Attention and Listening Skills

School Years 3-6

ATTENTION AND LISTENING – Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 (KS2)

What is Attention and Listening?

Good listening skills are important for being able to join in with activities and interacting with others.

The development of listening and attention skills is essential to promote a child’s understanding and use of language.

In Year 3, 4, 5 & 6 children will usually…….

  • Have flexible attention which can be sustained for lengthy periods.
  • Be much more able to be selective about what they need to listen to and are able integrate listening with other tasks.
  • Be able to integrate visual and auditory information with ease.
  • Be able to be taught in a group.
  • Be able to listen to instruction whilst completing another activity e.g. hear they need to tidy up in 5 minutes whilst finishing their topic work.
  • Be able to integrate visual and auditory information with ease e.g. looking at diagrams/ pictures on the board whilst being able to listen to the speaker about a wider topic.
  • Be able to listen without necessarily looking at the speaker e.g. completing an activity whilst listening out for the next instructions.
  • Be able to select key pieces of information from long verbal instructions.

You can help by:

  • Making sure you look at the child you are speaking to.
  • Ensuring you have the child’s attention before giving the instruction e.g. say the child’s name first and wait for him/her to look.
  • Minimising distracting background noise both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Minimising visual distractions, especially behind the teacher.
  • Trying to keep child’s desk free from unneeded items.
  • Discuss “good listening” with the whole class, initially on a regular basis. Some children need to learn how to listen i.e:
    • Good sitting.
    • Looking at the person who is speaking.
    • Good waiting and turn taking.
    • Thinking about the words and what they mean.
    • Keeping your body still.
  • Giving specific feedback to the child about his/her listening skills e.g. “I can see you sat still and listening hard”. “well done for asking me to repeat, when you missed a bit of information”.
  • Ensuring the child is not mid-task when you give a new instruction.
  • Using visual task plans to focus the child’s attention. Please see advice sheet and an example in resources.