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Reading, Writing & Math Help for Dyslexia, LD & ADHD » 18 Auditory Processing Activities You Can Do Without Spending a Dime!

18 Auditory Processing Activities You Can Do Without Spending a Dime!

Jan 12th, 2009
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Many of you have asked about additional activities to do with your kids or students that have auditory processing difficulties due to CAPD, ADD, dyslexia, a learning disability, a learning difficulty or autism. I’ve compiled a variety that you can choose from whether you are tutoring a student, homeschooling, or a concerned parent tutoring your own child.

Auditory processing is a critical component to reading success. We work on a variety of auditory processing areas every time we do activities from the Reading Pack:Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills, Making Spelling Sense, Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills, and The Comprehension Zone. For example, The Comprehension Zone is a game where we play for both auditory memory, auditory comprehension, and reading comprehension.  Making Spelling Sense is where we work on auditory discrimination, auditory closure, and auditory memory.

Computer work adds to the hands on work we have already done. I don’t use computerized programs exclusively because I strongly believe that students need the one-on-one feedback and modeling from peers, siblings, parents, and teachers. The increase in self-esteem that a student gets from this interaction with you while working on their skills is priceless.

Computer programs enhance the progress. There are a variety of good programs out there. Earobics and Fast Forward are the two that I’m most familiar with. They are both sound programs and do help with auditory processing difficulties. But, again, I would NOT use computer programs exclusively because students gain so many more benefits from one-on-one and small group work. Student reap a triple impact when you work directly with them: in addition to their skills improving, their auditory processing improving, their self-esteem also improves dramatically.

Here are some other activities you can do with things you typically have around the house or in the classroom to strengthen auditory processing.

These activities are from Children With Learning Disabilities by Janet Lerner

These activities can be done at home whether you are homeschooling or helping your child after school. These activities help those children with dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADHD, auditory processing problems such as auditory memory. Teaching strategies are just that, teaching strategies. A strategy can be done by a parent that is interested in helping thier child improve their auditory processing skills.

Auditory Sensitivity to Sounds

  1. Listening for sounds. Have the children close their eyes and become auditorily sensitive to environmental sounds about them.Sounds like cars, airplanes, animals, outside sounds, sounds in the next room etc., can be attended to and identified.
  2. Recorded sounds.Sounds can be placed on tape or records and the child is asked to identify them.Planes, trains, animals, and typewriters are some of the sounds that may be recorded.
  3. Teacher-made sounds.Have the children close their eyes and identify sounds the teacher makes.Examples of such sounds include dropping a pencil, tearing a piece of paper, using a stapler, bouncing a ball, sharpening a pencil, tapping on a glass, opening a window, snapping the lights, leafing through pages in a book, cutting with scissors, opening a drawer, jingling money, or writing on a blackboard.
  4. Food sounds.Ask the child to listen for the kind of food that is being eaten, cut, or sliced: celery, apples, carrots.
  5. Shaking sounds.Place small hard items such as stones, beans, chalk, salt, sand, or rice into small containers or jars with covers.Have the child identify the contents through shaking and listening.

Auditory Attending

  1. Attending for sound patterns. Have the child close his eyes or sit facing away from the teacher. Clap hands, play a drum, bounce a ball, etc.Have the child tell how many counts there were or ask him to repeat the patterns made.Rhythmic patterns can be made for the child to repeat.For example: slow, fast, fast.
  2. Sound patterns on two objects provides a variation on the above suggestion; for example, use a cup and a book to tap out sounds patterns.

Discrimination of Sounds

  1. Near or far.With eyes closed, the child is to judge what part of the room a sound is coming from, and whether it is near or far.
  2. Loud or soft.Help the child learn to judge and discriminate between loud and soft sounds.
  3. High and low.The child learns to judge and discriminate between high and low sounds.
  4. Find the sound.One child hides a music box or ticking clock and the other children try to find it by locating the sound.
  5. Follow the sound.The teacher or a child blows a whistle while walking around the room.The child should try to follow the route taken through listening.
  6. Blindman’s bluff.One child in the group says something like an animal sound, sentence, questions, or phrase.The blindfolded child tries to guess who it is.
  7. Auditory figure-background. To help a child attend to a foreground sound against simultaneous irrelevant environment noises, have him listen for pertinent auditory stimuli against a background of music.

