Texas educators: did you know that Listenwise podcasts can help teachers and students address reading and writing standards on the TEKS? Many educators overlook that the seven strands of essential knowledge and skills for ELA-R incorporate the four domains of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing). In this blog post, we will share how Listenwise podcasts address TEKS/TELPAS standards and are valuable tools for teaching language proficiency.

Listenwise Podcasts Address TEKS/TELPAS Standards

Recent research from the Century Foundation found English learners were among the student groups most impacted by the pandemic and related opportunity gaps. ELs scored much lower on math and English language arts (ELA) assessments than researchers would have anticipated in a normal academic year.

Research also shows listening comprehension skills have been shown to be a leading cause of reading difficulties in the 4th grade and older. 

Education has been focused on decoding and phonics, and in doing so has overlooked building a key component of literacy: listening comprehension.

This could explain why our students’ NAEP scores are stagnant and languish below proficient (240). In Texas the average reading score for 4th graders was 216 in 2019. Students are still struggling to read, and listening can help. Listening is the missing link to the literacy puzzle.

How Listenwise Podcasts Address TEKS Standards

Since students can generally listen 2-3 grade levels above what they can read, we can use the power of listening to introduce more complex language, vocabulary and topics.

Listenwise podcasts offer engaging resources for teaching and assessing listening and speaking skills. Podcasts can also help teachers and students address reading and writing standards on the TEKS because the seven strands of essential knowledge and skills for ELA-R incorporate the four domains of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing).

Listening is woven into the TEKS, although not specifically tested as a separate skill at the moment; we hear that  it is under consideration. The introduction for all core ELA courses from Kindergarten to 12th grade include this note about being “read to on a daily basis with opportunities for cross-curricular content and student choice” . This is what podcasts can provide: meaningful listening content:

The seven strands of the essential knowledge and skills for English language arts and reading are intended to be integrated for instructional purposes and are recursive in nature. Strands include the four domains of language (listening, speaking, reading, writing) and their application in order to accelerate the acquisition of language skills so that students develop high levels of social and academic language proficiency. Although some strands may require more instructional time, each strand is of equal value, may be presented in any order, and should be integrated throughout the year. Additionally, students should engage in academic conversations, write, read, and be read to on a daily basis with opportunities for cross-curricular content and student choice.

Hear Texas ELA teacher, Nichole Johns describe this connection

Educators know that the four language domains (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) are not only ELA specific, but are critically important in all subject areas. 

Listenwise can not only support ELA, but can support science, social studies, and CTE teachers to incorporate literacy using content collections to teach subject matter along with listening skills.


Address the TELPAS Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening Domains

In the TELPAS test the domains of literacy are equally weighted for testing academic language. Students must have a score of advanced high in all four domains in order to be reclassified. 

If you look at 2021 TELPAS data across grades 3-12, 72% of students are scoring advanced or advanced high in listening. This is a great opportunity to get hundreds of thousands of ELs over the finish line to reclassification if we can just bump those figures up a little higher. They are, in fact, already on their way. Overall speaking is the weakest skill, listening the second weakest in the scores. Listening to podcasts and following some simple strategies we have developed can help.


Podcasts Build English Proficiency

Along with supporting cross-curricular learning, there is untapped potential for educators to support dual language learners to build English proficiency through building listening skills. 

Often dual language learners aren’t hearing nearly as much academic English as they need. Engaging podcasts are rigorous, yet easy-to-digest listening and literacy lessons for all students, enabling them to learn content and language at the same time,at their own pace, while being engaged in meaningful content

Teachers love the weird news lessons to dig into a lot of Tier 2 vocabulary.

Explore these research-based instructional strategies using podcasts for language & content knowledge:

  • Strategy 1 – Using Student Choice to Engage in Cross-Curricular Content (ELA educator)
  • Strategy 2 – Scaffolded Retelling with Weird News (EL educator)
  • Strategy 3 – Warm Up to Activate Prior Knowledge & Make Connections (Science educator)

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