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Receptive skills – reading and listening

Because of the different processes involved, we sometimes put reading and listening in one group and speaking and writing in another. Reading and listening involve receiving information and so they are called the receptive skills. Speaking and writing are known as the productive skills because they involve producing words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs.

In the previous step, Monica and Marie Therese talked about the four different communication skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking – and about everyday activities which use the different skills. They also talked about how we read and listen to things differently, depending on what we’re reading or listening to.


Think about your own experience of reading and listening. In what way is reading a novel different to reading a recipe? How is listening to an announcement at an airport different to listening to a song? Can you think of other things we read and listen to in different ways, and how do we read or listen to them? How many different ways of reading and listening can you think of? Post your answers in the comments. Read other learners’ comments and like the ones you agree with.

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This article is from the free online course:

Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

Cambridge Assessment English