Awareness of Phonemes or Letter Sounds

For success at the beginning stages of reading the child must perceive the individual phoneme sounds of the language, and he must learn to discriminate each language sound that represents a letter shape from other sounds.Such abilities are essential for decoding written language.

  1. Initial consonants. Have the child tell which word begins like milk.Say three words like “astronaut, mountain, bicycle.”
  2. Ask the child to think of words that begin like Tom.
  3. 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: “paper, pear, table, past.”
  4. Consonant blends, digraphs, endings, vowels.Similar activities can be devised to help the child learn to auditorily perceive and discriminate other phonic elements.
  5. Rhyming words.Learning to hear rhyming words helps the child recognize phonograms.Games similar to those for initial consonants can be used with rhyming words.Experience with nursery rhymes and poems that contain rhymes is useful.
  6. Riddle rhymes.Make up riddles that rhyme.Have the child guess the last rhyming word.For example: “It rhymes with book.You hang your clothes on a _________.”

I hope you found this helpful.

Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

Feel free to leave a comment by clicking on comments at the top right of this post, or email me at

  1. Carmela Douds
    May 17th, 2010 at 22:11
    Reply | Quote | #1

    You have a great website here; I’m glad I found you. It is becoming quite popular among Occupational Therapists and Speech Pathologists.

  2. bonnieterry
    Jul 13th, 2010 at 10:33
    Reply | Quote | #2

    Thank you so much!Please continue to spread the word.

    Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

  3. rakesh
    Aug 9th, 2010 at 01:41
    Reply | Quote | #3

    Hi these are the lovely activities can be done at home … Thanks a ton

  4. ritu
    Aug 20th, 2010 at 05:19
    Reply | Quote | #5

    where can i get this book ’10 mins 2 better study skills’ please help me out

  5. bonnieterry
    Aug 24th, 2010 at 12:41
    Reply | Quote | #8

    @Carmela Douds
    Thanks so much — please pass the word on to others!

  6. Online High School
    Oct 19th, 2010 at 19:58
    Reply | Quote | #9

    Bonnie, This post is like reference book because which helps me to guide students.
    Thank you very much.

  7. duurzame inzetbaarheid
    Oct 24th, 2010 at 00:24

    all guys read second one i realy enjoy that

  8. Crossway High School
    Oct 24th, 2010 at 20:48

    Amazing stuff you got here… This would be great help for my younger sister that has an Autism. I will email you after I contact my Mom…

  9. Terry bonnie | CateringForme
    Mar 5th, 2011 at 15:17
  10. Nathalie
    Apr 25th, 2011 at 13:05

    Je ne suis pas habitué de laisser des posts sur les blogs mais celui ci est vraiment intéressant. Bonne continuation !

  11. Adam
    Apr 26th, 2011 at 22:54

    I fall under the “concerned parent” cateogory. I’m glad I came across your site. Thank you for the activities.

  12. Cheryle
    May 22nd, 2011 at 07:33

    I’m hoping you can give me a bit of advice. My son (16 yo and just finishing grade 10 in a college prep school) was diagnosed with ADD (inattentive type) in 4th grade. He is on medication, but auditory processing and working memory issues cause him great difficulty (note-taking; following multiple step directives; accurately comprehending complex assignments). Recent cognitive skills testing has borne out that he has these problems. My questions are: 1) how do I best advocate for him; i.e. what accommodations do I request from the school; and 2) are there any home-based or therapist-based programs out there that I can access? I know this is a lengthy post; thanks in advance for your input.

    • bonnieterry
      May 26th, 2011 at 18:20

      Hi Cheryl,

      Your questions are wonderful but too complicated to respond to in a quick response here. That being said, there are a lot of things you can do to help your son as well as advocate for him. Would you like a complementary phone consultation where I can give you some specific direction?
      If so, email me your phone number and several times that would be good for you at

      Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

    • bonnieterry
      May 26th, 2011 at 18:21

      Hi Cheryl,

      Your questions are wonderful but too complicated to respond to in a quick response here. That being said, there are a lot of things you can do to help your son as well as advocate for him. Would you like a complementary phone consultation where I can give you some specific direction?
      If so, email me your phone number and several times that would be good for you at

      Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
      The Nation’s Learning Expert

  13. Colleen
    Jun 17th, 2011 at 10:22

    Thank you for giving this list of tips! My 7yr old was recently diagnosed with CAPD with deficiencies in Auditory Memory and Decoding. When I asked the speech pathologist at his school for some tips or exercises to work on over the summer, she just told me to make sure he reads, so I really appreciate this list of activities that we can use since he isn’t eligible for therapy through the school and we cannot afford the Earobics or FastForeward programs at this time.

