Oral Language Comprehension is the missing piece in learning a new language. Let’s see what research says

In this 2023 article “The forgotten language skill: Finding a prominent place for listening in meaningful programming for multilingual learners with learning
disabilities, author Tracy G. Spies explains the role of listening comprehension and its importance in learning English in the US. She provides an in-depth summary of the research in this area and makes a strong argument as to why we need to bring it back to the teaching of multilingual/bilingual students in the general and special education classroom as part of comprehensive model of reading instruction that address all areas of literacy including phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and oral language development (see National Literacy Panel report and the National Reading Panel Report). See the abstract below with full access found in https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/feduc.2023.1214535/full
“This article presents a conceptual analysis of listening comprehension across the perspectives of learning disability and second language acquisition in an effort to link disconnected understandings from the fields to address the intersectional needs of multilingual learners with disabilities. These findings are integrated into a framework of listening comprehension for multilingual learners with learning disabilities highlighting the cognitive and linguistic processes necessary for effective listening. Various examples of how to use the framework to plan multilingual learners with learning disabilities’ meaningful access to the general education curriculum are presented including its use in planning students’ individualized education plans.” (Spies, 2023

The most effective aspect that Spies presents that connects to teaching is when she states that listening comprehension serves as a scaffold to other literacy skills and should be added to every aspect of instruction. What does this mean? She addresses her argument by explaining the true science of reading research recommendations and where listening comprehension is critical to the other areas. It helps connect the mental imagery and vocabulary of students who are learning a new language. She provides case studies and videos to show exactly what her model demonstrates is a good next step in the classroom. Read more directly from her on the link above.


Spies, T. (Front. Educ., 19 July 2023 Sec. Special Educational Needs
Volume 8 – 2023 | https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2023.1214535

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