Improve Your Listening Skills

National School Success Month

Reading Comprehension for September 8

Every day your ears get a workout. You hear the voices of family members, teachers, friends, and even strangers. You hear the TV and video programs you watch. You hear music on the radio, on tapes, and on CDs. You hear sounds that provide information about your surroundings, whether they are sounds of songbirds, dogs, roosters, and rustling leaves of the country, or the city sounds of horns honking, sirens blaring, and tires squealing. You hear sounds that represent emotions: sighs, giggles, sniffs, growls, gasps, or shouts.

You hear many different things each day. Some are important, while others are not. Are you listening to the things you hear? To be successful in school, you must learn how to tune in to the important things. You need to develop strong listening skills.

The first action you should take is to sit near the front of the classroom. The closer to the teacher you are, the fewer the distractions around you. You will be in a better position to hear what is said. You will be less likely to hear the whispers of students sitting in the rear of the classroom. You will be less likely to whisper to others yourself. If you are talking, you are not listening!

Tune out distractions. When you are listening to music, reading a good book, or playing a video game, you probably don't hear people call your name. Parents find this very frustrating, but it means that you've learned to tune out distractions. You need to take that skill with you to the classroom. Listen so carefully to your teacher that you don't notice the paper-rustling and pencil-tapping of your peers.

Be alert for clues that important information is coming. It might be obvious, such as a statement to "listen carefully," or "note the following three points." It might be more subtle, such as a change in vocal tone that makes a statement stand out. Of course, the biggest clue that your teacher is about to say something that you should remember is the announcement: "This will be on the test!"

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