    • bonnieterry
      Jun 17th, 2011 at 17:17

      So glad to be of help. My Making Spelling Sense book that teaches spelling also addresses multiple areas of auditory processing at the same time as teaches spelling. It would be of help to you too.

      Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET
      Board Certified Educational Therapist
      The Nation’s Learning Expert

  14. mark
    Aug 13th, 2011 at 22:24

    thank you for this post, i learned a lot. i will share this to my friend who has a sister suffering from a learning disability.

  15. Trish
    Aug 15th, 2011 at 17:06

    Thanks. Rarely does anyone offer free advice. I checked out your afordable products as well. Thank you. I can’t believe what people charge to help our children, which is all I want to do. Appreciate the ideas.

  16. sugar35
    Aug 16th, 2011 at 00:28

    Hi there as i was reading your post I was not aware that some(?) ADD kids have a hearing impairment? We are lucky then, cause my nephew with ADD doesn’t have a hearing disability. Great people like you tirelessly make things more easy for our people with learning disability. Please do go on exploring more for improving this kids life.

    • bonnieterry
      Sep 12th, 2011 at 12:28

      The impairment may not be a acuity one but one in one of the areas of auditory perception that make it harder to learn. That is the type of hearing I’m talking about – how you process the information you are hearing. There are 9 different areas of auditory processing that affect learning. The activities given will improve those areas.

  17. Troy Roesler
    Sep 29th, 2011 at 18:09

    Nice site, nice and easy on the eyes and great content too. Do you need many drafts to make a post?

  18. Venetra
    Oct 21st, 2011 at 07:55

    Yes I love auditory learning because they like to hear things and we like to play sports..!!!

    • bonnieterry
      Oct 28th, 2011 at 16:04

      Thanks so much commenting! Please pass the word along.
      BTW: You can now listen to my radio show Learning Made Easy Talk Radio on the Amazing Women of Power Radio Network – Positive Programming #awoptalk. It airs on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays.

  19. Betty
    Oct 25th, 2011 at 04:24

    ahh greath! this is perfect for my nephew! thanks!

    • bonnieterry
      Oct 28th, 2011 at 16:02

      Thanks so much! Please pass the word along.
      BTW: You can now listen to my radio show Learning Made Easy Talk Radio on the Amazing Women of Power Radio Network – Positive Programming #awoptalk. It airs on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays.

  20. Myra
    Nov 4th, 2011 at 07:36

    I’m so glad I came across your website. My son has auditory processing disorder along with sensory processing disorder and this is one area I haven’t yet been able to tackle with him. Thank you for your ideas. I plan to just go down the list and do each activity with him for a few days. I think he must have improved some though as his speech developed and as he learned to read. I blog about him sometimes at I am curious to know how often auditory processing disorder comes along with vestibular and proprioceptive dysfunction. I know that the vestibular system is closely tied with the auditory one, I’m just wondering if there are any statistics on it.

    • bonnieterry
      Nov 7th, 2011 at 12:04

      Not sure if there are statistics on it but my experience of 38 years teaching does show a correlation to it.
      BTW: I have a weekly radio program now. Radio Program: Learning Made Easy Talk Radio every Sunday 10 am CST and 3 pm CST

  21. Tonya Barrett
    Nov 22nd, 2011 at 12:47

    This gave me some ideas. My son at the age of 12 years old and in 7th grade has just been diagnosed with CAPD and also memory disorder because of the CAPD. I have had a doctor say that his severe case is extremely unusual.I need help. Any websites that would help me with this disorder, or any help for to prepare for a school meeting to be prepared for I would appreciate it. I am afraid I am going to miss something that could help my son now, and right now he is in desparate need of help. Thank you, concerned parent.

