I hear with my two ears…
Have you ever thought about the fact that the word ear is in hear?
I don’t think we always appreciate how amazing this sense is until we are faced with a change. Since we have been in lockdown and the world has become quieter I’ve discovered I probably have tinnitus. Now it’s not too bad otherwise I’d have noticed it before. How long have I had it? Again I’m not sure. But now it’s quiet and I can hear the buzzing all the time. Luckily for me it doesn’t keep me awake and when the TV is on I don’t notice it.
When do we learn to hear?
Your sense of hearing forms before you’re born and is often the last sense to go.
We learn to distinguish our parents’ voices from early on. This ability to distinguish different voices and sounds will eventually support us in hearing sounds in spoken words. But first we need to develop and hone this skill.
What should we do to help develop this skill?
Here are a few ideas
- Go on a listening walk, at home (different clocks ticking), in the garden (different bird calls) out in the street (different vehicle sounds).
- Have quiet times without background sound to really listen.
- Listening to stories.
- Taking turns listening in a conversation.
- Make homemade or use shop bought instruments. Which sounds similar?
- Download an app that makes animal noises for children to guess which animal.
- Make duplicate sets of shakers using pots or boxes. Fill two containers in with the same objects. Eg 2 with rice, 2 with pasta, 2 with buttons or 2 with coins and get children to match them up.
- Listen to different types of music and draw or colour as you listen to each one.
Why do we need to work on listening activities?
Even when children begin to be able to hear individual sounds in words they still need to continue working on sound discrimination if they are to be able to hear the more subtle differences between some sounds. These sounds sound very similar – m and n, b and p and then th, f and v – they are made in a similar way with our mouths.
What impact does this have on children?
I’ve found that even when teaching year 1 children they still can’t always hear the subtle differences. Words like ‘with’ are often spelt wiv or wif because of the th, v and f sounds all sounding very similar to each other. What we hear and what we say impacts on how we spell.
So keep listening everyone! It’s a skill we need all our lives.
I can not say enough about listening activities and continuing to place an emphasis on them even when children begin school.