A survey by the National Literacy Trust has found that listening to podcasts can help children discover an interest in a range of topics and encourage them to engage in further reading.

Listening during lockdown

  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23.7%) children and young people said they listened to podcasts or audiobooks more during lockdown than they did before.
  • Reasons given by children and young people for this increase included the extra time they had in their days, the ability of podcasts to assist relaxation and the draw of key role models as podcast creators.

Links with reading for pleasure

More children and young people who listen to podcasts enjoy reading (47.8% vs 40.8%) and read daily (30.4% vs 27.0%) than their peers who do not listen to podcasts.

Emily Best, Research Manager at the National Literacy Trust and co-author of the report is quoted below:

As a charity, we’ve long known that audio can provide new opportunities to engage children and young people with literacy – and our latest exploration into podcasts builds on this. We were excited to discover that podcasts not only support children’s reading engagement but that their rise in popularity during lockdown could present new opportunities for the classroom and distance learning, particularly in terms of getting pupils interested in different topics, encouraging further reading around subjects and nurturing a love of storytelling.

There are any number of podcasts that are accessible to children. During lockdown I found that my children particularly enjoyed “Homeschool History” in which Greg Jenner from Horribly Histories looked at a wide variety of historical stories in a light-hearted and very informative way. The BBC has a whole host of podcasts for children that can be accessed very easily and this would be a great starting point for most people.

The beauty of a podcast is that you can listen to it when you want and it does not involve having to stare at a screen. This is a winning combination in my book and anything that encourages children to read more widely can only be a good thing!

Jerry Gear 27.10.20