The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) call for several Key Shifts in Language Arts that have implications across the curriculum. Listenwise can help teachers of many subjects address these shifts.

Shift 1: Regular practice with complex texts and their academic language

Listenwise audio stories are engaging complex texts full of academic language. They are authentic texts sourced from public radio, typical of those that students may encounter in their adult lives, and they are selected for their potential to support teachers and students in making connections between the curriculum and the world outside of school. Students can listen to each audio text multiple times, with or without reading interactive transcripts simultaneously, in order to deepen their understanding. Listenwise audio stories offer all students access to complex texts, regardless of reading level, which, in turn, can help students improve their reading skills. Lessons include selected academic vocabulary words to highlight, as well as comprehension questions and embedded text tools, which can support students’ understanding of the texts and also expand their vocabulary. Academic vocabulary appears in context within all Listenwise stories, providing opportunities for students to practice strategies for learning new words. This week’s current events, for example, include the following words: aftermath, democracy, archive, predatory, and disparity.

Shift 2: Reading, writing, and speaking grounded in evidence from texts, both literary and informational

Listenwise stories are selected for their relevance and interest value, as well as their potential to promote critical thinking and analysis. Stories featured in lessons and current events can provide rich fodder for high-level classroom discussion and/or analytic writing tasks. Text-dependent listening comprehension and discussion questions associated with each story invite students to listen closely to complex audio texts and interpret, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, or apply information, supporting their ideas or claims with evidence from the text. Quizzes include questions that ask students to identify supporting evidence for a specific claim within a text, so teachers can assess those skills and use the data to inform instruction. Lessons noted as including extra supports for English language learners contain close listening protocols, which can help to scaffold such learning activities. All current events and standards-aligned lessons, for instance, include text-dependent questions, such as these:

Shift 3: Building knowledge through content-rich nonfiction

Podcasts featured in Listenwise current events and lessons provide content-rich nonfiction stories on a wide range of topics that can help students build background knowledge, which is critical to both listening and reading comprehension. The Listenwise team curates public radio stories based on their educational value and potential for engaging students, so the current events and lessons in the Listenwise platform offer a dynamic collection of high interest, highly relevant, high quality content that can be used instructionally in many ways. These content-rich nonfiction stories are written by skilled professional writers for a large audience that reaches far beyond the classroom, so they expose students to mentor informational texts about a host of captivating issues. One week’s current events, for example, addressed a variety of topics, including the social impact of hurricanes, democratic participation, research on using microbes to fight infections, the value of ancient artifacts, and the civic engagement of sports figures.

Listenwise can help teachers address many Common Core standards across all four literacy strands: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. In addition, it can help to support teachers in attending to all of the “key shifts” in expectations embodied in the standards. If you are using Listenwise with your students in ways that help you address the CCSS key shifts, we would love to hear about it!

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