Let Audio Make Your Teaching Life Easier

Aimee Dolan
Right about now, you may be looking for a low-maintenance way to boost engagement among your students, who may be as ready to wrap up the year as you are. The perfect solution: audio. This differentiation tool can be a powerful way to provide an "assisted-read." One teacher recently shared: "I play the audio so students hear more than just MY voice with a story...and then I walk around to check in with them as they read along with the text." Here are a few simple ideas to try, and a sneak peek at our snazzy in-house recording studio modeled by our super-cool editor Tash. 



And this is Tyrus Cukavac, who sometimes helps us with his voice-over talents.


Consider 3 different approaches to audio:

For whole group: Play the audio first, before you read as a whole group. Allowing your students to listen to the story, article, or poem prior to the first read gives them a chance to hear new vocabulary and determine its meaning within the story without focusing mental energy on sounding out unfamilar words.

For small group: Play the audio as a second-read, in small group. As students listen to the story and follow along with the text, they can deepen their comprehension and draw on prior knowledge without even realizing it. With this audio-supported small group approach, students will be ready to tackle the close-reading and critical thinking questions provided in our Teacher's Guide.

For independent work: For those who struggle to complete the lower level activities after several days of reading the text (in whole-class or small-group centers), we suggest they listen to the audio independently as a third read, and then work through our resources to assess understanding.


Try this bonus audio idea for an extra fun activity, perfect for this time of year: Record your students reading a Storyworks passage via iPad or iPhone. Let them listen back and re-record if necessary, allowing them to make their best recordings. This makes for some fun and important fluency practice that will help boost confidence in reading aloud and grow their reading stamina.

One last thought: If you don't have time to use our audio with every issue, try using it as a reading reward when your students are reading back issues independently.

Let us know what unique ways you use Storyworks audio in your classroom!

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