When scientists scanned the brain of people engaged in listening and reading activities, they discovered that the same parts of the brain handle both activities. So improving your child’s listening comprehension skills may also help with their reading.
Have you ever asked your child a question and received a grunt or mumbled ‘yes’ in response, only to realize they haven’t heard a word you’ve said? I notice this, especially when the table requires setting or the dishes need doing. However, deciding not to listen is different from having poor listening comprehension skills.
According to Marie Rippel on her All About Learning Press blog,
“Listen 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’s the ability to understand the words and relate to them in some way. For example, when you hear a story read out loud, good listening comprehension skills enable you to understand the story, remember it, discuss it, and even retell it in your own words. You use the same comprehension skills when you read.”
In young children, listening comprehension is one of the five skills required for reading, along with:
Motivation to read
Ways to Improve Listening Comprehension
Here are some ways to help your child improve their listening comprehension abilities. These simple everyday activities can make a difference.
1. When you read picture books aloud to young children, have an emotional connection with the child.
My sister-in-law, Sarah Kingham, is an educationalist who is passionate about literacy in the under-fives. Sarah has created a system of reading with children called Readit2 to help develop vocabulary and listening skills. You can watch a short video about her programme here.
Sarah’s key points are:
Make time every day for an emotionally connected reading time.
Put your arm around your child when you read together.
Point to the words as you read them.
Don’t just read the story; talk about the words and the pictures.
Ask open-ended questions throughout the story, such as What do you think the dinosaur wants to do now? What do you think will happen next?
2 Play games that involve listening
As a family, we frequently played Hedbanz when our children were young. This game is for ages seven and above, but we’ve had fun with children as young as five. We still pull this game out to entertain young visitors, and it always goes down well.
Playing listening games improves listening comprehension
The idea is to put a card featuring an object or an animal into each person’s headband. Without looking at their card, players try to guess what is on it by asking questions that can be answered with a yes or a no. This game is perfect for improving working memory and listening comprehension. This post explains how to strengthen your child’s working memory, and this link explains how to play Hedbanz.
3. Use conversation to improve your child’s vocabulary
Having a good vocabulary is essential for reading. I encourage my son to ask me whenever he comes across a word he doesn’t understand.
I use the following steps to embed this new word into his vocabulary.
Step 1 Give an age-appropriate definition.
(If I’m unsure of the word, I look it up on dictionary.com).
Step 2. Give a couple of examples of how you can use the word in a sentence.
Step 3 Ask the child to say a sentence using the word or say the opposite of the new word.
Step 4. Look for ways to use the word in conversation over the next week.
4. Listen to audiobooks together
I must admit I haven’t listened to audiobooks with Harry, but I wish I had. I adore them and listen to stories at every opportunity, whereas my son has never taken to them. This may be because he has an underlying audio processing difficulty.
If you can listen to audiobooks with your child, read to the story together, laugh at the funny parts, and talk about the story later. Audiobooks are available at most libraries or from retailers such as Audible.
Auditory Processing Difficulties
Some children have difficulties with auditory processing, which impacts their listening comprehension skills. If you suspect this may be the case for your child, a specialist hearing test is required to assess auditory processing abilities.
Some other ideas
Some tips from learning a foreign language may also be helpful for your child’s listening comprehension skills.
Find interesting text. Children get a dopamine hit when they are interested in what they are listening to. Picking engaging topics will increase a child’s comprehension. They may mentally drift off if what they are hearing is boring.
If necessary, look at ways to slow the audio track down. The Alexa device can read audiobooks at slower speeds.
Read along with the audiobook.
If listening to a non-fiction text, suggest your child draw a mind-map and add key points using different colours. Note-taking while listening improves comprehension.
Key listening comprehension skills for older children taken from Listenwise blog
At secondary school, teachers expect students to develop the following listening comprehension skills:
- Recognize Literal Meaning: Questions about facts, details, or information explicitly stated in the story.
- Understand Vocabulary: Questions about the meanings of words as they are used in the context of the story.
- Make Inferences: Questions asking students to make inferences as they listen to stories, interpreting what is said by going beyond the literal meaning.
- Identify the Main Idea: Questions asking students to identify the central idea or gist of a story.
- Determine Purpose: Questions asking students to determine the purpose of a story.
- Draw Conclusions: Questions asking students to draw conclusions by synthesizing information in a story.
- Analyze Reasoning: Questions asking students to analyze reasoning supporting a claim in a story.
- Find Evidence: Questions asking students to identify statements or details in a story that provides evidence to support claims or conclusions.
These higher levels of listening comprehension skills develop over time. Working on listening comprehension when a child is young is ideal, but there are ways to improve these skills at any age.
I hope you have found this summary helpful.
If you want to know more about All About Learning’s resources, please use this affiliate link. Their ‘All About Reading’ programme helped improve my son’s listening comprehension.
Getting a child’s compliance with doing the dishes is something I have yet to crack. Some things, such as requests to do chores, children natually tune out.
How have you helped your child with listening comprehension?
The post Listening comprehension – why it matters appeared first on Dyslexia Octopus.
By: Beth Beamish
Title: Listening comprehension – why it matters
Sourced From: dyslexiaoctopus.com/improve-listening-comprehension/
Published Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2021 01:58:53 +0000