If you would like to receive a copy of Radio Rookies: Teaching True Stories Curriculum Guide, please let us know a bit more about yourself: http://www.wnyc.org/crowdsourcing/educators-survey/ and we will email you a PDF. 


Youth produced radio documentaries are valuable curriculum resources because youth voices are too often excluded from mainstream teaching materials.  The Radio Rookies approach places youth voice at the center of issues-oriented instructional programs. Radio documentaries foster academic engagement by capturing the interest of students and inspiring them to question and share their beliefs and perspectives about contemporary issues. Students are pushed to ask themselves:

What do I think about this issue?
What has been my personal experience with this issue?
What about my experience leads me to agree or disagree? 

Integrating Radio Rookies documentaries into educational programs allows youth to do more than simply hear the opinions and viewpoints of other teens. Through listening, discussion and debate, and writing about the issues presented in these stories, students learn to share opinions and articulate their own perspectives. Ultimately teen listeners learn to validate the power of their own voices and stories to influence other people’s ideas about the important issues affecting our local, national, and global communities.

Radio Rookies' provides "The Teaching True Stories Curriculum Guide" which is a basic overview of how and why to use audio in the classroom, as well as suggested guidelines for listening and follow-up activities.  You should feel free to use this Guide as a template from which to base your own lesson plans tailored to the specific needs of your classrooms and subject areas.  Our site also organizes stories by topic, so you can easily search existing stories to see if there's something that fits with upcoming lessons: 

Civic Engagement
Health and Mental Health
Teen Issues

To give you a sense of the kind of stories that may be useful resources in your teaching or work with youth, here are some pieces other educators have used in their classrooms:

Radio Rookies DIY: How to Report Your Own Story

Sunday, September 15, 2013

This animated short is part of a toolkit of DIY videos we’re creating in partnership with the Hive NYC Learning Network. Educators can use this toolkit to teach students of all ages.
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Radio Rookies DIY: Educators Guide to Teaching Interviewing Skills

Monday, March 25, 2013

One of the first skills Radio Rookies learn in our workshops is how to conduct interviews with people on the street, aka: “Vox Pop.”

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The N-Word: It Represents Hatred

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Graduate Rookie Reporter Veralyn Williams first began questioning the use of the N-word when she started studying African American history in college.


Coming Out in The Age of Lady Gaga

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bebe tells her uncle that she's bisexual, but he suspects Bebe is just trying to be cool and doesn't understand the weight of her words. 

Speaking for Islam

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Norhan Basuni divides her life before and after September 11th. For her, it is the day that she, an ordinary 7th grader, became a symbol of Islam, of "them", and to some, of terrorism.


Tuesday, January 30, 2001

My story is about how easy it is for kids in Bushwick to get guns. I interview gun dealers, my principal and crime fighters.    

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Half My Family Is Illegal

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Only half of Alicia Martinez's family members are U.S. citizens. Alicia struggles to meet her parents' expectations and overcome the guilt she feels that her sister’s life is limited.  

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