Auditory processing skills come into play when becoming a proficient reader. Think about this for a minute. In order to read you need to decode words (the ability to sound out printed words) as well as encode words (the ability to put letters to the sounds that make up a word).
Many students that struggle with reading struggle because they have auditory processing difficulties. There are actually nine areas of auditory processing that affect learning. Problems with any one or more of those areas can make learning difficult. The cause of the auditory processing difficulties may be due to CAPD, ADD, dyslexia, a learning disability, a learning difficulty or autism.
If you are a parent working with your own child, or tutoring a student, or homeschooling or a teacher, there are specific things you can do to make a difference in your child’s learning life.
Here are 6 activities you can use to strengthen auditory processing. These auditory processing activities use things you typically have around the house or in the classroom.
These activities are designed for you to do either at home after school or during the day if you are homeschooling. These activities will help those children with dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD, auditory processing problems such as auditory memory, auditory discrimination, and auditory closure.
Awareness of Phonemes or Letter Sounds
For success with reading and spelling, your child must perceive the individual phoneme sounds of the language. He must learn to differentiate each language sound representing a letter shape from other sounds. Such abilities are essential for decoding written language.
- Initial consonants. Learning beginning sounds of words is important. To prepare for this activity, make a list of 40 words (1 key word and 3 words per time – e.g. popcorn: plate, handle, lamp; banana: car, bus, rug; milk: astronaut, mountain, bicycle). Then, say, “Tell me the word that begins like popcorn: plate, handle, lamp.” Continue down your list of keywords and words.
- Ask your child to think of words that begin like a specific word: e.g. Tom, candy, dog, fan, etc.
- Have your child find pictures of words that begin like Tom, or find pictures of words in magazines that begin with the letter T. Find the word that is different at the beginning from the rest: “paper, pear, table, past.”
- Consonant blends, digraphs, endings, vowels. Similar activities can be devised to help your child learn to auditorily perceive and discriminate other phonic elements.
- Rhyming words. Learning to hear rhyming words helps your child recognize phonograms. Games similar to initial consonants can be used with rhyming words. Experience with nursery rhymes and poems that rhyme is also helpful.
- Riddle rhymes. Make up riddles that rhyme. Have your child guess the last rhyming word. For example: “It rhymes with book. You hang your clothes on a _________.”
Remember, good auditory processing skills are a critical component to reading success. Fortunately, there are a variety of books, games, and guides that are specifically designed to work on auditory processing at the same time as specific skills such as reading, spelling, note taking, and comprehension. When choosing materials, you want to be sure they will do two things. You want to be sure they address auditory processing skills such as auditory memory, auditory comprehension, auditory discrimination, auditory closure, and reading comprehension. You also want to be sure they teach specific learning skills such as reading, writing, and spelling.