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Common Core Standards: ELA See All Teacher Resources

College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening

Speaking and Listening CCRA.SL.2

2. Integrate and evaluate information presented in diverse media and formats, including visually, quantitatively, and orally.

Being able to read and comprehend printed words is a vital life skill. But in order to survive and thrive in the “real world,” students need the ability to read far more than text. They also need to be able to break down: 

  • visuals, like maps, charts and graphs; 
  • information presented quantitatively, or in numbers; and, 
  • information they learn from speaking and listening to others speak.

In addition to giving them full access to the massive amounts of data needed to navigate their world, the ability to understand information in various formats gives students the flexibility to gather information in the way they best understand it. So when an exasperated co-worker asks, “What do I have to do, draw you a map?”, your well-prepared students can say, “Yes, please!”

Example 1

Sample Activities for Use in Class

1. Visual Aids

Have students examine the list of commonly-used visual aids below. For each one, have students list the advantages and disadvantages of using that particular format. Then, discuss their answers, focusing on when certain visual aids might be more appropriate than others and what students can do to help overcome the disadvantages of using the various visual aids in a speech.

Flip Charts, Posters, and Blackboards/Whiteboards

Advantages: -easy and cheap to buy/make
-many locations already have these on site
-easy to carry around
-the audience can copy down information from them at their own speed
-good for interactive discussions; can write down what audience members say

Disadvantages: -difficult for large groups to see
-presenters with poor handwriting or spelling may find it hard to use   them
-running out of chalk/markers might be a problem
-may run out of space

Slides (Photos, Overhead, or PowerPoint)

Advantages: -can look very professional
-easier for large groups to see
-include notes to remind the speaker of important information
-can be printed for audience to use/make notes on/take home
-can incorporate video or other visual aids

Disadvantages: -impersonal
-must be shown in the dark – audience may not take notes, may fall asleep
-not good for discussion or interaction
-harder to update
-requires special equipment


Advantages: -can look very professional
-can be used with either large groups or small ones

Disadvantages: -doesn't engage the audience
-more expensive to make than other visual aids
-requires special equipment
-older formats, like VHS or filmstrips, may be hard/impossible to play
-starting/stopping video to discuss can be difficult/distracting

Objects (Samples, Examples, Models, etc.)

Advantages: -exist in the “real world”
-may be cheap and easy to find/make
-let the audience learn through touching/seeing as well as listening

Disadvantages: -may be difficult, expensive, or impossible to find/make
-may be hard to carry or pass around
-need storage space
-may not make sense out of their usual environment (i.e. engine parts)

Example 2

2. Table Talk

Have students examine the following table, and then discuss the questions that follow.

Distance from Sun (km)57,909,227149,598,262
Mass (kg)3.3010 x 10235.9722 x 1024
Equatorial Surface Gravity (m/s2)3.79.81
Rotation Period (Earth days)58.650.99726968
Orbit Period (Earth years)0.241.0000174

1. What does this table do?

(Possible Answers: It compares several facts about the planets Mercury and Earth, including: distance from the Sun, their mass, their gravity, and how long it takes them to rotate (turn around their axis) and orbit (travel all the way around the Sun).

2. What are the advantages of presenting the data in this table? What are the disadvantages?

(Possible Answers: Advantages include an easy comparison and a whittling down of the information available about both planets. Also, the numbers are easier to pick out and compare than they would have been in a text paragraph. The disadvantage is that the table can still be confusing, especially if the people looking at it aren't certain what the units are or what the comparisons mean.)

3. What are some ways this data could be made easier to understand or more interesting, if you had to show it to a group of people during a presentation?

(Possible Answers: A graph or infographic might give this information in a more visual manner, allowing an audience to compare the relative sizes and distances of the two planets without having to do any math in their heads.)

Example 3

3. Reading Graphics

Have students examine the graphic that follows, and then answer the questions:

How We Regulate

Figure 3 provides an overview of the NRC's regulatory process, which has five main components:

  1. Developing regulations and guidance for applicants and licensees.
  2. Licensing or certifying applicants to use nuclear materials, operate nuclear facilities, and decommission facilities.
  3. Inspecting and assessing licensee operations and facilities to ensure that licensees comply with NRC requirements and taking appropriate followup or enforcement actions when necessary.
  4. Evaluating operational experience of licensed facilities and activities.
  5. Conducting research, holding hearings, and obtaining independent reviews to support regulatory decisions.

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

1. What does this graphic represent? Who created it? What might this graphic be used for?

(Possible Answers: This is a visual representation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s process for regulating nuclear plants and the way nuclear and radioactive materials are handled in the United States. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates nuclear-related activity, which explains the agency’s highly creative name. This graphic may be used to teach the public, state governments, or nuclear plant-running officials what the NRC does, or it may be used to get funding or other benefits from the federal government by explaining that, really, the NRC is always busy.)

2. How many steps are involved? What do the positions of the boxes and arrows tell you about the relationship between the steps?

(Possible Answers: There are five steps involved - rulemaking, licensing, oversight, operational experience, and support. The arrows imply that the first four are involved in a continuous loop, with Step 4 playing “shortstop” between Step1 and Step 3. Step 5, meanwhile, comes into play at each of the first four steps instead of following them.)

Quiz 1 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

Questions 1-10 relate to the following graphic:

Source U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

  1. Based on this graph, one can infer that a company that wants to run a nuclear power reactor in the United States must first:

    Correct Answer:

    Get a license for the reactor from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - The Commission tracks licenses issued per year, which implies that it is responsible for issuing and keeping track of licenses.

