Thinking & Learning

Listening to Understand

Learning to read isn’t just about learning to sound out and recognize words. As your child is developing the building blocks of reading, they’re also gaining new skills understanding what they read—or what is being read to them. In fact, listening itself is a vital literacy skill.

Here’s what you can expect your early elementary student to be learning:


In kindergarten: They’ll be able to listen to a story, understand where and when it takes place, and talk about the main idea of the text. They’ll also start to recognize features of a text, like where the author’s and illustrator’s names are listed.


In first grade: They’ll begin to learn how to get information from a text, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. For example, they’ll start to be able to interpret a table of contents or look for print features (like section headings) that provide information. They’ll be able to identify who is telling a story, understand differences between different types of texts, retell stories, and predict what might happen next.


In second grade: They’ll start connecting what they read to personal experiences, other stories they’ve read, and even what’s happening in the world. They’ll also learn to gather information from texts to answer questions.

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