Why not use the songs, stories, videos, games and tongue twisters on LearnEnglish Kids for listening practice with your young learners?
Here are some tips and ideas on how to use LearnEnglish Kids for listening practice with your classes.
Where can I find listening materials?
Click on the listen & watch tab at the top of the home page to find lots of listening practice. In this section there are lots of different types of listening including:
- Songs – You can find a range of classics such as The wheels on the bus or Incy Wincy spider and original songs like Flying from the sun to the stars. There are lots of new songs too, such as The Grand Old Duke of York. You will gradually see all our songs being made available in Flash and on YouTube so you can watch them in High Definition and in full screen to make watching in the classroom even easier.
- Short stories – There are both traditional and original stories to listen to and/or read. Lots have interactive stages where children can choose their favourite ending or answer a question to continue the story.
- Kids talk – These are short video clips of children talking about different aspects of their lives, such as their school, sports and food.
- Kids news – We have a wide selection of videos from a British TV programme called ‘What’s Your News?’ where kids talk about their news and interact with the animated characters.
- Practise your listening – A few extra games and fun activities specifically designed for practising listening skills.
- Tongue twisters – A great way to listen to authentic English, improve your pronunciation and have fun at the same time.
We need to give students a reason to listen.
- Giving activities before, during and after listening means that students are not just listening but are engaged in the task, and actually doing something with what they hear.
- We should also use English in class as much as possible so our students get maximum listening practice. Even if you are not confident with your own accent they will be learning more than if you speak only to them in your first language.
How can I use the listening materials in class?
Before listening to songs, short stories or kids talk videos, you could:
- Introduce the topic and revise or pre-teach vocabulary with flashcards. Remember you can make your own flashcards with our flashcard maker tool. You could drill new words with the learners then play a quick game with the cards. For example, show the class some flashcards then mix them up and remove one - ask which one is missing. Alternatively, show the students 10 cards then turn them over and ask them to remember the pictures.
- You can also find the flashcards you need easily by using the Learning Resources section on the new Parents section of the LearnEnglish Kids site. Click on the Flashcards tab and then select the topic you are looking for.
- If there is a pre-listening activity (for example, a matching or jigsaw task which appears automatically on the screen), do this with your learners to set the scene and learn some vocabulary before listening.
- Look at the still image of the story, song or video before you listen, ask students to predict which words they are going to hear and what it’s going to be about. Write the students’ ideas and words on the board.
Tasks that students can do during listening include:
- Checking whether their predictions about which words they would hear are correct.
- Completing the printable worksheets or answering questions. Most of the songs, short stories and kids talk videos have printable worksheets or questions to answer directly under each item.
- Students probably need to listen more than once to complete these tasks. The first time they listen for the main idea, then in subsequent listenings for more detail and more depth of understanding.
- Singing along to songs of course! Actions will make the song more memorable and fun. Kids will love copying the actions they see on the screen but feel free to make up your own too!
After listening you could:
- Use the transcripts of the videos for language focus, for example, picking out useful expressions, question words, or negative/positive verb structures. Find the transcripts under each video.
- Do any extension activities on the printable worksheets.
- Use the listening activity as a starting point for project work on a similar theme. There are craft downloads (masks, puppets, pictures to colour and more) available which you might find useful for this.
- If your students are registered on the site they can write comments under the material they have listened to. Registration only takes a minute but users need to have an email address. Encourage your students to register at home with the help of their parents and then you can keep a record of their usernames in your class for subsequent access to the site.
With very young learners:
- You could introduce the listening topic and focus attention with puppets. The puppet can talk about a song or story or point to pictures related to the listening material. Use a simple picture on a stick or even a sock.
- While children are listening, get them to respond physically to what they hear. They can point to flash cards on the wall when they hear or see certain characters or words. They could also stand up or shout out each time they hear certain words – depending on how noisy or active you want the children to be. As we mentioned earlier, you can invent actions for songs or let the children invent their own, taking it in turns to be the leader.
- Use flashcards for a ‘run and touch’ activity after listening. You say the word, then learners run (or hop or swim, etc.) to that flashcard on the wall.
- There are worksheets for very young learners who have basic reading and writing skills with the ‘Kids News’ videos. Click on ‘Print an easy activity to do with this video’.
What else can I do?
Practise and revise lexical sets with the listening games and activities in Fun with English. These are great for individual work on a visit to the computer room, to revise vocabulary, a treat at the end of class, a change of focus in class, or as a warmer at the start of the lesson.
- Students have to listen carefully for specific information to click their way around the mazes. There are mazes on sports, weather, money, and music.
- Identipet, spot the dragon and face match ask students to listen to descriptions and match with the correct picture.
- Practise listening to the time, the world weather, and Ryan spending his pocket money and more in the interactive listening activities.
Further reading on listening
- Read about teaching listening (and speaking) to very young learners: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/language-assistant/primary-tips/teaching-speaking-listening-skills
- This article is specifically about teaching listening to teenagers: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/articles/helping-teens-listen
- Here is an article about using traditional songs with primary students: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/try/teaching-kids/using-traditional-songs
By Sally Trowbridge
When you have used some of these ideas, why not come back to this page and leave a comment below to tell us how your class went. We’d love to know if you have any additional ideas!
You can send feedback on anything you’ve used on LearnEnglish Kids here: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/contact
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