Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2019


Subscribe for access to quality kids' podcasts, audiobooks, and shows

Subjects & skills
  • English-Language Learning

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Offers tons of high-quality audio productions that teachers can use to introduce topics, supplement classroom lessons, or simply entertain.

Cons: There's no option to download content for offline listening, and teachers may find that the site lacks some basic features to support classroom use.

Bottom Line: For engaging, thought-provoking, ad-free content, it's tough to beat Pinna's classroom-friendly offerings for the price.

It's easy to think of classroom uses for Pinna. Begin a lesson with a podcast as a warm-up or introduction, and design activities around the topic to promote depth of understanding. Later, consider using a tool like YoTeach or Backchannel Chat and let students react, ask questions, or make predictions as they listen. If you want to give kids a break from screens and encourage creativity, pass out paper and colored pencils and have them illustrate a scene or character from a title by an author like Meg Cabot, Gordon Korman, or Maurice Sendak. Support ELL students and struggling readers by providing a hard copy or ebook to track text as they listen to the audio. Or help kids build a listening library by playing the "Lit for Kids" podcast, and encourage them to create lists of books to listen to. To support cross-curricular learning, pair a history or science podcast with a quiz game like Kahoot! to see how well kids grasped the content. The variety in topics, genres, and length make Pinna a solid option for teachers looking for a way to spark students' imaginations.

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Pinna is an audio subscription service to kids' audiobooks, podcasts, music, and audio shows for ad-free, on-demand listening. There's a free trial, but after 30 days, continued access costs $7.99 per month. Teachers and students can browse content by age or search by keyword, topic, author, or title. Titles vary in length from minutes to hours and include both popular titles and Pinna originals. The site keeps track of recently played episodes, so students can resume them later, but an option to create a personal library of favorites is missing. There's also a Pinna app where kids can listen on a tablet or mobile device, but since users can't download podcasts for offline listening, access to a strong, consistent internet connection is key to avoiding time-outs or interruptions.  


In an age where kids are increasingly reliant on screens for learning and entertainment, Pinna offers a refreshing break from visual content without sacrificing engagement. Students can get swept away by imagination as they develop auditory processing and critical thinking skills. In addition, there's a growing body of research that suggests reading aloud to students beyond elementary school is a key factor in their development as readers. For struggling readers, English language learners (ELLs), and aliterate students, hearing scripts and texts performed or read aloud can take away the stress of having to focus on pronouncing words and making contextual meaning at the same time. Plus, since the site offers content across multiple subject areas and topics, it's easy for teachers to find relevant classroom material to fit any curriculum.

Sometimes, especially with children's books, students might miss the presence of illustrations. Although many of the stories are well produced, some lack the description or engagement factor needed to stoke the imagination. Others, however, do an excellent job incorporating sound effects, music, and rich dialogue to bring stories to life. Also, while there are short descriptions for each title or episode, there's no rating system or standards attached to content, so determining a podcast's quality will involve lots of up-front exploration. Tips about how to use the content in the classroom or in a library of teacher-created lessons centering around the audio content would be a useful addition to Pinna's offerings.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

With kid-friendly topics, talented voice actors and singers, and a variety of formats, students are sure to find something on the site that sparks their interest.

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

The vast array of titles and topics present abundant learning opportunities for kids to practice auditory processing and critical thinking skills. Teachers will need to create their own follow-up lessons and provide time for reflection.

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

A good mix of content and difficulty helps teachers to differentiate for their students. There are short descriptions for each title but no rating system, linked standards, or tips for classroom use.

Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

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