Listening comprehension is more than just hearing what is said; rather, it is a child’s ability to understand the meaning of the words he hears and to relate to them in some way. When children hear a story, for instance, good listening comprehension enables them to understand it, remember it, discuss it, and even retell it in their own words. This is an important skill to develop even at an early age, because good listeners grow up to become good communicators.
Speaking out loud is the most common form of communicating, and learning to fully understand what is being said is paramount if children are to thrive. Tone of voice, pauses between words, where the emphasis is placed in a sentence, and the rhythm and pattern of speech all have an impact on the meaning of the words being spoken and the message they are meant to convey. Learning to listen carefully and comprehend those subtleties is not only an important prerequisite to reading comprehension, but also provides a rich resource for your children to draw upon when they want to convey their own thoughts and feelings.
In the All About Reading Pre-reading program, we foster your children’s listening comprehension by discussing stories and characters, expanding vocabulary, and exposing your children to a wide variety of listening experiences. In addition, through the poetry in our books, The Zigzag Zebra and Lizard Lou, and through the read-alouds, your children will absorb language patterns that are not used as frequently in normal conversation, but that are commonly used in books. And throughout our reading program we encourage you, the parents, to spend at least twenty minutes a day reading aloud to your children.
All of this combined activity will provide your children with hours and hours of delightful stories, factual accounts, and interesting information about people and places near and far—developing in your children not just the skill of listening comprehension, but also an eagerness to listen and learn and comprehend the big wide world around them.