Common Sense Review
Updated June 2014

NPR News

Top-notch digital content takes students beyond the airwaves
Common Sense Rating 4
  • NPR News gives users access to on-demand content from National Public Radio.
  • As a radio tool, the app gives users access to NPR's hourly news, audio programs, and live audio streams from NPR stations.
  • Articles include text, images, and video in addition to audio from NPR radio broadcasts.
  • Users can select sections to download and save for offline use.
Quality selection of offline listening choices and straightforward browsing options make reading effortless.
Saving audio for offline listening can quickly consume hard-drive space.
Bottom Line
Provides an easy, fun, and effective way to engage students with radio.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Easily scrolling through various articles and linking related content can be exciting and fun for students. The ability to save audio content offline is also helpful.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Although no assessments are built in, and the app doesn't set any educational goals, easy linking among articles and simple ways to connect information offer solid opportunities for learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 5

Navigation is easy, as is tracking students' progress through the stories, and extra help is only a tap away.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers could encourage students to use the app to dive more deeply into a particular story or topic, as well as invite them to share and comment on articles they've read. Teachers might also use the app to help students develop daily news-reading habits, and to encourage weaker readers to listen to audio content as they read the text.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

NPR News is a gateway to new and archived content from National Public Radio. This app offers the best of both worlds: It’s a great app for reading the news and a great way to listen to the radio. The app’s main screen offers audio controls and one-touch access to listen live, and the top sections of the screen feature thumbnails of stories on various topics. Users can explore audio, text, and images from NPR's news, music, and arts & life sections, and also browse stories by audio program. An option is provided to hear NPR’s top-of-the-hour news update on demand, and kids can easily create a playlist of articles and topics to download for offline reading and listening. They can also search for local stations and save them to a favorites list for easy streaming. 

The best thing about this app is how easy it is to navigate. Users swipe to bring up new articles, while links to listen or comment scroll down the page with the text. Since audio content can quickly monopolize space on a device, the app helpfully lets users limit which articles and topics will be saved for offline use.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Although this app wasn’t designed for education, it’s a useful tool for giving students broader access to NPR content. Just as some radio listeners are surprised to see the faces behind the announcers' voices, kids are excited to discover rich images and links that enhance the radio stories. Each article is an invitation to explore content in multiple ways, as a reader, a listener, a viewer, or all three. Since all content is free and can be viewed offline, this could be a great tool for the classroom, particularly for kids with limited Internet access at home.

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using NPR News

Lesson Plans