Listen and Learn with Spooky Stories

When you teach children to listen and learn with spooky stories, consider using my favorite, a performance by the Colonial Radio Theatre on the Air. Listen to a sample here.

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The tale’s terrifying chase. Image from

You remember the tale about a schoolmaster with a strange name…a ghostly night…and a frightening, headless horseman. Accompanied by evocative music, it’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, by Washington Irving.

We know that learning to listen is a life skill, but it takes loads of patience to teach. However, when you start with a topic of high interest to children—like spooky stories—it becomes easier. And radio theater is an art form that includes dramatic readings, sound effects, and music to engage the imagination.

1974 U.S. postage stamp. Image from
1974 U.S. postage stamp. Image from

I’ve taught children to listen toThe Legend of Sleppy Hollow many times.  I wrote key phrases on the board for children to think about and to listen for in context. Some children liked to draw during a learning to listen lesson–and you wouldn’t believe the terrific results!  Reenactments of favorite scenes followed the story. A good extension activity students explored was about creating sound effects.

When we work at teaching children to listen and learn, it doesn’t have to be drudgery.  Engage children through their interests and you are halfway there!

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