Listening 2: An Important Skill For Children

Listening Can Be Fun

One fun way to help children listen is to play listening games. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • Simon Says – ‘One person calls out instructions that the rest of the players must perform. Instructions usually include actions such as ‘put your hand on your head’ or ‘hop on one leg’. However, they only do the actions if the speaker says ‘Simon says’ before giving the instruction. When the players do the action without hearing ‘Simon says’, they’re disqualified.’ 
  • The Whisper Game – ‘One person begins by whispering a sentence to the next person. They then have to whisper it to their neighbo(u)r and so on until the last person announces the sentence out loud. The first person should write down their sentence so that they can show the players what they actually said.’
  • Musical Chairs – ‘Everyone starts by sitting in a chair and then music plays. They must walk (or dance!) around the chairs while one is removed. Then when the music stops, everyone must sit in a chair. The person who is still standing is out.’
  • Group Story – ‘One person starts a story by saying one or two sentences and then everyone takes turn to continue the story from the last person’s idea.’
  • Traffic Lights – ‘Based on actual traffic lights, in this game red means stop and green means go. It’s more fun if you add other colours and assign them different actions, so yellow could be walk like a crab and blue could be jumping jacks. The idea is to have your kids race to the end with you calling out the traffic lights. Set them off with a green light and stop them with red.’
  • Sound hunt – ‘In this game, you go outdoors and have your little one identify all of the sounds that they hear.’
  • Musical Statues – Music is played and the children dance and when the music stops, everyone must freeze in that position. Anyone that moves is out. This goes on until there is a clear winner/winners. ( Most of these taken from

Audio Books Are A Great Resource For Parents And Children

From a parent’s perspective…

From a parent’s and teacher’s perspective

  • Audio books help develop your child’s imagination because your child must picture the scenes and characters described.
  • They promote a better vocabulary and understanding of words, their meaning, and how they work.
  • You child may be encouraged to read the book upon which the audio is based.
  • Audio books help children cope better with long journeys as they can be played in the car or even on trains and buses.
  • Children who find it hard to sleep alone may find it easier to do so if they listen to stories when they go to bed in order to relax.
  • Audio books introduce new genres of literature to your child, opening up a completely new world of books.
  • Great for developing listening skills because they require quiet concentration.
  • Hearing books read aloud teaches an appreciation of phrasing.
  • Authors write some books to be read aloud, and listening to them is more authentic than reading them.
  • Audio books help your child understand complex language.
  • Listening to a book read helps your child learn punctuation, enunciation, and emphasis, all of which bring out the meaning of a text and improve speaking and writing skills.
  • Children who listen to audio books learn to understand language above their reading level, and learn new words and advanced constructs.
  • Audio books are excellent tools for dyslexics and children with other reading disabilities. If your child has an attention deficit disorder, listening is more distraction-free than reading.
  • Your child can listen to audio books anywhere.
  • Your child may be motivated to read more by an author they’ve been introduced to through an audiobook

From a child’s perspective…

In 2020, the National Literacy Trust, which is an English charity, produced a very interesting report on ‘Children, Young People and Audiobooks Before and During Lockdown’.

What is interesting is what the children themselves say. For example…

“I do not have many things to do and listening to audiobooks is a nice
way to relax and escape from things that are going on around me.”
“I enjoy listening to Audible and reading more because it relaxes me
and takes me out of [what’s] going on for at least half an hour. It also
calms me down if I am [too] giddy or anything like that.”

Poetry and Listening

Like a piece of music, a poem needs to be lifted off the page, to be spoken and heard. For young children, much of the pleasure is in a poem’s sound, while older children often don’t mind if they don’t fully understand a poem that they hear.

Most poems are best encountered first by hearing. The more we listen to poetry, the more we become tuned in to the way meaning is conveyed through sound.

This link is a great resource for listening to poems with children

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