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Similarities between Comprehension in Listening and Reading

Today I would like posting about comprehension and its similarities between comprehension in listening and Reading. There are striking similarities between the comprehension processes involved in listening and reading, as summarized in Table 3.1. Listening involves learning how to make “reasonable interpretations” of an oral text (Brown & Yule, 1983, p. 57), whereas reading involves the same process for a written text. There are other similarities as well. Listening comprehension is the knowledge of language that includes all of the content of a language—its vocabulary, syntax, meanings—that can be borne by the oral text alone, whereas literacy situates all of that language content within a written system. Oracy acts as the bridge between a natural language process, which is listening, and an unnatural process, which is reading.
All of us learn to listen in our native language, and the habit of listening comprehension becomes automatic and unconscious by the time we begin school. Once we become literate, we only reference our listening vocabulary when we are trying to retrieve something specific, such as a new or tricky word we are trying to spell, understand, or decode.

These are some similarities comprehension in listening and reading;
  1. Both require active construction of meaning, with interaction between the text (oral or written) and the person.
  2. For both reading and listening, text is remembered as the “gist,” not the exact words.
  3. Both listening and reading require phonological awareness.
  4. Both the reading and listening processes benefit from larger vocabularies.
  5. Reading and listening comprehension require having the concept of word (as a unit of meaning which can be manipulated).
  6. English has many similar-looking and similar-sounding words, and these can be confusing.
  7. Longer words are harder to store, retain, and retrieve from memory.
  8. When context is stripped away, comprehension becomes much more difficult.
  9. Automaticity facilitates the ability to construct meaning for both listening and reading, and this can be developed.
  10. Learners need to become familiar with different genres and what can be expected from the structure of the genres.
  11. Listening or reading tasks vary according to different purposes, different texts, and different contexts.
  12. Both intensive and extensive practice are needed to improve listening and reading levels.
  13. Both listening and reading require knowledge of English syntax patterns in order to make good guesses about what is coming next.

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