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Fletcher 4th Graders Combine Reading & Podcasting

A group of Fletcher Elementary School fourth graders gathered around a microphone in the school’s library to create a podcast using Reader’s Theater scripts with Library Media Specialist, Carrie Lyon, and music teacher, Frank Valente. The teachers are using the podcast idea with fourth graders more engaged and excited about reading.

“Mr. Valente and I were brainstorming ways to get kids more engaged while addressing some of the issues that seem to plague a lot of students this year,” said Ms. Lyons. “We thought that podcasts would get kids reading, also exploring new ways to learn and obtain information, and present opportunities to engage with technologies that are relatively new to them and would help them to learn digital citizenship.”

Ms. Lyon is using Reader's Theater scripts to help students practice their fluency and reading flow. She introduced the idea of podcasts, which most of the students did not know about. She played a few different podcasts that talk about facts about animal habitats, wellness for kids like yoga moves and a spy one for kids. The group then analyzed what they liked/disliked about the podcast. They also learned what sounds they could create to add more realism to their podcast readings.

Mr. Valente, who owns the microphones that the students record with, will also teach the students how to use the free software to put in sounds and adjust the background noises to make a finished product.

“It is so important to use technology with students,” said Ms. Lyon. “It's relevant, it's engaging, it's a great way to teach digital citizenship and it often provides a way to include all students by offering modifications to help them.  For example, the kids who are too shy to perform in a play often feel free to use silly voices and express themselves more when using the podcast format. Also, if someone has difficulty reading, he or she can record their lines individually, so I can help them, to be melded into the podcast seamlessly, making them feel successful and part of the larger group.”

Ms. Lyon also wants to remind parents about the importance of online safety. 

“Kids have been handed devices that are basically the world at their fingertips without a lot of instruction on proper use. Online safety and ways to use the internet/technology to better learn new information is so important to teach. One easy way that parents can help their kids to be safe online is by visiting https://www.kidsfirstcommunity.com/online-tools-teach-child-internet-safety/. We need everyone’s help to keep our kids safe online.”