Thursday, February 26, 2015

TLR Radio - Students Finding Their Voice

A couple of years ago, we created the Teen Lit Review (@teenlitreview), a way for students to review YA Lit for other students, teachers, librarians and other interested parties. We have posted hundreds of student reviews. The key difference between our review and many others is that the kids are the ones offering opinions about books. Too often, adults are the ones recommending books to kids that they "should" be reading. Often those books are the very ones that turn kids off to reading. The success of the Teen Lit Review demonstrates that there is a market for the kids' ideas and views.

We have tried to expand and publicize so that we can showcase the kids' work to a larger audience. We tweet out every review multiple times, have had some nice response comments on the blog and have even had authors contact us and send us their books to review. The kids get a kick out of the responses but I try to remind them that it's a big deal that their work has gone global. That fact hits home when they hear from someone who lives far away.

A while ago, I got the idea to do a podcast of students chatting about books. I wanted the podcast to be as if a few kids were in a room talking and the listener was just eavesdropping. Nothing stilted with questions and answers but rather a free-flowing conversation about the books the kids were reading was the goal.

Yesterday, we launched TLR Radio. Earlier in the week, I told the kids that we were going to have a name contest and a logo contest. Kids designed logos and invented names. The winners of each contest are the things we use. TLR Radio is the name of our podcast and our logo is below.

Everything has been student-created: the logo, the name, the podcasts...everything. I do the technical stuff like recording, publishing to Podbean (our podcast host), and getting the podcast on iTunes. The content and design, however, is all done by the kiddos. Each part of the process is owned by the students. They truly are finding their voice.

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