5WaysIn most schools, the skill of listening comprehension gets little attention. Now that state and national assessments are starting to include listening items, it’s important to find ways to incorporate listening comprehension practice into lessons.

Listenwise can be used throughout instruction whether in whole group, small group, or independent learning. Our podcasts can be used to engage students, to practice listening, to extend learning, to reinforce content and concepts, to support research papers or persuasive essays, or as a review of content. They can also clarify concepts, preview a thematic unit, provide background information, teach academic vocabulary, support assignments or spark class debates and discussions.

With all of these options available, here are 5 ways you can get started listening with your students. Make sure you are signed up for a Premium Trial in order to access all the lesson supports.

1. Get Students Focused

Make sure students are comfortable and the immediate environment is not distracting. As students listen their attention may start wander, which is normal. Some students may need to close their eyes to fully focus on the audio, and some students may need to use the Language Identification checklist to follow along and track important phrases while listening to the story. Show students that sometimes doodling or another tactile activity can help them listen better than sitting still. Students will have individual preferences so have them experiment with a few different ways to stay focused.

2. Model Good Listening

Just as you would model what a good reader does, model what a good listener does. Talk through your thought process to show students your thinking throughout an audio story. When the content is more complex, students may need more time to absorb the concepts. Go slowly and stop the audio to review what was said or to clarify content as needed.

3. Interact with the Audio

Introduce listening as a class and encourage social interaction. Provide students with opportunities to discuss the content and give their opinions. Stop the audio often to discuss the reactions and ideas of other students. Creating a social and interactive experience will motivate students to listen more closely so they can participate in the discussion.

4. Set up a Routine

To incorporate listening into your instruction, set up a predictable schedule. For example, set up a Listening Tuesday, Current Events Wednesday, or Debate Friday. After initial instruction on using the site, students will be able to listen to the stories that are aligned to your curriculum in a small group, whole class, or independently.

5. Align Podcast Lesson to your Curriculum

Use Listenwise’s Browse by Standards feature to find targeted standards and the lessons that teach the skills in each standard. The lessons align to state-specific standards as well as speaking and listening standards and national science standards. You can also search by grade band, subject, topic (i.e. Civil Rights), or theme (i.e. Technology).

Search for topics you will be teaching next, save the stories to your Favorites or click Assign when you are ready to create differentiated assignments for your students.

Suggested Podcasts to Get Started:

  • Japanese Knotweed’s Strange Superpowers – This story elicits interest in students of all ages and sparks discussion about how quickly this plant grows and can destroy anything in its path.
  • How Sound Works – This story tells the importance of sound in the survival of humans and how sounds help us understand the world.
  • A New Human-like Species – This story tells about the discovery of fossils that resulted in a new species of humans recently added to the genus Homo.