Could Story Telling Be The Answer To My Childs Listening Problem?

Help your child list through story telling

“My child doesn’t pay attention to information. How can I help them retain information?”

Listening is an important factor in learning and an integral part of speech and language development. And paying attention and listening to what other people are saying can be difficult for some children. E.g. They may be easily distracted.

You could use the broken record effect with your child to get them to listen but this isn’t enjoyable for you or for your child. So why not try some alternative ways to help your child to listen better.

One way to do this is through the use of story time. Below I let you into my secret – the three things I’ve used to help children develop their listening skills.

1. Encourage Imagination

Rather than using picture books every time you read to your child, try using some non picture books and encourage your child to create visual stories in their mind while you read to them. A fun way to do this is to have your child act out the story with toys. You may like to use finger puppets. When you do this your child is actively listening to the story and processing the information in order to then act it out.

2. Involve your child by asking thought provoking questions throughout the story

How many times have you been in a meeting or in a lecture where you’ve suddenly realised that your mind has wandered onto other things and you have no idea as to what has been said? It’s often much easier for us to pay attention and listen well when we feel involved. In the same way, effective questions during story time will help your child to get involved. They call for a response, either oral or mental. When you use good use of questioning you help your child to think and listen actively rather than listen passively.

Some examples of questioning:

  • What: What do you think will happen to the…?
  • Why: Why did the boy do that?
  • When: When did the bear go to school?
  • Where: Where did the toy disappear?
  • How: How do you think the dog felt?
  • Who: Who ate all the cookies?
Improve my childs listening

3. Story Telling in a group

Another effective way to help your child develop listening skills is to use story telling without a book. You can do this with two or more people. One person starts the story by saying a sentence, the next person continues the story by adding a sentence and each person adds on a line to the story. The child must listen to each person in order to add a sentence that makes sense. And it’s fun for everyone.


Some children just have difficulty learning to listen. But there are many fun ways to help them develop this skill. Just like learning to ride a bike takes training and practice, listening is a skill that also requires training and practice. So think outside the box for exciting and fun ways to do this.


What’s your secret to helping your child listen? Love to hear from you.

Alison Owen
Speech Therapist