What is Auditory Processing?
Have you ever heard a new word and tried to spell it? Doing this helps you to remember the new word. The task of reading new words is much easier than spelling new words. Reading words is the process of decoding. Spelling is the process of encoding. These are two sides of the same coin. Decoding is sounding out words. Encoding is figuring out how to spell words.
That being said, the act of spelling brings your letter knowledge and phonemic awareness together. Phonemic awareness is the ability to match the sounds you hear with the letters that represent them. This is also the ability to manipulate sounds and use the sounds of oral language.
So, let’s look at phonemic awareness. It is typically taught in the early grades and then forgotten about. That is one reason that many kids and even adults have difficulty with spelling. Manipulating sounds with the letters that represent them grows as you grow. Reviewing this skill as you spell longer words improves your spelling. This, then, improves your overall auditory processing and listening skills.
The Auditory Processing and Spelling Connection
We all take in information through the sense of hearing (auditory), seeing (visual), and doing (tactile/kinesthetic). Each of these systems is critical to our ability to learn with ease. So, incorporating them into a reading and spelling program is important.
Auditory processing skills are foundational to read, spell, and write. The first steps in learning are not just visual, they are also auditory. A baby can hear a mother’s voice before being born. Toddlers refine the sounds they hear. This is the beginning of phonemic awareness. The early grades teach you to refine your auditory processing skills. This includes phonemic awareness and phonics. These skills are used throughout school and life.
Phonemic awareness is your ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds – phonemes – in spoken words. Phonics is the next step in the process. It is the ability to relate the auditory sounds to a visual symbol, a letter or group of letters. This is how we spell. We take the sounds we hear and put the letters that represent them together to spell the words.
Areas of Auditory Processing that are the Foundations of Spelling
Auditory discrimination is the most familiar area of auditory processing. This is the ability to discriminate between individual sounds or words that are similar or different in the way they sound. For example: very and berry, mob and mop, half and have.
This is both an auditory processing area and a visual processing area. The ability to accurately relate an auditory sound to a visual symbol is how we use letters to represent sounds.
Auditory closure is the ability to combine sounds together to make words. This is often referred to as sound blending. Given the individual sounds ‘b’, ‘a‘, and ‘t’; can you pull them together to make the word ‘bat‘? ‘Filling in’ the missing piece of a word is another part of auditory closure. If I were to say ‘to _a to‘, can you fill in the missing ‘m‘ and say ‘tomato‘?
Figure-ground is attending to instruction when there is background noise. An example is when your kids are watching television and you ask them to do something, do they do it? Did they even hear you? Or are they distracted by the background noise of the television?
These are four of the nine areas of auditory processing that impact spelling, reading, and overall learning.
The Structure of the English Language
The first step is to understand how we put sounds together with letters to make words. In the English language, we do this in 8 ways. These 8 ways are the 8 spelling patterns. We only put letters together 8 ways to make words. For example, most of us know the vowel-consonant pattern. This is where the vowels give their short sound. They do that in the words: ‘hat’, ‘set’, ‘it’, ‘pot’, ‘fun’, and the two-syllable word ‘picnic‘.
Summer Reading Program incorporates 9 Areas of Auditory Processing
Scholar Within’s Summer Reading program uses proven methods that improve your auditory processing system:
- Reading Fluency Training that Incorporates Phonemic Awareness
- Rapid Naming Activities
- Phonics and Spelling Video Lessons
- Auditory Memory Activities
- Auditory Discrimination Activities
- Auditory Figure-Ground Activities
- Executive Function (Planning Skills)
- Brain-Body Connection Activities
Who is Scholar Within?
Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie began designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Soon, teachers began to ask what she was using with the kids who saw her. The teachers saw the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From there, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.
Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home, on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kid’s overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.
Learn more about Scholar Within.