Address Speaking and Listening Standards Using Listenwise

Another school year is underway, and you’re doing whatever it takes to meet your students where they are. It’s your responsibility to help them meet speaking and listening standards. But the reality is that you only have a short amount of time to actually do it. 

No matter what your focus area is—whether you’re an elementary school teacher or a subject area teacher at the middle school or high school level—it’s imperative that your students develop solid listening skills. After all, reading, writing, listening, and speaking are crucial to success in all subject areas. 

We hear from many teachers— particularly those with English learners in their classrooms— that finding rigorous material that aligns with speaking and listening standards can be challenging. Research shows that oral proficiency will not increase without opportunities to practice speaking using academic language. Broadening students’ academic vocabulary promotes deeper understanding of curriculum content, as the specificity of language helps to clarify and differentiate meaning. English learners need to hear academic language in the context of authentic speech, and they need to practice speaking using academic language. 


“I believe that students’ listening and speaking skills were seriously impacted by the pandemic and school closures. Listenwise is a great way to get students back up to grade level with weekly practice.”

– Elementary teacher, CA

Teach Speaking and Listening Standards Using Listenwise

Our comprehensive library of thousands of podcast and video lessons for students in grades 2 through 12 includes thousands of short podcasts specifically geared to an elementary, secondary, and ELD audience. Every lesson is a great opportunity for students to practice the skills needed to meet speaking and listening standards

Watch Stanford’s Dr. Jeff Zwiers and author Monica Brady-Myerov share speaking and listening standards-aligned teaching strategies to help English learners acquire academic vocabulary using podcasts.


Listenwise podcasts go hand-in-hand with the content you’re already delivering—allowing you to integrate your classroom instruction quickly and easily into the lessons they provide. They’re also aligned with both grade-level and ELD standards for English learners which means that all of your students are able to further develop the 4 Key Language Uses as identified by WIDA.

Plus, our lessons give students access to the 5 research-based listening skills exercises that are proven to help all learners. Designed to meet the rigor expected for each grade level, the lessons created by Listenwise use podcast, video, and visual formats to engage your students on multiple levels. They also reach across content areas and target key features of language development such as decoding and academic vocabulary.


“We’re so glad to have discovered Listenwise. There are tons of short, fun and engaging podcasts for students to listen to. Listening is one of the most overlooked skills. Students learn a lot when they are listening while reading a transcript. They can learn about fluency, proper pronunciation, intonation, etc.”

– District Instructional Specialist, TX

Speaking and listening standards sign up

Tips for Using Listenwise to Practice Speaking and Listening

We recommend using sketch notes as a pre-listening or first listen activity. By incorporating note-taking and group discussions in your classroom, you can ensure that students are developing good study habits that will build their dependence on tools, not on their teacher. This is an especially critical distinction to make when teaching English learners.

Don’t be afraid to get creative! Many graphic organizers work well for this kind of note taking assignment and you can go over them together as a class, having students add interesting facts to their own notes that their peers came up with. Moreover, many online tech tools can be app-smashed with Listenwise to allow students to orally respond to the lesson they just completed so that they can practice speaking.

Get more strategies on how to support multilingual students using podcasts and video from our recent webinar with career teacher, consultant, and author Tan K Huynh.



Not only are Listenwise lessons an incredible way to increase your students’ access to interesting and high-quality audio in the classroom, they’re also a way to ensure an equitable education for all.


“Listenwise provides students with high interest and relevant content that allows them to practice listening and responding in a low stakes environment. The content is international and works in newcomer and ELD classes to heighten student’s listening abilities.”

– High School ELD/ELA teacher, CA


In a world that is becoming more digitally inclined all the time, taking advantage of high-quality virtual learning opportunities is of far more benefit to your students than having them listen to a recording you play over your own speakers. Seeing the visuals right in front of their eyes, listening to expert speakers lead a discussion, following along with a transcript, and having the chance to make notes or practice speaking with their peers provides your students with a rich learning experience.

Ready for your students to become expert readers, writers, listeners, and speakers? Check out how our listening comprehension platform can help.

Listening comprehension tests sign up


Using Listenwise with Written Assignments

Incorporating different forms of media into your writing assignments can be difficult, especially when working with ELL students. Listenwise provides a plethora of resources that you can use to support your student’s writing goals. Here is how you can use Listenwise with your written assignments. 

Relevant Content for Writing on Any Subject

Listenwise is a great resource for your students looking for relevant sources for their next written assignment. We provide up-to-date current events podcast segments that are a perfect addition to any bibliography. 

