Listening Activities for First Grade Students: Easy-to-Prepare Lessons in Building Comprehension

Getting your active first graders to listen can be a bit of challenge. Most first graders cannot simply sit up straight and still with folded hands. Listening activities for them should be interactive and practical to sharpen their skills without forgetting the element of fun!

Here are some listening activities that you can use in your first grade classroom:

1. The Blind Side

Group the students in pairs. For each pair, assign who will play the "blind artist" and the "smooth talker." The artists should be blindfolded while the teacher shows a picture to the talkers. The goal of each pair is to come up with an illustration similar to what the teacher will show. The "smooth talker" will give instructions on how the "blind artists" will draw the picture. The artists should listen carefully to the talker to draw the illustration. They can switch roles afterwards.

2. Simple Retelling

Prepare a short conversation or a short story composed of 4 to 5 words in each sentence. The goal of this activity is for the students to repeat each sentence after the teacher says each of them. For example, upon reading the first line of fairy tales such as "Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a princess named Snow White", the students must repeat the line as correctly as possible. Then the teacher can move on to the second line and so on. Afterwards, ask 2 to 3 questions about the text to test comprehension.

3. Bring Me

The teacher will orally ask the students for 4 or 5 items which they must bring after a certain period of time. Mention the items once. The items should have a theme which will test the students' comprehension of where the items can be found. Lessons in math can be incorporated such as numbers, shapes, sizes and colors.

Here's a sample script for the activity that can be done outdoors:

"You can find these things in nature. Bring me 3 small stones, 2 green leaves, a stick, and a pine cone."

4. 5W's and 1H

Share a simple story or a simple report orally. Group the class into 6 groups. Each group will have an assigned question to answer- who, what, where, why, when and how. As you tell the story, each group should remember the element of the story that they need to remember. For example, the "Who Group" must be able to mention the characters, the "Where Group" must be able to remember the places in the story, etc. Each group will report what they've remembered after the story has been read.

Adjust the groupings based on the type of the text. Prepare some group tags to remind the students of what they're supposed to listen for during the oral activity.

Here's a sample script for the students:

"The Who's in the story 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' are Snow White, the prince, the witch…" (Each student in the group must be able to give at least one character).