How to improve your child's listening comprehension

Storytelling Session for kids @ Advaitam HSR Layout Bangalore
Listening is one of the first senses to be activated in a child while still in the mothers womb. Listening is one of the most important part of our learning process throughout over lives. It is even more so important during early childhood education.

Listening is a medium or source of getting information or instructions. Once the data is received we need to make "sense" of the data and proceed with the next steps. Classroom education is predominantly listening based. We have teachers providing verbal information or explanation and children listening and learning. This means the child has to listen and also understand to complete the learning process.

This is, however, not the case. As we grow older our focus shifts to reading and talking. This means we are learning more visually i.e looking/reading than by listening. A lot has been written about difference between hearing and listening. The real outcome is the comprehending part where you make "sense" of all that you have heard.

Today, children are far more visually distracted to actually focus and pay attention to that is being spoken. Take this example, if you are listening to a song and want to focus deeper, what do you do? Well most of us close our eyes. Yes, the visual senses do tend to dominate and hence listening take a back seat.

Listening comprehension is a very important part of learning and understanding process. Children need to make the effort to focus on listening to teachers in the classroom and comprehending the information. In order to improve your child's listening skills you can engage them in the following easy activities / exercises:
1) Storytelling: This is by far one of the most useful activities. It must be noted that storytelling is not passive listening but also engaging in question and answer at the end of the session. In this session a short story is told and then the teacher should ask questions related to the story. This will ensure that children pay attention and are involved actively.

2) Chinese whisper or telephone: This is a fun activity which children enjoy a lot. In this activity children stand in a line and the first child whispers a message in the ear of the next child. This keep on going till the last child in the queue speaks out the message and the objective is that the final message is the same. However on many occasions this is not the case.

3) Follow the instructions: In this game children have to listen to a complex steps of instructions end to end once. Then they have to execute the instructions in the same sequence. This activity will be fun and entertaining for them.

4) Spot the error: In this game the speaker will talk about a topic and provide lots of information about it. In the process the speaker will intentionally mention erroneous information which the listener need to identify and call out immediately. 

Listening comprehension is very important for children and any issues with it will lead to learning difficulties. In order to overcome visual distractions, children need to consciously make an effort to focus on listening in the classroom environment.

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