We may think reading is the act of looking at words, but listening is the first step to reading. We refer to it as “ear reading” because we are building vocabulary, gaining information and understanding about what we are listening to. Those are all key components of learning to read and writing.

How Audio Promotes

Babies and toddlers love to listen to talking, and the more words they hear, the more they are able to understand sounds and build their own language skills.

As children grow, listening builds comprehension – how much we understand what we read. For the 1 in 5 with a learning, attention, or certain processing challenge, listening is the way they gain reading skills more easily, and can build on their gifts.

We often talk about how important it is to read to a child every day. For the quarter of adults don’t like to read, or struggle to read themselves, reading to a child is hard. For those adults, talking and listening are ways to help the children in their lives read.

How to create opportunities to listen

  • Watch TV with the subtitles or captions on

  • Listen to podcasts, available on the Internet or on smartphones

  • Listen to audiobooks

  • Talk about family stories and traditions

  • Cook together, describing the process and the foods that go in the meal

  • Be curious! Ask questions about what you watch on TV: Why do you think something happened? How could we do it differently? What do you think will happen next?

  • Sing! Listen to songs together and talk about the words

  • Read signs on the road together

  • Play games in the car – I Spy is a great one to help a child

Over the winter holidays when children are out of school is a great time to keep “ear reading.” Even as busy as the season is for adults, we can add in more time to listen!