Language Development: 2 to 4 Years Old: Learning to Listen

Listening skills play an important role in communication, learning and especially the development of reading skills. We live in a world where there is noise around us at all times. Hence children may become accustomed to blocking out background noises and employing a ‘half-listening’strategy to life. There are many ways to encourage children to listen actively. Don’t expect miracles though as it will take time, and practice.

In order to learn to read, children need to be able to hear that words are made of different sounds. They need to be able to focus on listening in an attentive manner and become aware of as many sounds as possible.

Listening Games to play:

  1. Ask the child to close their eyes and keep very still to see how many sounds they can hear. This is a fun game that can be played indoors or outdoors and you can play along too.
  2. Ask the child to close their eyes, and by listening, explain what you are doing. For example, blowing your nose, sharpening a pencil, bouncing a ball, closing a door, etc.
  3. Choose three items, for example; a pencil, a coin and a paper clip. Drop the items in a tin, one at a time, and ask them to try and guess what the item is.
  4. Play clapping games with syllables. Clap each others names or the names of objects. For example, Ky-le, pen-cil, po-ta-to, etc. You can expand this to all the people in their world and as many familiar objects as you like. Ask the child to clap the names of their favorite people, gra-nny, da-ddy etc.
  5. Purchase stories on CD. Get them to listen to these. Listening to stories on CD will assist in expanding the child’s attention span.

Learning to Listen for 2 to 4 year olds

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