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Lesson Plan

Audio Broadcasts and Podcasts: Oral Storytelling and Dramatization

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Audio Broadcasts and Podcasts: Oral Storytelling and Dramatization

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Unit
Estimated Time Ten 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia


National Council of Teachers of English



Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice



Students begin this lesson by discussing what makes a good, vivid story and creating a working checklist of the criteria for a good story. They explore background information about the Mercury Theatre production of The War of the Worlds from October 30, 1938. They read the broadcast script from the show and compare its characteristics to those listed in the checklist they created. They then listen to audio of the production and compare it to the script version. Next, students create their own audio dramatization of a text they have read, following a process that takes them from preproduction activities, such as outlining, through postproduction activities, such as editing and publishing their work. During the process, they analyze how The War of the Worlds script conveys emotion and feeling. Finally, students share their broadcasts with the class and use a checklist to assess each other's work.

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War of the Worlds Travelogue: Students can use this online tool to explore background information about the 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds.

Plot Diagram Tool: This online tool allows students to graphically map the events in a story.

ReadWriteThink Notetaker: This online tool allows students to organize up to five levels of information in outline form, choosing bullets, Roman numerals, or letters.

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Lou Orfanlla explains, "Radio has the power to individualize its presentation within the mind of each and every listener. There is an intimacy and shared vision that it creates" (55). In an early example of the power of radio, Orson Welles "accidentally terrorized many Americans, young and old, with [his] updated Halloween-night version of H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds-proving the power of radio in a remarkable way" (Bianculli 39 in Orfanella). To explore these connections between listeners and those who compose audio media, this lesson asks students to make personal connections and to consider the connections that others make. Based on this understanding, students then compose their own audio stories, in order to investigate more fully how audio composers connect with their listeners.

Further Reading

Orfanella, Lou. "Radio: The Intimate Medium." English Journal 87.1 (January 1998): 53-55.

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