Common Core Standards: K-5 Speaking and Listening Standards - dummies

Common Core Standards: K-5 Speaking and Listening Standards

By Jared Myracle

The aim of the Common Core Standards for speaking and listening standards is to assist students in learning to communicate effectively in a group setting. Many times during a student’s academic career, she’ll need to be able to work with a group to accomplish certain outcomes.

This may mean having a conversation about something they’ve read in class or completing a formal project that is a major part of their grade for a certain subject. Either way, the skills associated with effectively sharing information and actively listening are essential to working well with others. After all, isn’t that a major part of daily life as an adult?


In kindergarten, students practice the art of conversation in groups, with a specific emphasis on following established norms like taking turns and being quiet while others are sharing information. However, the emphasis isn’t on passive listening.

Rather, students practice asking questions of the speaker to make sure they understand the information being presented. When it’s their turn to talk, students are expected to speak clearly and in detail about topics that are appropriate to kindergarten, using illustrations or other representations as supports.

Grade 1

Skills in speaking and listening extend in Grade 1 to include more complex forms of discussion. Not only do students speak and ask questions about what they are learning in class, but they also begin to use comments made by others in their own remarks as a demonstration of their ability to actively listen to contributions made by other speakers.

This may include agreeing or disagreeing with a statement made by someone else and providing further information on the topic as it was presented in class or through a reading. Students present information with detail, sometimes aided by visual supports, by speaking in complete sentences.

Grade 2

The expectations for participating in group discussions are more complex in Grade 2. While still following norms established by the group, students gain the attention of the group in order to speak without talking over one another. Students continue to use comments made by other students in their own remarks, but they also connect statements made by one student to something said by another student.

With the addition of this skill, students learn to incorporate more and more of the group’s discussion into their thought processes. Students also continue to seek information through conversation that furthers their comprehension of the topic at hand. In presentations of information, students continue to develop their speaking skills by using complete sentences that include details related to the topic at hand.

Along with the use of visual aids introduced in earlier grades, students make use of technology to record readings of texts used in class. Because this can be an intimidating task for students, you’ll want to practice doing this at home if you have a computer, smartphone, or other device with voice-recording capabilities.

Grade 3

The speaking and listening standards advance significantly in difficulty in Grade 3. Apart from participating effectively in various forms of discussion, whether with one other student, with multiple students, or in a group conversation with the teacher, students must also prepare to participate. This includes reading related texts in advance so that they can contribute to the conversation with evidence from their readings.

Students also prepare to provide a detailed explanation of their remarks and how it contributes to the larger discussion of the group. As with the reading skills, students pinpoint the central idea(s) of material that is presented.

Presentation skills in Grade 3 expand to consider the rate at which a student speaks, aiming to make students aware if they are speaking too quickly or too slowly. This is a factor during student presentations and with any recordings students make of reading or presenting information. Proper conventions of language for Grade 3 are also considered.

Grade 4

The expectations for speaking and listening continue to increase in Grade 4 as students participate in more and more elaborate and detailed conversations. Students reference materials they’ve read beforehand and use specific details in their statements. Using their understanding of the topic at hand, students ask questions of other students, refer to comments made by others, and make their own statements that add to the overall discussion.

Grade 4 introduces the skill of paraphrasing information that was read or shared by someone else. In activities that require a group to work collaboratively, students must accomplish individual assignments that contribute to the success of the group as assigned by the teacher. Student presentations are organized appropriately for the topic and filled with detailed information that contributes to the main purpose of the report.

The use of visual aids, voice recordings, and other presentation aids continues in Grade 4. A new expectation for student presentations is the ability to determine when they should speak formally (such as during a presentation to a large group) and when informal speech is appropriate (such as in conversation with one or several peers).

Grade 5

Many of the skills introduced in Grade 4 are built upon in Grade 5, including making use of information gathered from reading and listening to others speak. Students continue to demonstrate their ability to ask questions that are specifically related to the comments of others, along with identifying the main points of a conversation and/or text through summarizing information.

Student presentations continue to show the ability to organize information into an appropriate and understandable format, with the integration of visual and audio components when applicable. The use of proper speech and language continues based on the nature of the presentation and the audience.