    • bonnieterry
      Dec 6th, 2011 at 13:32

      There is a lot you can do at home to help your son improve his skills! It would take too long to answer this via email so instead, would like a complimentary 30 minute consult where I can let you know some specifics.

  22. Jean
    Dec 5th, 2011 at 19:25

    Thanks for the information. My daughter is just turned 6 in the first grade and is having a problem following directions. Unfortunately, I can’t go to school with her and “make” her listen. she loves the little games and it teaches her how to learn to listen.I am deciding if I want to have her tested for auditory processing when she is so young.

    • bonnieterry
      Dec 6th, 2011 at 13:29

      There is a lot you can do at home to help your daughter with this! Let me know if you would like a complimentary 30 minute consult where I can let you know your options.

  23. Ruby
    Dec 5th, 2011 at 21:12

    Hi Bonnie
    I have a 6 year old son that has all the classic signs of auditory disorder. Thank you for this post…it is very helpful and informative. I wanted to ask you what do you think of The Listening Program. Claims that it may help imrpove my sons ability to listen and focus. It is a home base treatment.

    • bonnieterry
      Dec 6th, 2011 at 13:28

      I see what you are looking at. I have a variety of things that I would like to suggest to you but it would take too long to answer via email. Would you like a 30 minute complimentary consult where I can go over the suggestions with you?

  24. Ruby
    Dec 6th, 2011 at 20:14

    Hi Bonnie
    Not sure if that reply was for me but yes I would like to try the 30 minute complimentary consult if that offer is for me. Thank you


  25. listen2up
    Mar 30th, 2013 at 22:30

    It is nice your tips are so practical — great to see the attention they are receiving. Just FYI, for the adults out there affected themselves by APD, the following summary of the condition may be helpful to elicit understanding, since it’s still a bit of an invisible condition –

  26. Lauren maftel
    Jun 12th, 2013 at 03:53

    Nice article Thanks a lot for sharing.

  27. organo gold
    Jul 2nd, 2013 at 04:29

    what a wonderful post.. this are Simple one-step directions for kids to practice following. With practice, all kids can be better listeners!

  28. Dapper style
    Dec 11th, 2013 at 03:05

    Nice share. Auditory Processing Activities is good and easy way for learning disabilities.

  29. elizabeth
    Mar 5th, 2014 at 08:18

    I receive today a report of my seven year old daughter that she is poor in auditory perception activities but good in visual perception actitities. How can i help her.

    • bonnieterry
      Mar 5th, 2014 at 16:30

      There is a LOT you can do to help your daughter! The best way to advise you would be to have a 30 minute complimentary consultation. Just give the office a call to schedule it. Our number is 530-888-7160.

  30. Shirley
    Apr 27th, 2014 at 06:43

    Good morning. This page has been set to my favorites!!!! My son is only 3 1/2 but I have noticed a severe delay in his “auditory processing” (according to his evaluation). After attending our CPSE meeting, sadly and frustrating, the Supervisor treated me as if I was invisible. Speaking up and now knowing, “I AM MY SON’S STRONGEST ADVOCATE,” I will be helping him myself at home with his difficulty. The activities you mention above are a good beginning place for me. Can you recommend anything else for a child of 3-4. This will be of great help. I don’t want to wait 3 more years until the Dept of Ed is ready to diagnose or evaluate him. This is valuable time where I can help him to be as close to the level as he can be.
    A million and one thanks again!!!! Be Blessed as you Bless us with this information you share!

    • bonnieterry
      Apr 28th, 2014 at 12:13

      There is so-o-o much you can do NOW! I have a VAK Therapy Program that is filled with auditory, visual, and tactile/kinesthetic activities that will help him. This is a program where I teach you via video lessons how to help him. You can read more about it here: Awaken the Scholar Within VAK Therapy Program. There are activities for a wide age range and you can adjust the activities accordingly too. There are also other articles on my blog with more auditory activities.

      Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET

      The Dyslexia and ADHD Expert
      Phone: 530-888-7160
      Blog: Reading, Writing & Math Help for Dyslexia, LD & ADHD
      Best Selling Author: Family Strategies for ADHD Kids, School Strategies for ADHD Kids, Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills Best selling co-author: Amazing Grades
      Radio Program: Learning Made Easy Talk Radio every Tuesday 9:30 am CST on AWOP

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