Last week, I introduced you to BiblioFiles, my very favorite podcast. This week, I’ll introduce you to Radio Read Along—my other very favorite podcast. (I get to have two very favorite podcasts because both are produced by the Center for Lit crew, so really, they’re parts of an excellent whole.)

But rather than tell you what both podcasts have in common, I’m going to tell you how they differ: BiblioFiles is filled with meaty discussions about great books, while Radio Read Along introduces listeners to great books worth discussing. Part audio book, part discussion group, part book club you wish you actually belonged to, Radio Read Along takes listeners chapter by chapter through classic literature and concludes each book with a BiblioFiles-style discussion.

This is a two-pronged podcast: first, the full story, read aloud delightfully by one of the Andrews family (usually, but not always, Adam). Then, the discussion. The BiblioFiles discussions are wonderful and often send me out hunting for the books under examination. But Radio Read Along gives me the full story first. By the time I reach the discussion episode (at the end of the book or, for longer books, every ten chapters or so), everything—the story itself, my thoughts on it, the scenes I loved or did not understand, my questions—is fresh in my memory. These episodes are like tiny, highly-concentrated literature courses.

Radio Read Along (a podcast) | Little Book, Big Story

But I am not the only one in our family reaping the benefits of this podcast.

On a sick day, Sarah listened to Peter Pan (joyfully read by Megan Andrews) in full. Later, we listened to the discussion together and she said happily, “Mom, that was really fun.” (Which leads me to believe that either my kids don’t know much about fun, or they know better than most what fun really is.)

Mitch and I have been listening to Great Expectations separately and discussing it, enthusiastically, when we’re together. Lydia, too, has joined us: she read Great Expectations on her own, but she and I listen to the discussion episodes in the car on the way to her ballet class. Like Sarah, she has loved and laughed aloud at them (and even preferred them over her favorite CDs).

So. I am a fan of Radio Read Along because I enjoy it. But I love it more for the way it has oriented our family discussions around literature and taught us how to ask good questions and how to respectfully disagree with one another. We are learning a lot about reading literature from Radio Read Along, but I think we’re learning a lot about being a family, too.

Radio Read Along
A Center for Lit podcast