knowledge and Comprehension

June 20, 2016

Thanks Listen Current! Great stories await learners in grades 5-12 this summer and this listening comprehension program is free.

Get on board at Summer of Listening, an audio approach to learning about the real world. The program of podcasts stands to improve listening comprehension, and build a fund of general knowledge. The listening and action materials give young people experience learning via audio broadcasts that were originally crafted by news professionals. 

Listen like a pro 

Listen Current, an educational radio platform, is offering a collection of news stories over the 2016 summer break that are considered to be most interesting, relevant, and thought provoking. Most align with state and national standards across content areas. A few stories depart from subject matter that is normally taught during the school year.  

Teachers can create free accounts. Existing accounts will move to Listen Current's "premium" features until August 8. Create an account or sign in and check out this program's many features:

  • Interactive transcripts
  • Listening guides
  • Vocabulary activities 

Sample the collection

Audio learning 

Delivering content as speech — electronic or human — can reduce the "cognitive load" of trying to read text or braille. Learning in this way allows the learner to focus on comprehension of the information. Students who struggle to read traditional books in print have learned that audio learning is a valuable way to keep up. In fact, experienced audio learners may choose this format to access specific subject matter such as English literature, math, science or other technical content.

Audio learners usually combine this format with others, including "PDF: Accessible" and "PDF: Fully Accessible" in order to support comprehension and get their work done. Audio is one of the free formats for textbooks and trade books that are available to eligible students wtih disabilities under federal education law. Learn more about Audio-Supported Reading from the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials.  


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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass