Listening is the interpretation of spoken language and includes three skills:
1) the recognition of discourses of sounds,
2) the understanding of the meaning of individual words, and
3) the understanding of the syntax of sentences
This complex skill requires a combination of micro-skills including – memory, attention, vocabulary, grammar, and comprehension monitoring.
Recognizing context in listening means that a person can relate what they hear to the real world and can symbolically recognize concepts with language, ultimately linking them together in order to understand what they heard and give it meaning.
Listening Comprehension Difficulty Indicators
- Has trouble following spoken directions, especially ones with multiple steps
- Often asks people to repeat what they’ve said
- Is easily distracted, especially by background noise or loud and sudden noises
- Has trouble with reading and spelling, which involve understanding sounds
- Has a hard time with math word problems
- Has trouble following conversations
- Has a hard time learning songs or nursery rhymes
- Has trouble remembering details of what was read or heard
- Unable to hold long conversations, sometimes “tunes people out”
Report Writing Tips for Documenting Listening Comprehension Difficulties
Be sure to include specific information about the student’s listening comprehension ability using the questions below:
- Was the student able to follow spoken directions involving more than one step?
- Did the student ask the assessor to repeat directions more than once? Is this consistent with behaviors in the classroom?
- Did the student seem easily distracted by background noise or sudden noises as compared to same-age peers?
- Did listening comprehension difficulties impact any other areas during the evaluation including reading and spelling skills as well as math word problems?
- Does the student struggle to follow conversations? Do they seem lost when conversing with others?
For more information on how to support students who struggle with listening comprehension, check out our Listening Comprehension document by clicking the button below.
Braaten, E. (2007). The child clinician’s report writing handbook. Guilford Press.
Kaufman, A.S., & Kaufman, N.L. (2014). Kaufman test of educational achievement, third edition. Bloomington, MN: NCS Pearson.
Mather, N., & Wendling, B.J. (2014). Examiner’s Manual. Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement. Rolling Meadows, IL: Riverside Publishing.
NCS Pearson. (2020). Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (4th ed.).
Ontario Teachers Federation. (2021). Listening Comprehension Skills.
Ventura County SELPA. (2019). The Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses Manual.
Understood. (2021). Understand your child’s trouble with listening comprehension. https://www.understood.org/articles/en/understanding-your-childs-trouble-with-listening-comprehension