5 things you can do with “Listening Power K-3”
Listening skills are evaporating…
Think about the children in your life. Your own kids, your students, your nieces/nephews… Now think about the other adults in your life.
How many of them are “good” listeners?
How many times do you think that the other person is just waiting for their turn to speak?
Cultivating listening skills in our students is crucial for their development as learners and as people. No single program, app, or teaching style is going to solve the problem, however, some of the these options can help.
Hamaguchi Apps “Listening Power K-3” is a great support for developing strong listening skills in our students. “Listening Power” has all of the aspects of a solid app. There are multiple levels; “Easy,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced.” You can adjust the number of choices (2, 3, or 4). Activities can be added or removed if you want to focus on just one aspect of listening skills. Activities are also adaptive in that the app will drop the level of difficulty if a student gets too many incorrect. In many ways, “Listening Power” can run on it’s own for a student or be guided by a therapist/teacher.
Here are 5 tips on teaching listening that are supported by “Listening Power”
Focus on Details: The “Listening for Descriptions” part of the app allows you to work on listening skills which focus on details with increasing difficulty. In the beginning, it might be just listening for the color of an item while it becomes multiple adjectives before the end of the activity.
Listening into details such as this helps our students with fine-tuning their listening so they can develop:
- Comparing/contrasting skills
- Ability to notice small differences
- Develop comprehension of adjectives such as size and color
Improve Auditory Memory: One of the first things in the speech/language therapists bag of tricks is to have children repeat back directions. While that can be a good fallback, I also like to have children repeat back and then verbalize the first thing they are going to do. This way you can set up action instead of just a repetition task.
Auditory Memory tasks can be a reliable way of building up listening skills. At the bare minimum, you are getting children to increase their memory for verbal information.
“Listening Power” allows you to build up auditory memory at 2–3 word, 4–5 words, and 6+ words. While I don’t have specific data, I am assuming most teacher/adult directions to children are longer than 2–3 words, so it is important to start building up the volume of information that our students can take in and comprehend.
Negative Practice: Over the years, I have found that children respond well to information that is presented incorrectly. “Listening Power” presents a group of sentences where one is incorrect. Children identify the incorrect sentence and the app explains the way it should sound.
Negative practice is a successful strategy because it kicks in a “self-correction” mechanism in our minds. We know what sounds “wrong,” and can work to try and correct it. For me, this strategy has worked for grammar and articulation/phonology work.
Vocabulary Growth: Receptive understanding precedes expressive use. “Listening Power” sets up comprehension of vocabulary nicely by presenting a sentence with a targeted vocabulary word. After that, the visual comes out for the child to identify. In this way, we are allowing our children to listen, digest, comprehend, and then show what they know.
Everyone likes a good story: Just like with vocabulary, listening comprehension precedes reading comprehension. While some teachers don’t understand why their children aren’t comprehending what they read, the strong teacher knows that a solid base in listening and speaking about stories is needed before a child can become a strong reader. “Listening Power” presents stories of differing length with follow up questions. The best part? Multiple choice! This way we are empowering our children to find the answers first. After awhile, we can work on them expressing their thoughts verbally or in writing.
One last thing- the K-3 version of the app has picture cues which follow the story and the option to add background noise. Now we are getting our children to focus in on the story while trying to push out distraction. While this can be a challenge for some children, it is a great way to sharpen listening for others!
BONUS: I love the mini game that you can set up for reinforcement. While “Pick a Door” is simple in nature, there is language you can pull from it which keeps children engaged.
Make a prediction: I think a cow will come out!
Correct yourself: Oh man! It wasn’t a cow, it was a _____________
Identify before you see it: I hear a ________!
Hamaguchi Apps makes outstanding speech/language materials. While I have spoken about the benefits of the following directions apps, “Listening Power” is excellent on it’s own as child-driven as well as guided by a therapist/teacher. Sharpen the listening skills of one of your children with it!