Top authors join Story Explorers: a new podcast for kids, by kids

Today marks the first episode of the brand new children’s radio and podcast series Story Explorers which is all about stories for 7 to 11-year-olds. It is available on the national children’s radio station Fun Kids, and has been developed by the National Literacy Trust and Pixiu, and funded by The Audio Content Fund.

The series, hosted by CBBC presenter Ben Shires, will feature a different children’s author and group of school children each week. Budding young podcasters from Years 5 and 6 will interview and chat virtually with top authors about their work, the stories they love and also take part in fun games together.

Each interview will be broken down into five episodes, each five minutes in length and a new episode will be released weekdays at 6.15pm throughout November and December. Teachers can share these with their classes as part of their daily learning schedule the following day, or later in the week, or alternatively, children can listen to them later at home.

The episodes will be broadcast on Fun Kids during The Club with Bex, available on their website at funkidslive.com and in all popular podcast apps.

The first episode launches today and features Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell (How to Train Your Dragon series, Hodder Children’s Books). Listen to Cressida and children from Ashmole Primary School in London chat about dragons, quiz Cressida on her writing and get her to finish their amazing story ideas.

The fantastic line up of authors also includes: Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl and the Fowl Twins series, HarperCollins Children’s), Greg James and Chris Smith (Kid Normal series, Bloomsbury Children’s), Katherine Rundell (Book of Hopes, Bloomsbury Children’s), Onjali Q. Raúf (The Boy at the Back of the Class, Orion Children’s Books) and Lauren Child (Clarice Bean series, Orchard Books).

Podcast consumption has increased steadily in recent years. In fact, new research from the National Literacy Trust shows that 1 in 5 children and young people say they listen to podcasts and nearly 1 in 4 children and young people listened to podcasts or audiobooks more during lockdown than they did before.

Podcasts can be a great tool to support children’s learning, giving them greater access to a whole world of topics and this series offers insights into an author’s world from children’s perspective, with reading and storytelling at the heart of the discussions.

Daveen, pupil from Arden Primary School, said: “I felt so surprised when I saw all the equipment used to make a podcast or radio show. I felt like I was on stage performing! Even though I was really nervous, speaking with Katherine Rundell was one of the best experiences ever! Katherine’s books are amazing, especially Rooftoppers, because you can imagine you are really there. My favourite part was when we challenged Katherine to finish our story starters – she was so mesmerising!”

Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate and first guest on the show, said: “I’m really glad the National Literacy Trust and Pixiu invited me to join in with this truly fun project! I loved the children’s energy and curiosity and really enjoyed the wonderful discussions we had together.

“Listening to interesting discussions about stories, books and reading can inspire children to get into stories in whatever way is best for them and I hope we spark the magic of reading in those who listen to the show. It looks like it’s going to be a fantastic line-up in the coming weeks, so do tune in!”

Keep an eye on wordsforlife.org.uk for further content specially created for listeners of Story Explorers.

To listen to the show, please visit: funkidslive.com/podcasts

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