It is well known and accepted that listening comprehension plays a key role in foreign language learning – especially with young learners – and is at the heart of successful language learning. It’s also arguably the most difficult language skill to acquire and is a key difference in the success, or failure, of language acquisition.
Studies have shown that input (listening to the language) that is comprehensible to the learner is critical to successful language acquisition as well as to comprehensible output (speaking).
Because speech is a series of sound units that are strung together and run into each other when spoken by a native speaker, the individual elements are difficult to distinguish with an untrained ear. The lack of clarity that is characteristic of spoken language can make word segmentation extremely difficult for the second language learner.
Especially when the velocity of the delivery is only slightly slower than the speed of light!
And the only way to train the ear to distinguish sounds in other languages is to listen, and listen, and listen.
There are any number of websites on the internet with great ideas, advice and resources to help kids (and adults) brush up on their listening comprehension, but here are 4 great strategies to develop your child’s listening comprehension skills: