Daily 5 Series: Listen to Reading

  1. Read to Self
  2. Read with Someone
  3. Word Work
  4. Listen to Reading
  5. Read with a Teacher/Teacher Time
Listening to Reading was one of the more challenging choices for me to get underway. I actually worked with my Daily 4 of Read to Self, Read with Someone, Teacher Time, and Word Work for quite a while before I took the plunge into this center.

What held me back the most was a shortage of resources (or so I thought) and the management fears I had (What if a riot broke out because they couldn't all listen at the same time? lol!). Both proved to be unfounded, like most of my fears, but it did require quite a bit of tweaking to get it working just right.

I never considered it, but after reading The Daily 5, I began understanding the power of listening as a way to get better at reading. I also thought outside of struggling readers and began to contemplate the power that listening to reading would have on my grade level and above grade level kids.
Prior to starting Daily 5 this year, I did not have a Listening Center in my room. In fact, besides our class computers, there was no technology available to me to even throw together a Listening Center on the fly. Here are some things I went about doing to gather resources for Listen to Reading:
  • Our school's PTO was looking to fund some grade-level technology ideas, so I wrote a proposal to get some iPods into our classrooms (with LOTS of splitters!) 
    Audio splitters=cash-strapped teacher's best friends! {{love}}
  • Our school library has a subscription to TumbleBooks accessible from our classroom computers
  • Free read aloud websites (see below), mostly picture books, but for a 25 minute rotation, that works out nicely
Some free Listen to Reading websites we use are:
My biggest organizational challenge is making sure kids have the books (or written form somehow) of what they are listening to. This is easy when words are on the computer screen, but for iPod books, I have a separate book bin in our classroom library with our available LtR books. I searched through used book stores and thrift stores so that I was not pulling the books from our library- I wanted to have as much access to these texts as possible.

I remind students that LtR isn't just about listening, but about matching the words they hear to the text on the page (or screen). This has proved to be very beneficial for my higher-level readers who can now hear and read challenging vocabulary that they may have skipped over before.

Our Anchor Chart of Expectations:
I cannot even remember how many times we reviewed and practiced proper iPod procedures! I still reinforce that about as much as stamina because my little darlings can sometimes be very absent-minded and I do come across a stray iPod on the floor from time to time.... well, actually just twice all year, but still :) Clean-up is another big procedure we practice and we have a bit of a checklist going that was student-created after some frustrating choice times:
  • Make sure the iPod is off completely
  • If there is less than half battery left (good fractions practice!), tell the teacher so it can get charged before the next day
  • Wind the cords around the headphones neatly
  • Place all items back inside of the bag and the bag back in the bin (more on D5 centers in a later post)

We chose "Respect" as the character asset to work on for this choice because it tied in well with Rule #3- we have to not only respect the equipment, but because there are less iPods than children, we need to be respectful and let others share, decide what book to read in a fair way, etc.

I will say that I have been highly impressed with this center, more than any other, for building unlikely partnerships- I spoke about these forming in Read with Someone, but I am convinced that nothing brings kids together better than using technology!

I have a post coming up about DonorsChoose.org and if you are looking for a way to make Listen to Reading more feasible in your classroom, I highly recommend submitting a proposal for an iPod or two. Seeing how involved kids get with their book and the fun they have with the texts (especially Shel Silverstein- you MUST download Where the Sidewalk Ends and Light in the Attic!!) makes this center the easiest to manage once it gets off the ground.

Do you have any other free/inexpensive resources to add to make Listen to Reading happen in your classroom? Please add them below in the comments, I would love to build on this list!


  1. Where did you find free audio book downloads that you put on your ipods?

    1. Hi Monica,

      I don't have any free audiobooks on the iPods- I downloaded audiobooks from iTunes for them. The free audiobooks come from the links I have listed above and kids listen at the computer for those.

      Hope that helps!


  2. Stephanie,

    Thanks! As we all know, teachers are strapped for cash! I was thinking of maybe reading and recording myself and adding them to the iPod playlist???


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