Good listening skills are one of the most important foundations for learning. Many children experience difficulties in the classroom because they do not know how to listen!
Listening Power Preschool from Hamaguchi Apps is a comprehensive app that addresses listening skills at different levels. It can be used to prepare the preschool child for coping in an academic learning environment or it can be used for language delayed children and English second language learners.
The following activities are available:
- Listening for Descriptions
- Listening for Directions
- Listening for Grammar & Meaning
- Listening for Stories with Pictures
- Listening for Stories without Pictures
Each of the activities has 3 levels. Easy, Intermediate and Advanced. There is also the option to give the student 2, 3 or 4 picture choices when making a response.
Listening for Descriptions
This activity targets adjectives and descriptive language. For example colors, size concepts (longest/shortest/little), emotions, and descriptors (curly, crunch, straight)
Listening for Directions
The following concepts are addressed in this task
Prepositions such as in, under, behind etc
Spatial concepts such as lowest, highest etc
Linguistic concepts such as all, both, second, pair etc
Typical classroom directions e.g. find the first star in the row
Listening for Grammar & Meaning
This activity addresses grammatical elements of language such as pronouns, plurals, verb tenses, prepositional phrases, “Wh- questions e.g. who is…, what can you read?… where do you…? which one has….?
Listening to Stories with Pictures
This activity uses a a story with a few pictures and sound effects that maintain the child’s interest in the story. There is the option to pause the story at any point during the narration. Once the story is complete, the child is given a series of questions to answer. There is also an option to hear the story again by tapping the ‘back to story’ button in the top left corner.
Listening to Stories without Pictures
This activity is the same as the one above except the student is not shown pictures during the story although there are some sound effects during the narration.
Students are rewarded with a bubble game where they have to find the bubble with their ‘prize.’
Progress can be tracked and reports emailed at the end of the session. The progress reports show which items are correct and which items the child missed. This allows the therapist focus on specific areas of difficulty.
What I Like:
- The app allows you to either have a manual or auto advance option. The manual option allows the therapist to control the speed of progression through the app. Therefore if there is a concept that the child is having difficulty with, it can be addressed immediately.
- The app allows you to automatically or manually show the answer choices. I found this feature really useful in in working on working memory and expressive language skills. The child could either repeat the instruction or answer the question verbally before verifying their answer using the picture display.
- The ability to turn off narration and use the text only, is a great activity for reading comprehension. Listening Power Preschool can definitely be used for older children too!
- The questions from the stories provided really great guidelines for the children in identifying the important elements of the story. Consequently, I found that once they had gone through the questions, their story retell skills improved significantly.
- The program intuitively adds more choices, moves up in difficulty, or makes it easier, depending upon how the child responds to the questions.
What I Would like:
- I would really like the ability to select which targets to work on in each activity.
- A record feature would be great so that children can listen and self monitor their expressive language. This would add an additional dimension to this app.
- I found that the picture foils were often too easy and this enabled the children to make an ‘educated guess’ rather than really listening to the instructions.
- The bubble game is not very engaging or motivating. Particularly if you use all the Hamaguchi apps (which I do), the novelty of this game wears a bit thin.
Overall, I love this app! I think that it has a lot more scope than just the 3,6 – 6 year old age group that is targeted for.
You can purchase Listening Power Preschool on the App store for $15.99
Thank you to Hamaguchi apps for providing me with a copy to review. All opinions are my own.