Ever feel like your child is struggling to listen? (laughter from everywhere) Well, of course you do. Sometimes it’s like talking to the proverbial brick wall. And then they seem to have a hard time remembering the directions that they were just given? Mmmhmm. We’ve all been there.
When I was offered the opportunity to review the HearBuilder software from Super Duper Publications, I wasn’t sure what to expect. There’s so many educational software choices on the market, it’s hard to know which one is going to be best – and worthwhile – for your child. And that’s the beauty of HearBuilder: as the parent, I was able to decide which one of the learning programs I thought our preschooler needed most.
As some of you know, Annie turned 3 years old in late January, so she’s new to the preschool world. But she already knows her ABCs, colors, numbers, animals, etc. I’ve noticed from working puzzles with her that her memory is improving. Well, that and the fact that she can remember where we keep the candy!
We were privileged to receive the HearBuilder Educational Software Collection – Home Edition ($199) for the review. The edition is comprised of Auditory Memory, Following Directions, Phonological Awareness and Sequencing. In other words, the programs help with reading, listening, memory and comprehension.
The program is recommended for ages 4 and up, so I was a little worried if Annie would be able to gain anything from the program. Her technology is mostly limited to the iPad, which she has mastered well. Working a mouse, however, was not yet in her skill set. So I first tried out Auditory Memory ($69.95) to give her a chance to get used to it.
You begin by listening to a series of numbers (secret code), and then have to input it onto a keypad. Learning how to use the mouse was the real skill builder here, so Annie needed help as we began. However, as we continued to practice, she increased her mouse abilities, and if I prompted her with the first number in the code, she got much better at giving me the other numbers. Improved memory win!
We moved on to Following Directions ($69.95), where Kim & Joey are Master Toymakers at the Toy Factory, as children go through a series of tasks in order to become Toy Makers themselves.
We began in the Tools room, where a slide appears with pictures of various objects. The voice over prompts you to point at the dog, monkey, car, etc. This was easy for Annie, and after she earned her lab coat, she was asked to click on the blue car, the red ball, the yellow dog. Again, not too bad, as she knows all these things.
Then it prompted her to click the large dog, the small boat, etc. Annie is used to big and little, and as long as I relayed it to her that way, we were still on track. When it started prompting us to point at the bouncing bike and the shaking dog, I realized it was a little difficult for her. But if I held her close to the monitor and let her point at the one spinning or bouncing, she thought that was hilarious, so we did it over and over. Recognition win!
On to Phonological Awareness ($69.95), where we find Kim & Joey and their band, The Phonemix, working on sound awareness for reading. Annie doesn’t read yet, and this program works on sentences, syllables, rhymes and sound blending. For example, in the first level, we were given three different album titles and told to pick the one that was 1 word or 2 words, etc. Annie wasn’t quite ready for this one, but man she loved the rock band something crazy! Definitely going to do this one again!
Finally, Sequencing ($69.95), with Kim & Joey at the Midway, where you enter the Sequencing Fun House and earn tokens to play in the arcade. This was right up Annie’s alley. This was very similar in design to many of the games that she plays on the iPad. We were given a series of 2 or 3 cards with different sections of an activity. You can have the cards read to you, or simply look at the pictures and put them in order.
Since we’ve worked on this skill before, Annie was quite adept at this, with the exception of certain scenarios, such as snowboarding and changing a flat tire. Not things she is well acquainted with! With me leading, however, she had lots of fun and earned 200 tokens. She immediately went to the arcade, and played a game feeding acorns to squirrels. She would have played that all day! So, again, her mouse skills increased.
The multi-level activities gradually increase in difficulty. The software also tracks your child’s progress each time they play and can provide detailed progress reports. Additionally, it can send an alert to tell you when/if your child is struggling at a particular point.
I have no doubt that this software will come in handy for us for several years to come. Since it gets gradually more difficult, with tasks all the way to eighth grade level, it is a great investment. The Home Edition that we received is for use on one computer/laptop and can track results for up to four students.
In addition, you can also get an Online Subscription that works on a desktop, laptop or the iPad with all four program. The annual $59.95 fee includes one account for one child to use. There are also versions for teachers and entire school districts.
Where to Buy
All versions of HearBuilder can be found on the Super Duper Publications site, including the subscription option, the 4-cd collection, or buy the CD that suits your child’s needs the best. There are additional accessories to enhance the learning process. There are also free demos of each of the programs so you can get a first-hand look at what they offer.
In addition to the information on the HearBuilder site, you should check out the Super Duper website to see all their fun learning materials, some of which were featured on our site in December. You can like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe on YouTube, and check them out on Pinterest.