Podcasts have opened a universe of listening pleasure for students of all ages. All that’s needed is a smart phone and podcast app to connect to thousands of entertaining and educational audio programs. Here are some options.
Short & Curly
A lively, engaging podcast for children and parents that asks thought- provoking questions (“curly” questions) about school, animals, pop culture, technology and more. Although produced in Australia, the ethical questions raised transcend cultural boundaries. Example: Is it okay to use technology to help you sing better? Should we stop giving birthday presents?
Children who love stories will be captivated by this podcast. Every week, Storynory narrates a story, including classic fairy tales, poems, myths, adventures and romance. A few popular episodes include readings of the Japanese tale, “The Old Woman Who Lost Her Dumpling,” and “Wicked Uncle and the April Fool Mystery.” Storynory has remarkably published an audio story every week since November 2005.
Welcome to Night Vale
A twice-monthly fictional podcast set in the creepy town of Night Vale, where conspiracy theories are true. The stories are told via community announcements and delve into everything from dark-hooded figures with unknowable powers to announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police. No need to start from the beginning. You’ll catch on quickly after hearing the latest episode. The popularity of this show has led to novels and live shows that tour the country.
Stuff You Missed in History Class
The title is self-explanatory. This podcast features historical events and figures that may have been overlooked in history class. Recent episodes delved into Hawaiian history, including an episode on King Kamehameha and another on Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last of Hawai‘i’s monarchs.
But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids
A podcast for children to ask whatever questions are on their minds, without worrying about whether they will be taken seriously. Inquiring kids record questions on a smartphone and email their recordings for consideration. The show’s producers from Vermont Public Radio hunt down answers. Here’s a sampling of questions: Why am I afraid of the dark? Why do we sometimes see the moon during the day? What is it like to be an adult?
This American Life
More than 2.5 million people download each episode of this highly acclaimed radio program. Most episodes are journalistic in nature, but rooted in compelling storytelling with humor, surprising plot twists and engaging commentary. If you’re not already a subscriber of “This American Life,” it’s an ideal podcast for the whole family to get hooked on together. One must-download episode: “Act V,” about inmates at a high-security prison as they rehearsed and staged a production of the last act of “Hamlet.”
A culture and advice podcast produced entirely by those on the cusp of adulthood. Hosts Nyge Turner and Merk Nguyen, both in their early 20s, have had a slew of interesting guests, including Harvard Law School’s first deaf-blind graduate. In another noteworthy episode, internet personality and actor Demetrius Harmon talks about why communities of color struggle to discuss depression.
This podcast dives into the world of college admissions, chronicling a diverse group of New York–area high school seniors through the milestone process of applying to college. The podcast – hosted by Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of “How to Raise an Adult” – includes advice from a panel of experts, including former admission officials from top colleges and high school guidance counselors. It aims to make students (and parents) not feel so alone in the process.