Technology for Educators

Best literacy podcasts for teachers: level up your literacy instruction

By David Standen

21 Nov 2022

Teacher listening to literacy podcasts in the classroom

Literacy podcasts are a great place to learn about the latest theories and strategies educators can use to support literacy learning. But which ones should you listen to? And where can you find them?

Below, you’ll find some of the best literacy education podcasts around. However, in case you’re not yet a podcast convert, let’s first look at why podcasts can be a great resource for teachers.

Why are podcasts a great resource for educators?

There are three major reasons for teachers to listen to literacy podcasts.

1. You can learn from others in the field

Podcasts are a great way for teachers and educational experts to share their experiences. By listening to interviews and discussions with other teachers, you get the chance to learn helpful tips, tricks and techniques from other people in your field.

As the list below shows, another bonus is the sheer range of podcasts available. This means you can discover lots of new perspectives and ideas you can use to inform your practice.

2. Podcasts are convenient and flexible

Traditionally, to learn about new literacy teaching methods, you might go on a course, attend a conference or read a book. All of these are fairly demanding in different ways, especially for those with an already busy schedule. But podcasts are different.

Being audio only, you can listen to podcasts while you walk the dog, travel to and from work, make dinner for the family, work out at the gym, or even enjoy a relaxing bath.

Whatever your situation, it’s easy to fit listening to podcasts into your lifestyle.

3. They're free!

Most podcasts, including those in the list below, are available for free. All you need is an internet connection and some way of downloading and playing them. This means you can benefit from hundreds of hours of insightful content without paying a penny.

Ready to give podcasts a go yet? If so, check out the list of literacy podcasts for teachers below.

The best literacy podcasts to listen to as a teacher

There are plenty of literacy podcasts available. And if you’re interested in a specific area of literacy education, there may well be a specialist podcast for you, so it’s worth looking online.

The list below offers some helpful suggestions if you’re not sure where to start. Simply click on the links provided or search for the podcasts in your chosen app to listen.

1. All About Literacy

All About Literacy is presented by Dr Deb Van Duinen and Dr Erica Hamilton, who interview an expert from the world of literacy education each week. Currently on its second season, All About Literacy focuses on adolescent literacy, making it a great listen for secondary school teachers.

2. Beyond Words

Created by the World Literacy Summit, the first season of Beyond Words presents a series of discussions with experts and influential figures from the world of literacy and education.

In each episode, presenter Caroline Burkie of the World Literacy Foundation talks to a special guest about the latest news, trends and challenges in the field of literacy education.

3. For the Love of Literacy

Hosted by former teacher and children’s author Katie Storey, For the Love of Literacy is a podcast all about – and inspired by – a passion for reading. Aimed at educators and parents, Katie uses the show to discuss literacy with experts and encourages listeners to share their love of reading.

4. The Full English

In The Full English podcast, host and former teacher Pam McLoughlin invites guests from the world of education to discuss issues affecting English teachers in the UK. So far, these have included diversity in literature, pedagogy, engaging readers and writers, and mental health and wellbeing.

A quick warning, though: if you’re searching for this podcast online, make sure to look for the version created by the Pearson English team, not the podcast of the same name about breakfast!

5. Leaders of Literacy

Leaders of Literacy is a podcast produced by Marshall University in West Virginia, designed to help teachers strengthen early literacy by providing insights on new research and resources.

Each episode presents a discussion or interview focused on a different topic, always centred around four pillars of school readiness, attendance, extended learning and high-quality instruction.

6. Leading Literacy

Co-hosted by Leslie Zoroya and Mara Shinn Smith of the Los Angeles County Office of Education, Leading Literacy presents a series of conversations with a variety of special guests.

Seeking to inspire and educate, Zoroya and Smith speak to authors, educators and literacy experts about their experiences with literacy and the issues that affect their educational practices.

7. The Literacy Advocate

Hosted by children’s author Timmy Bauer and literacy educator Shalonda Archibald, The Literacy Advocate always starts out with the same question: “What’s a commonly held belief in literacy education you passionately disagree with?” With this as a jumping off point, each episode features a conversation with a guest from the literacy world that tackles a key educational issue.

8. Melissa and Lori Love Literacy

Melissa Loftus and Lori Sappington are literacy educators from Baltimore. Drawing on their own classroom experience and discussions with expert guests, each week they look at new ways of thinking about reading and writing, all in the aptly named podcast Melissa and Lori Love Literacy.

With over a hundred episodes already available, there’s plenty to get stuck into.

9. PALS Talk Literacy Podcast

Based in Edmonton, Canada, PALS is short for the Project Adult Literacy Society, a group that promotes lifelong learning and provides access to learning opportunities for adults.

In the PALS Talks Literacy podcast, team members interview learners, volunteers and experts about adult literacy to share information on the importance of innovative educational strategies.

Although this podcast is focused on adult literacy, many of the themes and strategies they discuss are relevant for literacy learning in schools as well.

10. Teach Me, Teacher

Made by teachers for teachers, the Teach Me, Teacher podcast is based on the principle that educators can learn most from the classroom experience of other people in their field.

While this one isn’t exclusively focused on literacy, there are plenty of episodes that are. And they’ve helpfully compiled a list of the top ten episodes about literacy to make them easy to find.

11. The Teacher’s Tool Kit for Literacy

Presented by literacy expert Sharon Callen, The Teacher’s Tool Kit for Literacy is an Australian podcast focused on giving teachers tips, tricks and tools to inspire learners.

Covering topics ranging from how to group students, to the value of independent reading, this podcast features a series of expert guests offering practical advice that can be applied in the classroom.

Do you have an idea for a literacy podcast?

Can you see an angle on literacy and education not covered in the podcasts listed above?

If so, why not give podcasting a try yourself? All you need to get started is a concept, a microphone, some editing software (which can be downloaded for free) and a platform.

Most of the podcasts above are from the USA, so there’s room for more perspectives on literacy education from the UK and elsewhere in the world. And the more insights educators can share with one another, the more they can help learners to develop vital literacy skills.

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