Listening Comprehension Skills for Elementary Students


Although teachers devote numerous lessons to helping their students develop reading skills and strategies, often little time is devoted to developing listening comprehension skills. Many of our state-adopted reading programs understand the benefits of students practicing this skill and have used the teacher read-aloud as an avenue to meet the targeted comprehension skills for a given story. Unfortunately, most of the checking for understanding we do in the area of listening comprehension is subjective. We are not using measurable outcomes often enough to determine whether or not students have mastered a given comprehension skill by listening.

Just as we explicitly teach our students strategies to use while they are reading, we must also teach them strategies to use while they are listening so that comprehension follows. This means creating opportunities in our classrooms with a clear purpose for listening to help students master this skill. Providing a set of questions to use during a teacher read-aloud gives students a way to stay actively involved with the reading. These structured questions will provide the teacher with guided practice opportunities to ensure success for all learners.

By being engaged in the reading, students are able to answer questions, expand their vocabulary, participate in class discussions, and engage in writing prompts related to the reading.

We have included templates that you can use along with a teacher read-aloud of the Feature Story, “White Wolf,” in this issue. These templates will give students that reason for listening which will ultimately increase comprehension.


White Wolf Listening Comprehension Template: Grades K-1
The teacher reads the article, stopping at important ideas to allow students time to respond with details in the box to the right. Depending on ability, students can either draw their response or write words. When completed the template can be used by students to retell the important details of the article, helping to further their understanding.

White Wolf Listening Comprehension Template: Grades 2-3

White Wolf Listening Comprehension Template: Grades 4-5

Before reading, it is important to tell students what they are listening for. Students respond with either a complete sentence or JOT, which stands for just one, two, or three words.

The teacher reads the article, pausing periodically to allow students time to reflect and respond. Students may share their responses with a partner or table group. These brief discussions are beneficial and reassuring for students, especially those who might need extra support.

Listening Comprehension Literacy Set
Everything you need to teach and assess listening comprehension skills: a pdf version of this article, templates, and the illustrated and electronic book formats of “White Wolf” at three grade bands (K-1, 2-3, and 4-5).

This article was written by Tracey Allen and Clarissa Reeson. For more information, see the Contributors page. Email Kimberly Lightle, Principal Investigator, with any questions about the content of this site.

Copyright January 2009 – The Ohio State University. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. This work is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons license.

One thought on “Listening Comprehension Skills for Elementary Students

  1. hi please tell me more and help me about different and modern ways of conducting a research on listening comprehension and dictation or dicto-comp.

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