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Language Lessons from Listening Skills to Conversation Review by Lisa Rabe

Deborah M. Lott M.Ed in Speech Pathology
Super Star Speech
2702 Gawain Rd.
Huntsville, AL 35803

When we think of speech therapy and language delays, we generally think of a child who is hard to understand or uses very few words in comparison to other children. How often do we consider listening skills to be included in the language development? This often overlooked area of speech is just as important as clear pronunciation.  ebbie Lott, author of the Super Star Speech therapy materials for children has written a book specially designed to help encourage and develop good listening skills in all children. Written for age’s birth through school age, Language Lessons from Listening Skills to Conversation includes hundreds of fun activities to help you teach your children how to focus on what is being said to them, and respond appropriately to questions asked. This e-book is available in both PDF and Kindle formats.

After a brief but thorough introduction that discusses speech delay in children, this book is divided into three age groups: birth to 3, preschool, and ages 5 and up. The types of activities change for each age group. For the younger children, many hands on ideas are suggested including playing repetitive games with babies and Mother May I with the preschool set. Once you reach the school age set, the lessons become more in depth. Activities are designed to develop and improve Auditory Discrimination, Auditory Memory, Following Directions, Word Association, Categories, Word Finding and Word Meanings, Sequencing, Answering Questions, and more! Each of the hundreds of exercises takes about 2-10 minutes and are intended to be fun, rather than ‘work.’

As a homeschooling mom of 4 young children who have typically short attention spans, it is often a challenge to get them to listen and focus on the lesson at hand. I had been looking for a way to help them lengthen their attention spans. I was pleasantly surprised when I found that Language Lessons from Listening Skills to Conversation could help me with that. I used it, primarily, with my son who is 5 and my daughter who is 7. I chose to set the timer for 5 minutes and spend time doing the activities with each child individually. Over time, I have been able to extend their activity time to 10 minutes. I hope to continue to increase it to as much as 30 minutes. 

Some of the activities were enjoyable to my children; they quickly answered the questions and were eager to hear the next. Some of them were dull or challenging to them and they had to force themselves to focus and listen even when it wasn’t fun. Each of the activities was certainly useful for training the ear and encouraging longer attention spans. I was also able to identify letter sounds that my children weren’t hearing properly and work on exercises to help hear the sounds correctly in the future.

My daughter has had a slight speech delay in life, but my son has no delays and they both were able to benefit fully from this book. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Language Lessons did not feel like a speech therapy book at all, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to review it as I would never have thought to look at a therapy web-site for such a versatile book!

While I will admit that each individual activity is not necessarily a unique exercise (yes most people already think to play Mother May I), the compilation of the lessons is very creative and well planned, and contains enough material for many months’—if not years’—worth of lessons.  I feel that Language Lessons from Listening Skills to Conversation is well worth its modest price tag, and this gem would make a great addition to any family with children.

Product Review by Lisa Rabe, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2013