Listening comprehension is the precursor to reading comprehension, so it’s an important skill to develop. Listening comprehension isn’t just hearing what is said—it is the ability to understand the words and relate to them in some way.
For example, when you hear a story read aloud, good listening comprehension skills enable you to understand the story, remember it, discuss it, and even retell it in your own words. You use these same comprehension skills when you read.
Listening comprehension begins at a young age as babies interact with people around them. It develops as they are read to, as they engage in conversation with their parents, and as they play games.
Listening comprehension continues to be important even after a child learns to read. In grade school, reading comprehension generally lags behind listening comprehension, so the best way for a child to develop higher levels of comprehension is through non-print sources (read-alouds, discussions, movies, and so on).
In the All About Reading program, we intentionally develop listening comprehension through story discussions, vocabulary development, and read-alouds. In this way, kids grow in their knowledge of the world, absorb language structure, and make connections between old and new information.
In addition to the activities built into All About Reading, you can help your child develop listening comprehension skills by engaging in the activities below on a regular basis.
Play listening skills games such as Mashed Potatoes. This silly game will provide your child with important listening practice and plenty of giggles, too! Hebanz is another great game that will help build listening skills in a way the whole family can enjoy.
If your child doesn’t understand what words mean, comprehension isn’t possible. The Conversational Method for Teaching Vocabulary is simply talking with your child and expanding upon vocabulary words that he has not yet learned.
Read lots of picture books aloud to your child. But don’t just read! You can help your child’s listening skills by turning reading into an interactive activity.
Here are a few ideas:
Listening to audio books is another great “reading aloud” activity that provides ample opportunities for building listening skills. As you listen to a story together, react to the story, laugh at the funny parts, and express surprise or fear at the appropriate moments.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you help your child develop listening comprehension.
Strong listening skills are reinforced in a number of ways throughout the entire All About Reading program. The program is multisensory, motivating, and complete, with everything you need to raise a strong reader. And if you ever need a helping hand, we’re here for you!
Have you discovered a great way to reinforce listening skills? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!