Wednesday, February 26, 2014

HearBuilder Educational Software Collection Review


I have mentioned before how we are huge fans of Super Duper Publications, you can find them online here. My children have had so much fun learning with their products. My nine year old has even taken of the games to school to show her teachers, and they have asked her to bring them back to use in class! She even chose Super Duper's Tongue Ticklin' Twister pencils as Valentine's day gift for her classmates. Needless to say Super Duper Publications makes learning fun! It's what they do, and they are good at it. The HearBuilder collection from Super Duper Publications is no exception. After you've read our experiences with HearBuilder, scroll down for a link so you can check out all the FREE demos on their website, they really are great for kids!
What is HearBuilder?
HearBuilder to my children-
HearBuilder to my each of my children is a fun computer game. That may sound simple, but it needs to be fun. The different levels challenge each of my kids at their level. Ranging from ages 5 to 9, each of them have different levels of learning. HearBuilder helps with that learning. The thing is, to my children this is a game that they all want to play. So, while HearBuilder is a learning program that is effective, challenging, and meets Common Core State Standards, most importantly it's fun for kids. What good is a learning tool if it's not engaging and fun? What good is a learning tool if children aren't asking to use it, or aren't enjoying it? It wouldn't be any good.
HearBuilder to me-
In the world of apps and games, there are so many to choose from. I am so glad to have a game that is fun AND helps my children learn. Carefully designed games that are engaging and age appropriate for each of my children. Perfect for our Heartschooling needs. 
Listening and really understanding is the foundation for all learning. If the foundation skills to listen to instruction are not present, a child simply can not easily learn what they are being taught.
I can choose the level of play that is appropriate for each of my children. Their progress can be monitored and I can even print out reports. Which helps me because I read and process better when I see something on paper and can make little notes on it.

HearBuilder, from the website-
( There's also a link here to a  90-second video introduction to what HearBuilder is and how it works.)
HearBuilder is a step-by-step learning program for PreK to eighth-grade students that provides systematic instruction in basic concepts, following directions, phonological awareness, sequencing, and auditory memory. Four award-winning software titles are available: HearBuilder Following Directions, Phonological Awareness, Sequencing, and Auditory Memory. HearBuilder gives students access to research-based, interactive programs by CD-ROM or online subscription. Students can use the software in the classroom, media center, computer lab, and at home. Each program offers multi-level activities with progress monitoring reports for educators and administrators to track individual student progress and to track usage and progress across grades, subgroups, or schools.
The HearBuilder Collection has both software (CD-ROM) editions and online subscriptions available. Each of the four programs can be purchased separately, in a complete set on CD-ROM, and there's even an option for a very reasonable online subscription price of $59 a year for families who do not need a physical CD

Here is our rundown of the four programs in this amazing collection.

Following Directions with Basic Concepts
From the first day of school, students must be able to follow directions in order to focus on their classroom activities, interact well with other children, and behave properly. HearBuilder Following Directions:
Develop essential listening skills as they learn 40 basic concepts.
Become Master Toy Makers while building Toy Central factories.
Learn to follow five different types of directions: Basic, Sequential, Quantitative/Spatial, Temporal, and Conditional.
My 5 year old is in her first year of public/outside of the home schooling. The transition from learning one on one with mom to a classroom of 24 and one teacher hasn't been easy. Learning to focus on teacher and listen to instruction without being distracted is something we've been working on. HearBuilder Following Directions let us start at a basic level to help with auditory and following directions. Children work on these skills and become Master Toy Makers while building their own Toy Central factories.  Learning in game form, with an end goal helps my five year old listen and follow the instructions. She is willing and eager to play the game (complete the sections) to become a Master Toy Maker. Throughout each of my children's sessions there are "bonus" games. These fun games give the kids a little break while learning. I love this feature!  I can see both my five year old and my seven year old a little more focused when given instruction. My children are listening for key words when given instructions, and completing those instructions. The memory training helps them remember what they have just heard. Making it less frustrating to complete tasks. They aren't masters at it yet, but  I feel there's improvement.

Phonological Awareness: Speech Sound Awareness for Reading
Before children can learn to read, they must be aware of the sounds that letters make in words, phrases, and sentences — or, to put it another way, they must have good phonological (sound) awareness skills. HearBuilder Phonological Awareness:
Practice nine activities to help them hear the sounds in words, syllables, and sentences.
Earn instruments and band members to form the rock band The Phonemix.
Move from basic activities (Sentence Segmentation, Syllable Blending, Syllable Segmentation) to more difficult ones (Rhyming, Phoneme Blending, Phoneme Segmentation/Identification) to the hardest tasks (Phoneme Deletion, Phoneme Addition, and Phoneme Manipulation).
As a pre reader, Pixie has been working on speech sounds. HearBuilders Phonological Awareness has been a great tool for her to work with. It's different than flash cards and paper homework that she brings home. She sees it as a fun break from homework. The sessions aren't long at all but I feel that they are so well programmed that she gets a lot out of them. This program is also great for my advanced reader, Phoneme Deletion, Phoneme Addition, and Phoneme Manipulation activities are challenging and fun.

Auditory Memory: Strategic Memory Training for ListeningNext, children must be able to remember and recall information they have learned. HearBuilder Auditory Memory:Practice memory strategies as they recall numbers, words, specific details, and multiple sentences.Embark on special missions with Recall Agents Kim and Joey to save Memory Town from Dr. Forgetsit.Learn memory strategies for answering WH questions.
HearBuilder Auditory Memory is a favorite, especially with my seven and nine year old. Just tonight, it's what my seven year old picked to work on. It could be because she loves robots and the bonus game is building a robot! But there's more to this program- punching in codes, remembering words, sentences, and stories was fun for each of the children. The comprehension skills building has helped my seven year old a lot. She has recently taken off with reading on her own. She's always read, and loves to do so. But now she's at that age where she's asking to stay up later, getting up earlier just to read. I find that she's able to process and understand what she's been reading more. Even on her homework instructions, she's able to comprehend more and more on her own. My nine year old gets so into the game that she's telling her sister's "be quiet, I'm trying to concentrate" which is good that she's so into the game. The great thing about certain levels on these HearBuilder games is that you can add background noise. This not only helps with focus, but it also helps with learning more gracious around here. My nine year old can learn to tune into the task at hand, even with background noise.

Sequencing: 2 to 6 Step SequencesFinally, students use all the information they learned in the first three HearBuilder programs to work on essential language and literary skills. HearBuilder Sequencing:Practice skills such as reading left to right, understanding details, predicting, and identifying important parts of stories.Go to the Sequencing Fun House, earn tokens to use in the Arcade, and become Sequencing Superstars.Put 120 illustrated scenes in order, starting with basic 2-step sequences and progressing to 6-steps.
For my girls who are readers and advanced readers, this program is quite fun. It helps them glean from what they have read. Important facts and details. What's minor and what's major to remember. The skills learned in this program not only help with homework comprehension, but make for more confident readers also!
Pixie, my youngest, has not done this program because I started her on the very basic level of HearingBuilder so that she could have a foundation to build upon.

Find this wonderful company
Super Duper website
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Purchase HearBuilder HERE.
Remember there are several ways to purchase
1. CD-ROM Collection
2. CD-ROM Individual programs
3. Home editions, which let you track 1-4 students
4. Teacher/Pro editions which let you track from 20 students to a whole school.
5. Online subscriptions are also available for each of the programs

Disclaimer: I was provided a free sample/s of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product. All pictures are from the companies site, unless noted.


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