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At Worlds Awaiting we define literacy very broadly. We understand that literacy is about anything we do to communicate with or interact with our world—reading, writing, thinking, speaking, and listening are all a part of the literacy process. Today, let’s talk a little bit about listening. I think we all know that being a good listener is an important skill. And this is so true that the Common Core Standards that have been adopted in most states include listening as a part of the English Language Arts Standards. Here children are asked to learn about listening as part of the communication process - by taking turns (so you can listen to others) and listening closely (so you can ask and answer questions). Listening is part of being a good communicator. But being a good listener is not just about the communication process—it’s also about having good social skills. Listening is just a part of having good manners and it helps people to know that we care about them and want to be their friends. Helping children to learn and understand these social aspects of listening are an important part of their literacy development. At the very basic level, a good listener is someone who looks at a person while they are speaking, does not interrupt, and who pays attention to what is being said. Certainly, as with all literacy endeavors, teaching listening skills to children is a very complex process. But certainly, one of the best ways to teach listening skills is to be good listeners ourselves. Modeling the good manners of listening as we communicate with our children and other adults can go a long way to help children understand how to be good listeners themselves. For other resources, check out books like Teaching Children to Listen or look for other resources aimed at teachers and other professionals that will help provide fun activities and strategies to help your children develop the critical skill of listening.

By Rachel Wadham, host of Worlds Awaiting 

Common Core State Standards for Speaking and Listening.  Retrieved from: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/SL/K/

Say What? 5 Ways to Get Students to Listen by Rebecca Alber. Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/five-listening-strategies-rebecca-alber

Teaching Children to Listen: A Practical Approach to Developing Children’s Listening Skills by Liz Spooner and Jacqui Woodcock. Bloomsbury Academic, 2010.

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DISCLAIMER: 

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.


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