There are still ways to have listening stations in a social distancing classroom or virtually learning from home. It just looks different. Digital listening stations might not be at the top of your priorities, but think about what your kiddos are going through. If they’re anything like my students, they LOVE the listening station. And if you think about the goal of hearing a story read aloud to a child, it’s to immerse them in as much text as you can, with as much vocabulary possible. Your kiddos are going to be pretty stressed with new safety guidelines or Zoom calls, so digital listening stations would be an ideal way to provide reading practice and yet give your students a much needed break from instruction.
Copyright and Digital Listening Stations
First, we’re talking about removing cds, shared headphones and books. (I truly believe we’ll be able to break them out again, but in the meantime, keep them in your cabinets.) In the classroom, students will need their devices and their own headphones. If they’re learning from home, they’re hopefully set up with devices.
Let’s also have a word about copyright. I truly believe that an author deserves all the credit or royalties possible, so be very cautious about choosing a book that you don’t have permission to share online. During this pandemic, a lot of authors have specified an exception where teachers can read books on video if it is for their students use only. Just be aware of copyright as you choose books. If you’re curious, you can google the author’s name and “copyright”. A good rule of thumb is to think about it as a read-aloud that you would normally do. If you’re using it for another purpose, then it’s probably a no-no.
Also, a value of a listening station is seeing the pictures and words along with hearing the text. So choose books with engaging pictures for your digital listening stations because you may not be able to see the words.
Creating Your Digital Listening Stations
YouTube! Did you know that you can find almost any picture book read aloud on YouTube? Again, check that copyright… you’ll find some legit sites like (Storytime) or you can often find books read by the authors themselves.
Then, using a program such as Safeshare, you can remove ads and unwanted popups. If you’re teaching virtually, copy the Safeshare link and add it to your assignment. If you’re in the classroom, use a QR code that the kiddos can scan!
If you want to learn how to do these steps, download my free guide to Creating a Digital Classroom! I teach you how to do this step by step, along with other helpful tips for virtual learning.
If you would prefer to read the story aloud to your kiddos, then using a screencasting program will give you a link that you can send to your students. You can read Screencasting 101 here.
Also, don’t forget the platform “Edpuzzle” where you can take a video and have it automatically pause for student interactions. It’s pretty cool. You can learn how to use it here.
But This Takes A Long Time, Rachael
Yes, it does. But just the first couple times that you’re learning the steps. After that, it becomes muscle memory and you can do it while you’re binge-watching Netflix. And the beauty is that once you do one story, you’ll have it ready to go forever.
Is There An Easier Way?
There sure is! If you’re a fan of Fairy Tales and Aesop’s Fables, I have digital listening stations available at literacystations.com that you can purchase and add directly to your Seesaw or Google Classrooms. Each also contains activities such as sequencing or reading comprehension that matches the story. Buy them here to save yourself some time and energy!
As always, leave a comment if there’s a question you have or you’re looking for a solution to a problem. Good luck making your digital listening stations. Hang in there, my friends!