Integrating Common Core Standards: Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening in Grades 2-3

Katherine Aliguest bloggerKatherine Ali is a dual-certified elementary and special education teacher. She recently graduated as a literacy specialist with a Masters in Science from Manhattanville College. She has experience teaching internationally in northern China and now teaches in the Bronx, NY.

In order to be active participants in the literate world, students must be reading, writing, speaking, and listening at all ages. The natural interplay of language looks slightly differently across grades levels, but the foundations and mission are the same:

Reading:  Text Complexity and the growth of comprehension

We want our students to ascend the staircase of text complexity and simultaneously sharpen their comprehension skills.  Students, of all ages, need to build stamina through independently reading more rigorous and complex texts.  Additionally, read-alouds allow students to access content and concepts they may not be able to decode themselves.

Writing: Text types, responding to reading, and research

Opinion pieces, research-based projects, and narratives are the three main categories of student writing the Common Core State Standards focus on.  It is also imperative that our students engage in the writing process and expand their writing style using the conventions of the English language.

Speaking & Listening: Flexible Communication and Collaboration

Speaking and Listening in each grade level includes but is certainly not limited to presentations, group work, and class discussion.  Students need to be aware of their oral language skills and communicate their thoughts and research appropriately.   Building off other students’ ideas is also an important component in developing these skills.

Last week, I explained what what it looks like to integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening in grades K-1, using the book Rainbow Stew as an example. This week, I take a look at grades 2-3:

As Fast As Words Could FlyAs Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela M. Tuck, illus. by Eric Valesquez
Interest Level: 2 -7
DRA: 34, Guided Reading Level: O

Reading:  Doing a close read with students of As Fast As Words Could Fly fulfills the Common Core’s shift up the staircase of text complexity and builds strong vocabulary skills. Words such as refused, boasted, disbelief, barricaded, grimaces, and blurted are rich and valuable for second and third graders to read and understand.  This text is also an excellent model of the use of dialogue.  Through close reading activities students can highlight the dialogue and the speaker to understand the different ways to properly punctuate dialogue in a narrative. Of course, teachers can also read this story aloud so students can connect to the themes of perseverance and overcoming adversity.

Writing: Tuck’s writing style is strong and complex.  She uses compound sentences, prepositions, and onomatopoeia throughout the story creating a very sophisticated narrative.  Teachers can focus on one of these skills in a Writing Workshop model in which students translate the skill into their own writing. Mason’s story also evokes different opinions and feelings that lead to rich discussion. Use these discussion questions as a guide and encourage students to write a Reader’s Response and to share their responses Integrating Reading, Writing, Speaking & Listening Common Core Standards in Grades 2-3  with the class.

Speaking & Listening:  By second and third grade, students should be developing their formal presentation skills, therefore they may share Mason’s story through a presentation about influential people who took risks (complement the study with this interview with Moses Teel Jr., whose experience as a teenager during integration was the basis for Mason’s story).

Students also need to learn to lead discussions.  Assign a group of students to be the leaders of an interactive read-aloud and have them come prepared with various questions they developed in advance with the classroom teacher.  Creating a routine of student-led conversations around literature will catapult students into the upper elementary grades.

Stay tuned next week, when I discuss how to integrate reading, writing, speaking, and listening standards for grades 4-5 using Bird.