Speech-language pathologists and educators know how important effective listening comprehension is for school and life success. Many children who have difficulty learning academic concepts and underlying language concepts struggle with listening comprehension. Active listening is an essential skill for children at school, home, and during everyday activities in their community. Often times, teachers notice when children are having a hard time listening, remembering details, and understanding what they are taught. The first thing to rule out or confirm is if children with suspected difficulty have hearing loss. After that, it is necessary to determine if children are having difficulty focusing and comprehending what is said, focusing only, or if they are focused but are still not comprehending what is said.
Children who have significant attention difficulties and truly have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) may or may not also struggle with listening comprehension on a consistent basis. It will depend on if they have a system in place to manage their ADD/ADHD symptoms. Other children may be easily distracted or zone out in class due to medical needs (e.g. absence seizures) or social/emotional issues. It is important that service providers consider the possible reasons for a child’s behavior and academic performance. Other children may have difficulty with comprehending oral information because they don’t understand the vocabulary or are unable to make meaning of long sentences. Some children may also have difficulty with short term auditory memory and therefore struggle with remembering details during listening tasks.
Speech-language pathologists are frequently asked to consult on cases when children are struggling to follow verbal directions and comprehend verbal information from their teachers. Listening is one of 4 overall components of essential literacy skills for school and life success. The other 3 areas are speaking, reading, and writing abilities. Educators may use this informal assessment to evaluate children in preschool-5th grade. It will provide a quick overview of listening abilities of young children. Then teachers can select targeted intervention (RTI) to teach struggling students. Next they can monitor their progress by repeating relevant portions of the Listening Comprehension Progress Monitoring tool after children receive intervention for several weeks.
Similarly, speech-language pathologists can administer this tool to students already receiving speech-language therapy services. It can be given at the beginning of the school year for SLPs who work in the school system. It may also be given to children receiving private speech-language therapy services prior to receiving intervention in the area of listening comprehension. Use the portions of the Listening Comprehension Progress Monitoring tool that you determine is most appropriate for each student. There are basic 1 step directions, directions with embedded concepts (spatial, qualitative, quantitative, temporal, conditional), 1 sentence level questions, 3 sentence level questions, 5 fiction passages, and 5 non-fiction passages included in this product.
After several speech-language therapy or teacher intervention sessions, read aloud the same sections previously administered in this informal assessment tool. Each part of this tool may be given 3 additional times to monitor children’s progress over an extended period of time. If you prefer, you can administer a different fiction and/or non-fiction passage from this tool to monitor students’ progress after receiving speech-language therapy or Response to Intervention (RTI).
I recommend that you note observations and background information on this tool to help rule out and/or confirm potential related contributing factors to listening comprehension difficulty. Remember to note:
1) Hearing- within normal limits or not within normal limits (failed hearing screening, conductive hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss)
2) Medical concerns- per parent report/file review (e.g. absence seizures, etc.)
3)Possible short term auditory memory difficulties- due to no response or incorrect responses to verbal instructions
3) Behavioral signs- distracted, appears to day dream, says “what” frequently, blank stare, appears frustrated, presents as lacking confidence, inattentive
You can see a preview of this product and gain direct access to this digital download in my TPT curriculum store.
If an SLP or teacher thinks certain children may have short term auditory memory weakness, they should receive an informal evaluation and RTI in that area. HearBuilder has a web based intervention program for auditory memory that may be beneficial to remediate children’s weak skills. It is also available as an app in the iTunes store. Private practice speech-language pathologists can also target remediating auditory memory difficulties as well.
If you have any questions or concerns about children with listening comprehension difficulties or with this tool, you may leave me a comment below or contact me here.