Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2013

Youth Radio

A stellar take on the news from diverse kid journalists

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Arts

  • Communication & Collaboration
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.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (3 Reviews)

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Pros: The content is top-notch, and the kids are guided by professionals to make compelling radio.

Cons: It's slightly difficult to navigate the website; some reorganization for clarity would help.

Bottom Line: An outstanding place to find fresh voices and NPR-quality content created by kids.

You can play Youth Radio's segments in the classroom; they'd be great in a civics, history, or current events class. The kids of Youth Radio are very real and often offer a very honest take that doesn't always appear in the standard news world. Segments can spark discussion on anything from Afghanistan to graffiti. Also, they're often featured on NPR's Marketplace, meaning that you could definitely find some economy-related radio clips to play for your students.

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Youth Radio is part of a nonprofit that gives kids hands-on training in all aspects of new media and journalism, allowing them to have a voice in the national dialogue. It is also a great resource for kids interested in media careers. Kids can access articles and videos written and created by young journalists in training (that also often air on NPR stations) on the site. Visit the Newsroom for news on education, science, technology, and other newsworthy topics. In the Classroom section of the site, you can tune in to a Raw Show, which features music and short kid-created media. The Creative Studio contains features like Remix Your Life, where kids create performances based on their lives. On Our Radar Desk features curated content from other youth-media sources.

It's great for learning. Whether students show up to hear news or to learn about media making, they'll be pleased with what Youth Radio has to offer. They can learn about current and pressing issues that affect teen life around the U.S. and the world. As they browse the site, they'll learn about media production, podcasting, and what's involved in creating a weekly radio program. Students can also learn that there are many different viewpoints when it comes to the big issues and that each person's experience deserves to be shared. At Youth Radio, kids can learn along with a diverse group of young voices who are navigating the world's big and small issues.

Overall Rating

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

A lot of this kid-created content is riveting, and teens will love hearing their peers' perspectives on major news issues. Design is modern and fresh, although some content could be reorganized to make navigation more intuitive.

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

By watching and listening to media created by kids, other kids may feel empowered to share their own stories. This confidence can transfer to the future, encouraging kids to think, "If these voices are valued, mine can be, too."

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

Though the site doesn't offer much in the way of help, it is fairly self-explanatory. Youth Radio is active on social media channels and offers classes to kids local to the Bay Area.

Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Lisa L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Sweet Home CSD
Amherst, United States
Wonderful resources of youth voices in current issues
To use Youth Radio was easy for my students, but I found the continual scrolling to be an issue. It just seemed as if the site was "busy" and there wasn't one thing to focus on. Unfortunately, that was distracting for some of my colleagues who would rather create links on a padlet and then have the children reach their goals through accessing one page.
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