  2. According to the graph, the numbers along the bottom represent what?

    Correct Answer:

    The year licenses were issued.

  3. The numbers along the side of the graph give the same information as which other part of the graph?

    Correct Answer:

    The numbers at the top of each bar on the graph.

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - These are the number of licenses issued each year.

  4. In what year did the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issue nine licenses?

    Correct Answer:


  5. In which two years did the Commission issue more than ten licenses?

    Correct Answer:

    1973 and 1974

  6. If you add the number of licenses issued in the year _____ and the year _____ together, they equal the number of licenses issued in 1974.

    Correct Answer:

    1985 and 1986

    Answer Explanation:

    (b) - 9 + 5 = 14

  7. Only one year shown on the graph had five licenses issued during that year. Which year was it?

    Correct Answer:


  8. According to the information supplied by the graph, why does the graph stop at 1996?

    Correct Answer:

    Zero licenses were issued for every year after 1996.

  9. According to the graph, no licenses were issued in 1979. Which historical event is MOST likely to be the reason no one wanted to build a nuclear power reactor in 1979?

    Correct Answer:

    The nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania had a meltdown that year.

    Answer Explanation:

    • (a) - It was dropped in 1945.
    • (b) - The graph does not specify this information, but of the options given here, Three Mile Island is the only nuclear event that occurred in 1979 and it soured public perceptions of the safety of nuclear reactors. *correct answer
    • (c) - Scientists have never “discovered” this; in fact, the opposite is true.
    • (d) - There was no Olympics in 1979, and even if there had been, it is highly unlikely that people would stop doing work in order to watch it.
    • (e) - The graph shows licenses being issued in several years after 1978.

  10. Which of the following groups is LEAST likely to use the information in this graph?

    Correct Answer:

    A student who wants to learn how the nuclear bombs used in World War II were built.

    Answer Explanation:

    (e) - Nuclear reactor licenses have nothing to do with the history of the Manhattan Project; and even if they did, this graph starts at 1969, fourteen years after the nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan.

Quiz 2 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. The advantage(s) of using PowerPoint slides to give a presentation include(s):

    Correct Answer:

    all of the above

  2. What is one reason you might NOT want to use a video in your speech?

    Correct Answer:

    It doesn't give you room to discuss or interact with the audience.

  3. Which of the following visual aids does NOT require special electronic equipment?

    Correct Answer:


  4. You are giving a speech in a state-of-the-art electronics laboratory built in 2009. Which of the following is the company LEAST likely to have available for you to use?

    Correct Answer:

    8-mm filmstrip projector

  5. One advantage of using a blackboard for your presentation instead of a PowerPoint slide show is:

    Correct Answer:

    Blackboards let you write down input from the audience.

  6. Questions 6-10 are based on the following graphic:

    This image is MOST likely taken from a clothing catalog printed in:

    Correct Answer:


    Answer Explanation:

    (c) - Though we aren’t told the exact year this image was printed, it is easy to figure it out through logical deduction. The rules of fashion shown in this image are obviously old-fashioned—so we can assume it’s certainly older than 2008, which is answer choice A. The 1970s does seem like a long time ago, but it wasn’t old enough for these fashion rules to be in effect. Miniskirts were already worn in the 1960s, so B cannot be the right choice. There were no printing presses in 1668 and 1258, so we can rule out D and E. That leaves us with C: 1868.

  7. According to the graphic, a skirt for a twelve-year-old should be __________ than a skirt for a ten-year-old.

    Correct Answer:

    a little bit longer

  8. According to the graphic, a skirt that ____________ is appropriate for all ages.

    Correct Answer:

    passes the tops of the shoes

  9. This graphic might be a useful visual aid in a presentation about:

    Correct Answer:

    Changes in clothing requirements for women over the years

  10. Which of the following would be LEAST helpful for showing this visual to a large audience?

    Correct Answer:


Quiz 3 Questions

Here's an example of a quiz that could be used to test this standard.

  1. What is one reason a person giving a speech may NOT want to use a whiteboard?

    Correct Answer:

    The presenter may have bad handwriting or be bad at spelling.

  2. PowerPoint slides are a good way to show all of the following EXCEPT:

    Correct Answer:

    Audience contributions

  3. You want a visual aid that provides both visual and audio information, without you having to talk. You are MOST likely to use:

    Correct Answer:


  4. One disadvantage to using PowerPoint slides is that:

    Correct Answer:

    you must understand the PowerPoint software in order to make them

  5. Using a sample or model of the thing you're discussing in your speech:

    Correct Answer:

    All of the above

  6. Questions 6-10 are based on the following infographic:

    The infographic breaks down the cost of a sweatshirt by showing:

    Correct Answer:

    How the price goes up at each stage of the sweatshirt's production and travel to the retailer.

  7. According to the infographic, the importer pays approximately _________ to the factory when it buys the sweatshirt.

    Correct Answer:


  8. According to the infographic, most of the money the retailer adds to the final price goes to pay for___________.

    Correct Answer:

    the wholesale price of the sweatshirt

  9. This infographic might be useful in a presentation about:

    Correct Answer:

    How retail clothing prices are determined.

  10. Which of the following would help you show this infographic to an audience?

    Correct Answer:

    Any of the above

Aligned Resources

More standards from College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards for Speaking and Listening - Speaking and Listening