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How to Practice English Listening Comprehension Skills

By Mike Shelby

In order to have good skills in listening comprehension in English and to speak it fluently, a learner should practise listening to audio and video aids in English (dialogues, thematic texts and narrative stories). It is preferable to have English transcripts of audio and video material. I suggest that learners practice listening comprehension with subsequent speaking in the following sequence:

  1. Learners should listen to each sentence several times. At the same time they should see each sentence in the transcript.
  2. Learners need to make sure they understand everything clearly in each sentence in terms of pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar.
  3. Without looking into the transcript, learners should try to repeat each sentence (say it aloud) exactly as they heard it. Without being able to repeat a sentence, a learner cannot understand it.
  4. Then it is essential that learners listen to that particular conversation or text (story) in short paragraphs or chunks, say each paragraph aloud, and compare to the transcript.
  5. Finally it is necessary that learners listen to the whole conversation or story without interruption several times, and try to tell the content of the whole conversation or text (story) they heard. They can write key words and phrases, or main ideas as a plan, or questions on that particular dialogue or text to make easier for them to convey their content in English. It is important for learners to compare what they said to the transcript.

Thank you to Mike Shelby for offering this advice on improving listening comprehension skills in English based on his considerable English teaching experience.

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