When I first started teaching, my listening center was a hot mess. It was eleven years ago so I didn’t have an iPad or computer in my classroom yet. I used a tape recorder. All the young millennials and gen z teachers are gasping right now, I know (I’m a millennial too by the way, but on the older range). The cords were a mess and I always had the hardest time teaching kids how to use tapes. And then there was the rewinding of the tapes! I can’t go there. You know what it was like, I’m sure.
Obviously things are a lot more simple now that many classrooms have access to iPads or computers. Once I had access to these things, it was a game changer.
Find a listening center app or website
I use Epic! at my listening center. It was the only one I used. However, I know there are more out there. Find what works for you. You can get the app or use the website on the computer and it’s free! As long as your students click from the “Read To Me” section, then they will be read to and get to follow along with the book.
Minimize the paper trail
While at the listening center, my students had to respond to one book they listened to. During their listening center time, they typically had time to listen to more than one. I wanted to make sure they were still listening to comprehend as well. The reading response sheet was kept in a basket on the table by the computers. I made multiple copies of the same one for the entire week. So, if they were at the listening center more than once during the week, then they did the same reading response sheet (just on a different book). I also based my reading response sheet on what we were learning. So, if our big lesson for the week was on main character, then their response sheet was about main character.
Add visual directions
This is huge. Even if it is January and your kids have been doing this center since August, you will still want this. I feel like I always had one or two kids that were still asking me how to log in to the computer in March, even though we had been doing this for 6 months. Plus, you never know when you will get a new students. It’s just easier to have some simple visual directions displayed in your listening center area.
Try out reading response sheets
If you are interested in trying out our reading response sheets, you can grab a sample by signing up below!