"A listening center is a designated spot in the classroom with a tape, CD player, or iPod with multiple headphones, where students typically listen to recordings of books and follow along in hard copies" (Wright, 2010, page 167). Hearing a book read on tape can help children focus on the sounds of words read without interruption and provides a model of fluent reading. Many books on tape have interesting sound effects, music, and multiple narrators that are especially motivating and fun for young children.
"The listening center also provides a space in the classroom where students can receive comprehensible input in a low-stress environment. Materials in the listening center should reinforce classroom instruction. For example, a teacher might leave a recording of a book or article he or she has read aloud so that students can hear it again. This type of repetition is particularly beneficial for ELLs, because they are likely to understand more of the story after each repeated listening" (Wright, 2010, page 167).
"When children regularly listen to the sophisticated language of stories, poetry, and nonfiction language that they may not have access to in any other way, they slowly assimilate the tools for critical thought and effective cognition" (Mooney, 2013, page 90). When children hear literature read aloud, they see how printed words can be closely connected with spoken words. In order for students to become successful readers, they need not only stronger vocabularies but they also need the ability to explore different genres and writing styles. By sharing a wide variety of genres and writing styles with children, teachers will prepare students with important experiences and knowledge for making sense of different texts when they encounter them on their own.
The benefits of listening centers:
- Models fluent reading
- Helps students decode unfamiliar words
- Teaches critical listening skills
- Introduces new vocabulary
- Provides a read-aloud model
- Introduces new genres that students might not otherwise consider
- Introduces students to books above their reading level
Benefits of Listening Centers for ELL students:
- Exposes students to patterns, intonation, expressions, different accents & dialects, and the pronunciation of a language
- Students are able to build on their vocabulary, gain prosody, and oral fluency as they make connections to what they hear and see throughout the text
- Helps students connect the sounds of their second language (possibly third, fourth..) with the print on the page
- Allows students to hear a story multiple times - Repeated readings have a significant impact on word recognition, fluency and comprehension
Listening Center Example:
In this example it explains that a listening center includes a collection of audiobooks that students can access and read within the classroom. As mentioned in the video, there are many benefits of incorporating listening centers, such as supporting the development of reading fluency, fostering independence, and introducing students to different styles of writing. This video then goes on to explain the benefits for ELL learners.
During Daily 5, teachers can set up a listening center for students. Listen to reading is a powerful reading strategy that is incorporated into the Daily 5 instruction. Teachers can select texts that are appropriate for each reading group, allowing students to build on their vocabulary and listen to fluent reading. Teachers can also provide a graphic organizer for students to complete once the story is over to assess their reading comprehension.
Teachers can provide audiotapes during a social studies unit to integrate news broadcasts, music and speeches by world leaders. For example, students learning about Martin Luther King Jr. can read and listen to the “I Have a Dream” speech in their listening centers.
Many students need support reading science texts. Having a listening center where they can read along with the books on discs can help students learn science content while developing and practicing other essential language arts skills. Content-area listening centers can also be integrated with other technology, which develops students research and the ability to access additional information.
Teachers can use listening centers in math when differentiating their instruction to meet the different learning needs of their students. For example, educators may record their voice for a math lesson and give specific math instructions for their students that can work independently. This will allow students to complete the assignment on their own or in small groups using the directions provided by the teacher. While students are listening to the recording, the classroom teacher can be with another group of students working hands on. This in turn, will allow teachers to meet the individual needs of each student in their classroom.
This picture shows what a listening center may look like in the classroom. You will notice that there are iPods and headphones available for students to use.
Here, students will listen attentively to audio recordings of stories as they build on their language and literacy skills.
In this picture, students are listening to a story modeled by a fluent reader. As you can see, each student is provided with a copy of the text and the audio player is in the center of the circle. Each student is listening to the recording as they follow along in the text. This can help students who are having trouble decoding because they have the opportunity to listen to the text in its spoken form. Students can also rewind the tape to emphasize phrasing, intonation and expression.
Campo, N. (n.d.). Listening Center | Scholastic.com. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/listening-center
Digital iPod Audio School Listening Center from AmpliVox: Using iPads in the Classroom. (2011, September 12). Retrieved September 25, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxK7nVSNd2M
Mooney, M. (2013). Reading to Children: A Positive Step on the Road to Literacy. Teaching K-8, 25, 90-92.
Wright, W. E. (2010). Foundations for teaching English language learners: Research, theory, policy, and practice. Philadelphia: Caslon Pub.