Audio Intensifies the Reading Experience for Teens


Teacher: Christine Settino

Students: Grade 11 English, ages 16-17

Audio Content: “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Location: Springfield Township High School, Erdenheim, PA


English teacher Christine Settino’s 11th grade class was reading Ethan Frome, Edith Wharton’s 1911 novel about a turn-of-the-century husband and his sickly wife. Ms.Settino thought that an audio book would be fun to listen to in class, and she thought that her students would enjoy the novelty of the experience. She and her teaching assistant, Nicole Greaves, played the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” as a complementary text. They were surprised to find how well students, especially special needs students, responded to the listening exercise.

Use of Technology/Experience in Class

Ms. Settino played the story on a stereo for her class. To help students make connections between the short story and the novel, she handed out a set of discussion questions about the short story and its relationship to the novel. She also handed out a story grid to help students take notes. The students listened to the story from beginning to end while following along on a printed copy. After listening, students sat together in groups of two or three to discuss the story’s relationship to the novel. Ms. Settino and her assistant teacher circulated among the groups, commenting and answering questions where needed. Some students talked about the language of the story; they found resonance between the main character’s constant reference to “creeping” and horror movies. Others commented that listening to the story made the characters and events more vivid to them. As a complement to Ethan Frome, the story painted a picture for the students of turn-of-the-century life, especially the stiff social rules and gender roles of the upper middle-class.


Ms. Settino was surprised at how well her students reacted to the audio story. “I thought it would be a novelty to hear the story and have a different kind of experience with it,” Ms. Settino said. But the real surprise was that some of the students who usually had a difficult time with literature were absorbing the story and were more engaged in discussion. They were able to see clearly themes common to the two stories such as sickness and how it reflected women’s roles in turn-of-the-century America. They also noted the similarities in how sickness was treated in that era. Ms. Settino was glad to see that listening to the story engaged students in a new way. “Kids that were normally not responsive were more involved. That was unexpected and great,” she said.

Teacher Quote

“Kids don’t all engage with literature in the same way, and this way of engaging with literature seemed to make meaning, especially for special needs kids.”


One Response to “Audio Intensifies the Reading Experience for Teens”

  1. farid Says:

    hallo christine
    I´m farid ,how are you

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