Connecticut Core Standards

Grade 3: Speaking & Listening Unit  

Rating: Five apple rating

Common Core Standards

Reading Literature

RL.3.1 Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

RL.3.10 By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, at the high end of the grades 2-3 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

Speaking and Listening

SL.3.1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

SL.3.1 (a) Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion.

SL.3.1 (b) Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions (e.g., gaining the floor in respectful ways, listening to others with care, speaking one at a time about the topics and texts under discussion).

SL.3.1 (c) Ask questions to check understanding of information presented, stay on topic, and link their comments to the remarks of others.

SL.3.1 (d) Explain their own ideas and understanding in light of the discussion.

SL.3.3 Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.

SL.3.6 Speak in complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification. (See grade 3 Language standards 1 and 3 here for specific expectations.)


L.3.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

L.3.3 (a)   Choose words and phrases for effect.

L.3.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate conversational, general academic, and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal spatial and temporal relationships (e.g., After dinner that night we went looking for them).

Description of Unit

This Grade 3 unit titled “Speaking and Listening Unit” created by Sarah Smith and Heather Wise at University Park Elementary School for the EQuIP Call to Action is comprised of 15 sessions of ELA/Literacy instruction. The unit plan contains 5 days of explicit lessons to teach children what it means to speak and to listen, how to respond to each other, and what it means to speak and listen to others about a text in an academic setting. The next 5 lessons are an introduction to a “turn and talkstructured protocol that allows the teacher and students to set up routines to facilitate rich discussions with each other using a close reading of a complex text. The last set of 5 lessons introduces students to the whole class structure of Socratic Circle to discuss a complex text. In the culminating activity, students are evaluated by how well they individually participate in a Socratic Circle discussion.


Connecticut teachers should be cautioned that in order to have students work toward mastery of these standards by the end of third grade, this unit should be taught within the first two months of school. Unit materials are extensive and will require familiarity to be used as intended. The two anchor texts used for instruction are not included, but other complex texts could be substituted.

Rationale for Selection

This is an exemplary example of a unit that includes a progression of learning where concepts and skills advance and deepen over time. It addresses instructional expectations and is easy to understand and use; standards are listed at the beginning of the document and within each lesson. The activities cultivate student interest and engagement in reading, writing, speaking and listening. There are several resources to help scaffold instruction to support struggling students throughout the unit and with resources at the end of the document. The use of technology helps to deepen understanding. The unit includes varied modes of assessment regularly elicit direct, observable evidence of the degree to which each student can demonstrate the standards-based skills. Teachers can use the aligned rubric OR can make modifications to best fit the needs of their students.