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Reading and Listening: Why Are These Skills Important?

Reading and Listening: Why Are These Skills Important? | ITTT | TEFL Blog

To begin with, receptive skills that are, reading and listening are important points in any language. Teachers need to be able to use them in their lessons to have a balanced approach when teaching.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate NCHANJI N. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Why do we read?

We read to achieve a purpose that is, to gain knowledge, and attain our aspirations and ambitions. For example, reading instructions for our new smart TV and following instructions. More often than not, we listen to or read the information because we find it pleasurable or enjoyable in some way. For example, reading a novel or listening to music. We may find reading a tour guide to a particular city of interest as it may also help achieve some specific purpose if we are on holiday. So sometimes our reasons for reading and listening will include varied motives.

Moreover, as teachers, we would simply say that we read with our eyes and listen with our ears. But that is not all because our minds must not only be able to recognize and understand the words but also be able to grasp the general meaning from our pre-existing knowledge of the world. For example, if an American was to walk past a newspaper stand and see the headline ‘Bears destroyed by Cowboys’, he/she would automatically be able to recognize that this was likely to be a text about an American football game and nothing to do with animal cruelty. This would be based upon his/her pre-existent knowledge, his/her context, and his/her environment. A non-American seeing this headline might not understand. Reading and listening are important because they help us develop language intuition.

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Predictive abilities

Furthermore, reading or listening abilities are important because they help predict the content of an article or dialogue from the introduction or headline. For example, when we are looking up information in a newspaper and we want to find out specific information, let’s say jobs, we do not read the whole newspaper. We move over to where it says jobs or opportunities for employment. Reading is also important because we should be able to get a general idea of a passage or story by just scanning the story not reading it entirely to get a hang or general understanding as to what it is about. What’s more, we may also read to understand everything in detail. For example, when reading or listening to detailed directions on how to get somewhere. We need to be able to understand the meaning of individual words or phrases from the context in which we read them. Listening helps to improve pronunciation and conversational skills. As teachers, we can help reinforce this through repetition and testing through dictation.

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Similarly, effective reading and listening lessons help students gain confidence.

Teaching receptive skills are important because students are enabled to either read and understand or listen to a text and be able to understand what it is all about. But teachers should consider selecting texts devoid of difficult words so students do not find the text too difficult. Moreover, teachers could find topics that students are interested in so there is active participation and motivation in class. Varying types of material or teaching aids help improve students reading and listening and as such is important. Teachers should use these materials to practice and reinforce different skills. Likewise, teachers should use realistic comprehension exercises that aid the student’s understanding.

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In conclusion, we can see that reading and listening are equally important and they all help improve our pronunciation and conversational skills. Reading and writing, reading and comprehension, listening and speaking, listening and comprehension, these are important for teaching communication skills.

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