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Listening for Language All Year 'Round
Ages: 7-11   Grades: 2-6

Charming Brennan Bear keeps children excited about learning language throughout the school year.  Seasonal lessons for the classroom target listening, semantic, and written and oral language skills. 


  • Improve listening skills
  • Learn antonyms, synonyms, idioms, multiple meanings, analogies, and classification
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*The CD contains the complete book.  All pages are printable.
** This is a Cloud E-Book that is accessible from any device with Internet access. .

From September through May, each month's theme and language unit are introduced in a story about Brennan Bear's adventures.  Listening skills are developed through story comprehension questions and exercises in following complex directions.  Other activities target  these skill areas:

  • classification
  • associations
  • comparisons
  • antonyms
  • synonyms
  • multiple meanings
  • absurdities
  • analogies
  • idioms

Each month's unit includes a:

  • cover page—a full-page, humorous illustration introduces the skill and can be used on bulletin boards and notebook covers and for discussion starters
  • story—students listen to a heartwarming Brennan Bear story and answer comprehension questions about it
  • written activity—focus on vocabulary and content in writing sentences, paragraphs, letters, and newspaper reports
  • expressive activity—use these patterns to make bulletin boards and expressive language envelope activities
  • listening activity—students complete worksheets by listening to and following directions
  • notebook activities—students compile a notebook of brief activities during the lessons and use the activities to reinforce and review skills  
  • take home letters and lessons—three parent letters tell about new skills and include practice activities
  • certificate of completion
  • resource list—collection of target semantic skill examples

Copyright © 1993

187 pages
  • Students may receive up to 90 percent of school information through listening. 
    "It is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners . . . this means modeling listening strategies and providing listening practice" (NCLRC, 2004).
  • In-depth knowledge of word meaning helps students comprehend what they read and helps them use words accurately in speaking and reading (Taylor-Goh, 2005).
  • Statewide standardized tests measure vocabulary skills through:
    - knowledge of antonyms, synonyms, and multiple-meaning words to determine  
    - ability to analyze word relationships meaningfully
    - use of linguistic context to comprehend unknown words (Scholastic, n.d.).
  • An efficient lexicon is not organized like a dictionary: instead, words and their properties (e.g., semantic meaning) are interconnected and associative.  Language-impaired children have fewer lexical entries than their typically-developing peers and fewer connections among the words they know (Brackenbury & Pye, 2007).

Listening for Language All Year 'Round incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


Brackenbury, T., & Pye, C. (2007). Semantic deficits in children with language impairments: Issues for clinical assessment. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 36, 5-16.

National Capital Language Resource Center (NCLRC). (2004). Teaching listening. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Scholastic. (n.d.). The importance of vocabulary on 3rd and 4th grade standardized tests. Retrieved March 24, 2009 from

Taylor-Goh, S. (2005). Royal college of speech and language therapists: Clinical guidelines. United Kingdom: Speechmark.


Brenda Brumbaugh, Nan Thompson-Trenta


Brenda Brumbaugh, M.A., CCC, is a speech-language pathologist for the Perry Local School System in Massillon, Ohio.  She works with children from preschool through high school who have communication disorders.  

Nan Thompson-Trenta, M.A., is a speech-language pathologist for the San Diego Unified School District in San Diego, California.  She works with children from preschool through sixth grade who have communication disorders.  She also provides language and listening lessons for preschool, kindergarten, and special education classes.  Nan and her husband, Paul, have a son, Sam.

Brenda and Nan are interested in creating language and listening materials that can be used in small group or classroom settings. They are also co-authors of LinguiSystems' Listening for Basic Concepts All Year 'Round, and Listening for Vocabulary All Year 'Round.


He's back!  Brennan Bear returns with more fun-filled language and listening lessons for your classroom.  Listening for Language All Year 'Round will help you teach word relationships in a fun, easy-to-understand format.  In these lessons, your second- through fifth-grade students will use good listening skills as well as expressive written language skills.  The semantic skills presented in this book include classification, association, comparisons, antonyms, synonyms, multiple meanings, semantic absurdities, analogies, and idioms.

We've provided lessons that reinforce learning of word relationships and at the same time provide a resource for you to develop your own creative activities.

  • Cover Page
    There are several ways to present the cover page.  You can hang it in your room as a reminder of the month's word relationship skill.  You might glue it on a large clasp envelope and store the lessons inside.  (This is great if you're visiting classrooms!)  You can also enlarge it and use as a bulletin board display in your classroom.  Whichever way you choose, be sure to discuss the word on the cover page as well as the class goal.
  • Story
    Remind your students to be good listeners while you read the story, because you'll be asking them questions about it.  Encourage class participation to make this a fun activity for everyone!
  • Written Activity
    Your students will be writing sentences, paragraphs, letters, and newspaper reports.  Focus on your students' vocabulary and content, rather than spelling and grammar.
  • Expressive Activity
    This activity uses pattern pages.  You can use the pattern pages as bulletin boards or attach them to large clasp envelopes.  You'll copy other patterns and cut them out for use by your students.  You may want to have your students cut out and decorate the patterns themselves.
  • Listening Activity
    Remind your students to listen carefully as you read the directions to them.  At the beginning of the year, you may want to repeat the directions once or twice.  But toward the end of the year, encourage good listening by saying the directions only once.
  • Notebook
    Cut apart the notebook pages, make enough copies for each student, and pass out each page as you need it.  Depending on your students' writing skills, have them either write sentences or tell you sentences using the words given.  Again, emphasize content and meaning.  Collect the pages when your students have finished them.  Then, staple all the pages together to make a complete notebook.  You can present a Brennan Bear Certificate to each student at this point and send the notebook home if you'd like!
  • Home Lesson
    The home lessons are designed for you to decide which skill (writing, expressive language, or listening) you want each student to practice at home.  Write the parent's or guardian's name in the blank, sign the letter, and send the activity home.  Easy for you, easy for the parent or guardian!
  • Resource List
    Use the list at the end of each unit for examples of the semantic skill you're teaching.  You might want to review different examples at the beginning of each of the writing, expressive language, and listening lessons.

You might choose to share the cover pages, notebook pages, and resource lists with other teachers your students see during the day.  Perhaps you can teach lessons together, or have one teacher present the stories and another teach the activities, or present different examples from the resources lists in different content areas.  Either way, you and your fellow teachers can choose to work as a team to present Listening for Language All Year 'Round if you wish.

Although Listening for Language All Year 'Round is set up for a nine-month school year, we've included enough "generic" materials and words in the resource lists for you to use the book in a year-round setting.

Listening for Language All Year 'Round will make your lesson preparations easy and enjoyable.  And Brennan will make language, listening, and word relationships both fun and meaningful to your students.


Brenda and Nan