No matter the subject, Listenwise has relevant audio for all age groups.

I always find relevant content to go along with my lessons, as a supplement. The ease of use, and the already identified standards make using Listenwise so easy!

Our podcast and video libraries are more than just a collection of sources of information that students can use for their next writing assignment. It is a database of standards-aligned lessons and assessments that utilize high-quality audio segments as a piece of primary content. 

Our lessons, comprehension questions, and assessments are a great way to support your curriculum with an additional form of media that your classroom may be lacking. 

Listening comprehension tests sign up

Accompanying Resources for Written Assignments

Although Listenwise provides an excellent platform for organizing your students, assigning work, and evaluating assessments, the resources on Listenwise can be used in conjunction with more traditional written assignments. 

Our podcast and video lessons come with a collection of resources designed by educators for educators. The lesson resources provided give educators ideas for how they can incorporate standards-aligned activities and assessments into their curriculum. 

Each lesson comes with a collection of quiz questions that can be assigned to each student individually through the educator’s classroom. However, these questions can also be used to create a written assignment that allows students to work through the story while meeting writing standards as well.

The discussion questions provided with each story are the perfect place to start for secondary educators looking for longer and more complex written assignments for their students. The discussion questions can serve as prompts for essays and other long-form writing assignments that use the story as a primary source. 

The stories on Listenwise are pulled from podcasts and other audio-based news outlets. This makes them a perfectly viable source to use as evidence in an essay. Listenwise stories are perfect sources for assignments that require students to gather sources from different kinds of media. Content from Listenwise is easy to use for in-text quotations because the transcript of each story is available alongside the audio. 

I use Listenwise stories to link current events to content. For example, I use a variety of stories connected to the First Amendment when I'm teaching the Bill of Rights. Doing this helps my students see how material that would otherwise be fairly dry and abstract can have real meaning and relevance in our country today.

Each Listenwise lesson includes graphic organizers that can help support writing development in students of varying ability levels. These documents can help the student organize information from each story so that it can be easily used to develop writing skills. For secondary students, these organizers can help find relevant information in each story to be used to support their claims in an essay. For primary students, these organizers can help build skills around summarizing main ideas and finding supporting information.

Differentiated Content That Supports All Students

Listenwise is a great resource for educators who serve a wide range of ability levels. 

Each piece of content on the platform is labeled with the Lexile score of the text so you can be sure that you are assigning accessible material for each of your students based on their individual ability level. Every story on Likewise can be played at different speeds and includes a written transcript of the audio. Each story also includes the definitions of key terms used in the audio.  All of these resources can make it easier for students of all ages to increase their comprehension of the content. 

Listenwise is a beneficial addition to my curriculum. We listen and respond as a whole group to the lessons before students begin to work on individual writing assignments. I also like that students can work at their own pace.

Listenwise is a great resource for ELL students who require additional language support with English content. In addition to the great resources provided for both students and educators on every piece of content on Listenwise, the platform features ELD/ESL-specific content. These stories are accompanied by additional resources for English language learners. Specialized lessons for ELD/ESL educators include language supports to help with comprehension of the content including subtitles in the student’s native language and activities to help develop a new language. 

Ways to Use Listenwise With Written Assignments

By the time they graduate students have most likely gotten a lot of practice writing about other written work. The majority of every curriculum is heavily based on reading to learn and writing to prove that you have done that learning. This leaves out the valuable skill of using alternate media like audio and video as a platform to inspire written assignments.

By using audio as a source for a writing assignment, you can meet a wider variety of standards and foster skills that are more reflective of how news is consumed in the 21st century.

I see Listenwise as a valuable resource for building engagement with our Gen Ed students who are increasingly gravitating to podcasts over written texts.

Multimedia Synthesis for Essay Writing

Synthesizing multiple sources is a valuable skill for both persuasive and informational writing. Educators can use stories on Listenwise as one of many sources in a written assignment. Students can find one written source, one audio source, and one video source to discuss how different media formats present similar information. 

Summarization Practice Using Audio Sources

Audio is a highly accessible source for primary educators looking to provide summarization practice for their students. Students can listen to a story on Listenwise and write a summary of the story using a listening organizer. Students can identify the main idea of the piece and the supporting evidence provided in the audio that supports that main idea. Applying these skills to a variety of media sources can strengthen a student’s ability to identify valuable information from a source material.