Kindergarten Teacher


iPod Listening Center Setup


This year I will be using an iPod for our listening center (any version of the iPod or an old iPhone will work for this.)  I have over 70 listening centers on CD and I hope moving over to the iPod will help me streamline the process and make my class more independent. The first step is converting all the CD’s to audio files and getting them into my iTunes library. If you read below I have the step-by-step process I used to do this.

Each week I plan to add one set of books to our listening center. This year I will be using wireless headphones from Califone and I will post a review about them after my kids have used them for a few weeks. Since the iPod is connected to the wireless headphone transmitter all four headphones will play the audio from the iPod. After they have their headphones they will open the iPod Music app and search to find the title of the book in our playlist (the playlist only has books.) There are 70 titles as I mentioned so I expect this to be difficult for them at first. As they get practice I know they will learn how to use the book to help them find the correct title in the playlist and hopefully learn about ABC order in the process. Once the story starts they can sit anywhere in the room and listen to the story!

Adding CD’s to iTunes and the iPod! 

Step 1: Open iTunes (without any device plugged in) and go to the music section. On the bottom left click the plus sign to create a new playlist. You can call the playlist whatever you like, I made mine classroom books.


Step 2: Insert a audio book CD. When I do this I get the following pop-up message. Click Yes. If the pop-up doesn’t show up see step 2A

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.28.08 PM

Step 2A: If the above step worked skipped this step. If you did not get the message above click import CD instead.


Step 3: Once the CD starts importing I always unchecked all the boxes except the first one. I only wanted the audio with turn the page signals which was the first file on every CD I imported. Some had other files as well. You can decide which files you want to download by checking unchecking them, just do it quickly before they all download. My main reasoning for only keeping one file is so that it would be easier for me to manage in the playlists. After the download was complete I then ejected the CD (red arrow)


Step 4: Add the book you just imported to the playlist you created in step 1. In the main search bar of iTunes (top right) search the book title or author you just downloaded. When found click the small arrow on the right side to get this drop-down box below. Click “Add to” and then click on the name of the playlist you created.


Step 5:Insert a new CD and repeat the process! See step six for syncing iPod once you have all the books imported.

Extra Tip: Two of the CD’s I entered did not have the title of the book automatically imported. This is easy to fix. Go to your playlist and click twice on the name of the book. You will be able to edit the title of any of the books. Also, many of the books had the title plus “with page signals” or other text in the title. I deleted all the that extra to make it easier for my class.

Screen Shot 2014-08-31 at 9.30.31 PM

Step 6: Plug in your iPod or iPhone to sync.

Red Arrow: click the correct device. Black Arrow: click music Blue Arrow: click sync music Green Arrow: click sync selected music Orange Arrow: click the name of the playlist you created Click Sync!


16 Responses to iPod Listening Center Setup

  1. Adam Kreifels says:

    Matt, thank you for this. I have a ton of books on cassette tape and very few on CD. I have considered just recording some of the books on my own onto my ipod. I really want to add this center very soon, just figuring out the logistics.


    • Matt Gomez says:

      I have many on cassette tape also. Converting those will be my next step :) I will update the post when I get that done. Converting the cassette to digital format will be the issue, just need to do some research.

  2. Donna Williams says:

    I purchased 3 iPod shuffles last year for my listening station in K5. I changed the recordings on the iPods every other week (it doesn’t hurt to repeat). I also had some recordings on cassette. The simplest way to convert them was Audacity, a good microphone for my computer and a very quiet room! Although I understand you can get a cable for cassette player output & computer input, I accomplished all of my conversions this way. The shuffles were very sturdy and easy for the kinders to use.

  3. Maureen Simmons says:

    In regard to having a ton of cassettes & books (don’t we all?!) One of our district technologists recommended voice recording the books on a free mp3 site, making a QR code for the recording and glueing that QR code in the back of the book. This is so students with iPads can scan it and hear the book read. Very time consuming to read all those books & make recordings — but parent volunteers could do it. I had difficulty getting it all to work (using the free mp3 site). Looking forward to hearing any other ideas. The kids LOVE those stories I have on cassette, but I need a way to convert them easily for iPad use. Anyone else have any ideas?

  4. kagmoran says:

    I just got 4 new ipods through donorschoose! I should have them very soon. I plan to add all my books to them and let the kids use them for a listening station. What headphones do you use?

  5. Do you just have the one iPod that all the headphones are connected to wirelessly?

  6. I love the idea of wireless headphones…please let us know how they work out! That would be a great addition to what I did this past year. I set up a playlist in my itunes library of all of my cd/books (70+) last spring and use 2 or 3 ipads for my listening center now (did it the way you so kindly described in your post for those that haven’t done it yet). What I like about the ipad (not sure if the ipod is big enough to see it) I added in “get info” a picture of the book cover so that my non-readers are able to independently scroll down and find the book without needing to read the title…makes it a little easier. Also, using just the 1st title in your playlist (the one with the page turn signals) really works well. Thanks for this really helpful post!

  7. Elizabeth W says:

    I have been using iPods for my Listening Center for 3 years now. It is the best! The kids are so familiar with the technology that it is so easy to manage. My biggest issue is finding headphones that the kids find comfortable. Have fun with it!

  8. Lisa Weis Jacobs says:

    What a great idea Matt! I took my cassettes and put them on CD’s using the device from Kohls. Most of the CD’s work on the CD player some of them had to be played through the computer.

  9. Martha Lackey says:

    Great posts friend. I have tons of cassette tapes as well and would like to learn more about that process!!

  10. Mrs. G says:

    So glad someone else still has cassette tapes! How about if we only have ancient headphones?

  11. Fred Perry says:

    I like the idea of using an ipod for the use of audio books instead of cds or cassettes. Ipods have more space and students now have access to more books. With such easy access to a large quantity of books, students should have no problem finding books they enjoy reading.

  12. Hi my name is Kaitlyn McLarty.
    I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I really liked this post because it is so useful to other teachers. The different stations in a classroom is something I want to do when I become a teacher and this looks like it would work so well for the students.
    Thank you for showing us how to make a great iPod listening station.
    Thanks so much

  13. Lori says:

    I love the cordless headphones from Califone; however, the batteries in mine have gone bad. I was able to return the first set under warranty, but now I am stuck! I LOVE them! Which set do you have, Matt? The set with orange on them as shown in your post $25 DVD Player as Listening Center or yellow as shown in your photo at the beginning of this post? Possibly both?? My cordless set has blue and not yellow…I wonder what the difference is. Thank you for all of your You Tube Videos, Symbaloo contributions, and blog!! I have already learned so much and I have only know about you for two weeks. THANKS!!!!!

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