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Listening Comprehension

Why This is Important

Comprehension is the ability to understand and critically think about a text. It is the purpose of skilled reading. Listening comprehension must come before 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 what is spoken or read and relate to that information in some way.

Goals for Strong Readers

  • Take part in conversations like taking turns when talking, exchanging information, listening attentively, and being aware of others’ feelings.
  • Have extended conversations.
  • Show understanding of information presented orally, such as books being read aloud or audio or video recordings by asking and answering questions about details.

Quick Activity

  • Encourage your child to talk about books before, during, and after reading. Help your child connect what happens in a story to something that may have happened in your child’s life. For example, That’s like when I . . .
  • Have meaningful conversations with your child about activities, experiences, favorite things, and other topics.
  • Talk with your child at mealtime, bath time, outside time, and during other activities about topics that are interesting to your child. Give your child specific feedback and information about what they are doing. Give your child plenty of time to respond so your child will gain a better understanding of a task and the information you give about what they are doing.

More Activities and Games

  • Have your child retell a favorite story from a book. If the story is from a book, your child may want to hold the book and view the pictures while retelling.
  • Be a good listener, but you may give clues by asking questions such as: Who or what is the story about? Where does this happen? What happens first? Next? At the end? Is there a problem? Was the problem solved?
  • Write down your child’s words as he/she tells the details.
  • Then, read your child’s words back to him/her.
  • Your child can also draw a picture to go with the words that were spoken and written.
  • A picture walk can help a child make connections between the illustrations and the story.
  • Before reading a book, take a picture walk with your child.
  • Look at the pictures and ask your child to predict or tell what might happen in the story.
  • After reading the book, ask, Tell me what happened in the story? Was it what you thought would happen? Why did you think that would happen? Give time for your child to think about answers.

Read your child a story or have your child listen to a story on a device or from a read-aloud website such as Ask your child to act out the story after listening to it. Have some dress-up clothes, hats, stuffed animals, dolls, or other props for your child to use while acting out the story. Be a great audience!