Listening Power K-3 by Hamaguchi Apps is a wonderful app for developing auditory comprehension of vocabulary and concepts in elementary school-aged children. The developer is a licensed speech-language pathologist and has several other apps which target verbal expression, following directions, and pragmatic skills. We have also reviewed Listening Power Preschool and Listening Power 4-8+
There are five different activities in Listening Power K-3: descriptions (adjectives i.e. shortest, cold, green), meaning (vocabulary concepts), grammar (pronouns, verb tenses, negation), word memory, and stories (with comprehension questions). The app provides 150 listening opportunities for each activity (50 at each difficulty level) so your child will be presented with a wide variety of stimuli (over 1000).
In the Listening for Descriptions activity, children need to identify the picture showing the correct characteristics. On the easy level, there are 2 descriptors to listen for (“Show me the green truck with white tires.”) The intermediate level has 3-4 descriptive concepts to distinguish between (“Where is the man with a moustache holding a red guitar?”) The advanced level has up to five critical elements (i.e. Find the girl with long black hair who is wearing a red shirt with long sleeves.)
The Listening for Meaning activity involves identifying the correct picture or definition for a vocabulary word (i.e. Easy level presents pictures: luggage, duckling, triangle; Intermediate: disappointed, perform, container; Advanced: envious, wealthy, patient). The intermediate and advanced settings only present information auditorily although text can be shown if necessary.
In the Listening for Grammar activity, children must identify the sentence that contains a mistake (i.e. Easy: “He put on hims shoes.” Intermediate: “Her cat finded a mouse.” Advanced: “The women is having a meeting.”)
Listening for Word Memory requires recall of a certain number of words in the correct order from a field of 9 (Easy: 2-3 words; Intermediate: 4-5 words; Advanced: 6 words). There are unlimited combinations for this activity.
In the Listening for Stories activity, children are presented stories of increasing length and complexity and then asked comprehension questions about what they heard. The easy level has fictional stories with questions about who, what, and where. In the more difficult levels, non-fiction stories are included and the content and questions become increasingly more challenging. There is the option of turning on background noise to increase the auditory demand of the task. There are 25 stories for each level with 5 questions per story for a total of 375 unique listening tasks.
The app is easy to navigate and has highly-customizable settings. The ease-of-use is enhanced by a wonderful demo video highlighting the settings and features of the app. Each activity has individual settings for difficulty (easy, intermediate, and advanced) as well as the ability to select number of choices (2, 3, or 4). This ability to customize settings allows for the accommodation of a wide range of skill levels.
Another nice feature is that the choices are not made visible until the entire question has been presented auditorily. This helps the child focus on the verbal instructions and eliminates impulsive selections. You also have the option to make the text visible or only provide the auditory directions.
Additionally, only correct choices are reinforced. If a child selects the wrong picture, nothing happens although the data tracking will indicate a wrong choice. After the correct choice is selected, the target concept is restated which also helps to solidify learning.
Individual users can be tracked and in the full version you can even add members to a group while still keeping individualized settings and data tracking for each child. Data for each of the five different activities is also tracked separately to give an individualized overview of the child’s progress in each area. These are excellent features for speech therapy sessions.
Finally, there are two options for reward games. In the Door Game, kids need to open doors to find where the character is hiding. For Shoot the Basket, kids randomly make a basket when they press a button to shoot a basketball. These reinforcement activities can be set to occur at different intervals or turned off altogether.
Overall, this is a very high-quality app for targeting auditory comprehension skills of elementary school children ages 5-10 years. It is obvious that much consideration was placed on the customization of difficulty levels and the selection of the targets themselves. The colorful illustrations and animations are engaging and motivating. The variety of targets and ability to customize this app to meet the needs of many different skill levels allows this app to grow with your child.
In terms of improvements: it may be beneficial to have wrong choices disappear as they are selected to help narrow down the choices. There were some wording errors i.e. mention of a “tire swing” when a regular swing was pictured; use of the description “red dress” when the picture showed a red shirt instead. These are simple fixes that can be implemented in future updates.
This app would be particularly useful for speech pathologists who work with elementary students in groups; but I would also recommend this app for any K-3rd child needing to work on attention and listening skills.
Listening Power Grades K-3 HD
by Hamaguchi Apps for Speech, Language & Auditory Development
Price: $19.99 USD
This app is the proud winner of the Academics' Choice Award for Smart Media! http://www.academicschoice.com/apps/listening-power-k-3.php
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Shari is a married mother of four from Illinois. She works as a speech pathologist in a rehab setting and loves to use apps in therapy. She is a self-proclaimed “Appaholic”- always on the look out for great apps!