The Importance of Listening
Children began to listen long before they read, write, or speak. Some children enter school without ever having listened consciously or been held responsible for listening. For many children, listening is the most important medium of listening. Growth in the other skills of communication is always conditioned by the ability to listen. Listening is a complex process, since it involves a physical process of hearing both mental and emotional factors. Listening like reading is a process of meanings with symbols. In one case, the symbols are aural and in another, visual. It is the child’s ability to understand on the depth and variety of the concepts, word meanings, and language skills the child has developed. The child builds meanings and concepts through experiences. Thus, opportunity to plan, observe, explore, and talk are essential to growth in LISTENING!
Sounds Around Us Activities
1. What Is It?
The teacher asks the children to close their eyes. The teacher makes familiar sounds and asks the children to identify each. Examples: crushing of paper, tapping a pencil, writing on a chalkboard or whiteboard, clapping hands, tapping a glass, whistling, knocking on a door, dropping a coin, etc. After a little practice, one child may make a sound while the rest of the group guesses.
2. What Do You Hear?
Choose a time when the children can hear sounds in the streets, the halls, or classrooms. The teacher asks: “What different sounds can you hear?” Another day would be in another area like outside.
3. Near or Far
Children may be encouraged to discriminate between sounds that are near or far away. If a siren or a moving vehicle is heard in the distance, the teacher may call attention to the way the sound changes as it comes near or far.
4. High or Low?
The ability to discriminate between high or low pitches may be distinguished by playing two notes on a piano and asking “which is higher or which is lower?” Many games can be devised and other instruments or objects can be used to demonstrate these sounds.
5. Loud or Soft
Ask the children to identify familiar sounds that are very loud and familiar sounds that are very soft like banging of a hammer, light tap, a shout, a whisper. The teacher may ask the children to make the sounds like “What sound will a big bell make?” or “What sound will a big dog make?” or “What sound will a small puppy make?”
6. What Animal Am I?
The teacher makes the sounds associated with familiar animals (cat, dog, mouse, kitten, duck, hen, chick, rooster, donkey, pig, cow, horse, turkey, frog), and the children name the animals. The game can be made with two lines. One line with one child makes the sound and the other line tries to guess the sound. Then the other line gets a chance to make the sounds.
7. What Sound DO I Make?
Let children pretend that they are various animals and ask them to make the sounds made by the animals. Examples: Pretend you are a bee or a frog or a duck. What sound do you make for a bee or a frog or a duck? Add the song “Old McDonald Had a Farm” to the animal sounds.
8. Imitating Drum Beats
The teacher or the child beats the drum a certain number of times as all the children listen. One child is called to repeat the same number of drum beats by clapping. If correct, the new leader will be the next drummer. You can later make it more complex by adding slow beats with fast beats.
9. Echo Game
The child wears a crown labeled “speaker” and stands in one corner of the room. The child wearing a crown labeled “echo” stands in the opposite corner. The “speaker” says something in a clear, natural tone. The “echo” repeats the words. Then, each child passes the crown to another.
10. You Must
This game is a variation on “Simon Says.” The children form a circle. The leader stands in the center of the circle to give directions. Whenever the child gives a direction and introduces it with “you must,” the children in the circle follows the directions given. Children ignore the directions if “you must” is not said. If this occurs, the child is out of the game. Examples: “You must walk forward” or “You must hop on one foot.”
11. Listen Carefully
This activity gives practice to simple directions with crayons. Examples: Draw a red line near the top of your page or draw a blue cat in the middle of your page or use a yellow crayon and make a round circle near the bottom of your page. Later, you can add other directions like “put a black mark in the round circle.”
12. Who Has The Bell?
One child is selected by the teacher to be the listener. The teacher will go around the room, place the bell on a child’s lap, go to the front of the room and say: Ring the bell! Who has the bell?” The listener has three (3) guesses and if the child guesses correctly, then the child who rang the bell becomes the listener.