Developing Listening Comprehension in Children

ESL curriculumIf English Second language children are interested and actively involved in what they are doing, they will learn to understand English. This article will present a type of activity that develops listening comprehension.

When children learn their first language they are often responding to their parent’s language in an active way. Their response frequently includes both physical action and verbal understanding. When we consider how much language children learn during those first years of their life, it alerts us to think about how we can duplicate the home situation in the classroom. We need to create a situation wherein they listen and make a physical response.

Criteria for Successfully Mimicking the Language Learning Environment in the Home

– control the difficulty of the language being presented.

ESL curriculum

An Exciting Story

– present the language in a meaningful and exciting way.

– provide a well organized classroom setting.

– present English in a setting that allows every ESL student to hear.

– motivate the children to listen through the use of pictures.

ESL curriculum

Action Game

– provide the children with an opportunity to respond physically.

As we consider how we can achieve listening plus a physical response, it’s important to remember that we are teaching listening and understanding. There are many aspects of this that we need to control if we are going to successfully create a learning situation that adapts to the classroom but mimics the first language learning situation of the home. Young children listen and understand before they speak. This activity does not deal with speaking.

Picture Bingo Fulfills the Above Criteria
It is an exciting game that requires the children to listen in order to successfully match the phrases that they hear to the pictures on the grid. It’s best if the pictures are related to a story that they have previously heard or read, as this makes the pictures more meaningful.

ESL curriculum

Picture Bingo

This game has many advantages:
– it relates the phrases and pictures to a subject they already know about.
– it allows for as much repetition as needed, as the children never get tired of playing.
– a student wins due to chance, and his or her understanding of the phrases.
– it provides enrichment vocabulary using the initial set of pictures.
– the colorful cards can be laminated and used many times.

Suggestions for Playing Picture Bingo

Give each student one Bingo card. If you have more students than cards, several children can have the same card but they shouldn’t be sitting together. The vocabulary will have been introduced in the lesson with the exception of a few words. The children are not expected to know the captions on the first or second time through the game. It is a learning process, so that after a few games they will be able to respond quickly. During the first games help the students and encourage them to help each other. Limit the amount of help as they become familiar with the material.

This simple game effectively integrates visual and auditory input. It is a wonderful motivator as the children never get tired of playing. It is suitable for children with a little vocabulary or for those who have had more experience with English. Children between the ages of six and twelve will find it exciting.

See Also:

Our Childrens’ ESL Storybooks make esl classes interesting!

ESL Storybooks

Teacher Productivity Power Tips

Hand Puppet Resources:

Simple Rod Puppets:  

About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page:
This entry was posted in Children's ESL, ESL Activities, ESL Suggestions, Listening Comprehension, Teaching English and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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