Listening comprehension is more than just listening to what is being said. Basically, it involves basically three skills:

  • the ability to take in information
  • the ability to respond to instruction
  • the ability to share ideas, thoughts and opinions


Listening comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of words an individual hears, and the ability for that individual to relate to the information in some way. For instance, when a child hears a story, listening comprehension allows them to understand it, remember it, talk about it, and even retell the story in their own words.


Our listening skills need to develop at a young age. Research shows that children who are good listeners often grow up to become good communicators. It’s an important skill to develop at an early age because academic education relies heavily on listening skills.


Below, ARK Administrative Coordinator Rob Thompson explains how his education incorporated a fun and adventuresome program to develop his listening skills as well as his imagination:


Almost as far back as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of audio dramas. One of my earliest audio drama memories is of me in bed with a small handheld radio, covers pulled over my head, listening to re-runs of The Shadow. Fast-forward in time to my early college years and I’m lying in the dorm room listening to my favorite audio drama, Adventures in Odyssey!


Growing up, the radio series, Adventures in Odyssey (AIO) was the best part of my day. Since my siblings and I were homeschooled, our mother required us to complete our homework first, and then we would listen to AIO for hours and play. As kids we loved Saturdays because that meant no school and we could listen to AIO all day! However, chores came first, so you can imagine how quickly we cleaned our rooms!


For those not familiar with Adventure in Odyssey, it is a radio drama and comedy series created and produced by Focus on the Family. The goal of Odyssey was to create a “values-based” radio show with production values comparable with, or surpassing those of most mainstream audio dramas. While the show aimed to promote Christian values, the goal was not to be “a preaching program,” but an “entertaining program.” All episodes are approximately 30 minutes and packed full of learning opportunities. Each episode is designed to activate a child’s vivid imagination with storylines ranging from historical events, family drama, and espionage activities all combined with healthy values.


The series centers on the fictional town of Odyssey and the lives of the people who live there, and in particular, an ice-cream and discovery emporium named Whit’s End. Whit’s End is owned by John Avery Whittaker, who is the main storyteller in the series. Dropping by Whit’s End and letting our imagination take us on an adventure. Perhaps, you’ve never hung out with Eugene, Connie, Whit and the gang. Perhaps, you haven’t in a long, long time because you (frankly) think you’re a bit old for AIO. “Isn’t that a drama for kids?” you ask. Well, yes and no. But our parents listened and loved it just as much as we did!


If you are interested in listening and discovering Odyssey for yourself, check out a free episode at Whit’s End. If you enjoy what you hear, there are 66 albums (861 episodes … and counting) of AIO material where that came from—easily downloaded via Christian Book Distributors, Amazon and iTunes. Once downloaded, pull the covers up over your head, and whoosh off to Whit’s End. I promise you it’ll be a much better trip than one to Neverland, Middle-Earth, or Narnia!


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