Practice Listening Comprehension with Listen and Sketch

strategy tips Dec 06, 2022

Looking for a low-prep December strategy that still packs literacy benefits? 

The classroom is a buzz of activity and energy this time of year. If you're looking to calm the energy, increase engagement, all while practicing literacy skills, look no farther than Listen and Sketch. 

Listen and Sketch is a GLAD strategy where teachers read a descriptive text in chunks. During the reading, students listen. When the teacher pauses, students sketch. The Listen and Sketch strategy practices listening comprehension and visualization.  

There is a growing body of research on the importance of oral language development and listening comprehension. The more background knowledge and vocabulary young children have early on, the better readers they will become.  

Primary reading instruction is a 2-prong model. Students learn decoding skills and comprehension and language skills. However, the same texts cannot be used for these two types of instruction because students' cognitive ability surpasses the words they can decode. The number of rare words per/1000 in children's books is double than found in the speech of college educated adults.  

Therefore, kids need access to complex text for optimum language and cognitive development, because text requires precise vocabulary and formal grammatical structures. Listening comprehension in the early years leads to reading comprehension in later years.  

Do older students benefit from Read Alouds too? 

When children listen to a story, they are required to incorporate words and sentences, story elements, and prior knowledge to construct a mental model of what they hear, but they are free from the cognitive load of decoding words they do not know. Reading comprehension uses these same cognitive processes but adds decoding to this.  

Students with reading comprehension deficits are usually not identified until the intermediate grades when their decoding and word recognition skills have developed. Studies suggest that these students also had listening comprehension trouble that could be identified as early as 15 months. This would suggest that interventions for poor reading comprehension include listening comprehension of descriptive text, developing students' background knowledge, and strengthening vocabulary.  

Give the Listen & Sketch a try no matter what grade you teach!  


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