Phonics Phones (Toobaloo)/ Forbrain
What is a Phonics Phones/ Toobaloo ?
A phonics phone is a simple tube shaped like a ‘telephone’ receiver, often made from plastic PVC pipe. There are several different versions of these phones, however most are simple hollow tubes that allow the student to speak quietly in one end and hear their own voice through the other. Students use the ‘phone’ to listen to their own voice as they practice reading. challenges with the Toobaloo. Created by a teacher, the it is an educational tool designed to provide auditory feedback which helps children learn to read, increase fluency and comprehension
By speaking into the phone, children hear themselves (auditory feedback) and can make adjustments to fluency, pronunciation and even increase comprehension.
Why Can Simple Plastic Phonics Phones Enhance Reading Instruction?
Phonics phones can be a useful tool for various reading instruction activities. These simple devices are a fabulous tool for reading instruction because:
1. The phone helps the student ‘hear’ their own voice. The pipe funnels the child’s voice directly to their ear. This intentional focus on hearing sounds helps the students acquire phonemic awareness, a critical element to developing necessary proficient reader phonologic processing pathways.
2. The phone compels the student to speak in a whisper or very quiet voice. In fact, if the student talks into the phone in a normal volume it is uncomfortably loud. By funneling their voice directly to the ear, the device itself dictates the student speak quietly. It works! (Almost all students automatically correct themselves to a whisper but a few with exceptionally loud voices may need a demonstration.)
3. The phone improves the student’s focus and attention because they are intentionally listening to their own voice. Both the physical presence of the phone and the sound funneling attributes help the student pay attention and listen carefully to what they are saying when they read. The phones improve the students focus on their own task and are less apt to be distracted by what their neighbor is saying/reading.
4. The phones help maintain classroom ‘quiet’ by reducing the overall noise level. Students must speak softly, or else they blast their own ears. This allows an entire classroom of students to quietly read orally without disturbing each other. The phones keep ‘noisy’ readers quiet so they do not disturb their neighbors. This ‘noise management’ aspect of the phones provides a fantastic tool for classroom teachers.
5. As an added bonus, it appears most students like using these effective tools. Feedback from many teachers across a wide range of grade levels indicates their students “love the phones”, “thought they were the neatest things”, “reach for the phones”, “voluntarily use the phones” and even “went bonkers for the phones”.
6. The phones may function as a tool to provide a level of privacy that is particularly important for struggling and adolescent students. This privacy may help struggling readers overcome their reluctance to read out loud. Many times older students who struggle with reading avoid out loud reading because they are self conscious and embarrassed to have their peers hear them read. This creates a catch-22 situation where the students who absolutely need to practice to build reading skills avoid practice for social reasons. The phones allow the students to practice necessary out loud reading without others hearing them. In a mixed level classroom, be sure ALL the students use the phones for all reading practice so struggling readers are not singled out. Avoid the situation where students perceive only the ‘slow’ readers use the phones.
Crystal Clear Auditory Feedback. The phone helps the student ‘hear’ their own voice. The pipe funnels the child’s voice directly to their ear. This intentional focus on hearing sounds helps the students acquire phonemic awareness, a critical element to developing necessary proficient reader phonologic processing pathways.
Self Monitored Reading Rate, Phrasing and Expression (sound, duration, pitch and stress)--The phone improves the student’s focus and attention because they are intentionally listening to their own voice. Both the physical presence of the phone and the sound funneling attributes help the student pay attention and listen carefully to what they are saying when they read. The phones improve the students focus on their own task and are less apt to be distracted by what their neighbor is saying/reading.
Build Confidence in Reading and Comprehension
Improve Self-Esteem for All Levels of Readers
Increase Reading Fluency and Comprehension
Fun Motivation to Read
Opportunities to Read Aloud Daily in the Classroom without Disrupting Others
Phonemic Awareness (PA) Activities:
The phones are an ideal tool for phonemic awareness activities. The tube design funnels sound directly to the ear and tends to block out other background noise. Not only do the phones likely boost physical hearing they also directly focus the child on listening to and hearing sounds. When a child holds a phone, they intentionally listen to the sound coming out the earpiece. This direct focus on sound is vital to developing necessary phonemic awareness, the ability to hear, recognize and distinguish the sound structure of our language. For additional information on phonemic awareness
Aim to optimise the audio-vocal loop’s operating ability. Forbrain aims to deliver one's voice directly via bone structure
The audio-vocal loop or Auditory feedback loop
This is the natural process by which every individual perceives, analyzes, assimilates and continuously adjusts the information individually received and produced through sound.
To function properly, this audio-vocal loop draws on the abilities of auditory discrimination, phonological awareness and integration of rhythm that each person activates effortlessly. These skills are natural to human function and go far beyond speech. They are necessary in all learning processes.
** There is limited evidence demonstrating Forbrain serves as an altered auditory feedback Device to enhance our active listening to our own voice at home
Escera, C., López-Caballero, F., Gorina-Careta, N. (2018). The Potential Effect of Forbrain as an Altered Auditory Feedback Device. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR, 61(4), 801–810. https://doi.org/10.1044/2017_JSLHR-S-17-0072
Sun, J., Chen, C., Zhang, M., Dou, N., Shuxing, L. I., Dan, L. I. (2017). Speech-auditory feedback training on cognitive dysfunctions instrokepatients. Chinese Journal of Behavioral Medicine and Brain Science, 26(6), 524-528.
Sun Jinju, Chen Changxiang, Zhang Min, Dou Na, Li Shuxing, Li Dan. (2017). Speech-auditory feedback training (Forbrain®) on Cognitive Dysfunctions in Stroke Patient, Journal of Behavioral Medicine and Brain Science, June 2017, Vol.26, No.6
Carles Escera, PhD, Professor. (2014). A scientific single case study on speech, auditory processing and attentional strengthening with Forbrain. Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior (IR3C) and Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology University of Barcelona
Carmen María Gómez Guillermo, Máster en Neuropsicología y Educación. (2018). Study of Speech Fluency, Memory and Attention with Forbrain. Universidad Internacional de La Rioja Máster Universitario en Neuropsicología y Educación
Dr. M.Estaki (Esteki), Assistant professor. (2017). The effect of sound therapy with Forbrain® on reading skills and auditory discrimination for students with reading difficulties. Journal of garmian university. 5. 454-464. 10.24271/garmian.383.
How Does the Auditory System Work?
The auditory system is comprised of three components; the outer, middle, and inner ear, all of which work together to transfer sounds from the environment to the brain.
The Outer Ear includes the portion of the ear that we see and the ear canal.
The Middle Ear is composed of the eardrum and the cavity, which houses the ossicular chain (the connection from the middle ear to the inner ear).
The Inner Ear is composed of the sensory organ for hearing—the cochlea.
In the human ear, a sound wave is transmitted through four separate mediums along the auditory system before a sound is perceived: in the outer ear—air, in the middle ear— mechanical, in the inner ear liquid and to the brain—neural.
What Is Auditory Feedback?
Auditory Feedback is the task of hearing the sound of one’s own voice while speaking, which enables adjustments in pronunciation, clarity and the rhythm of speech.
Auditory Feedback is used in speech,
language, auditory processing and reading
Why is Auditory Feedback Important?
The Auditory Feedback Loop is basically the process of saying what you hear and hearing what you say. When there is something that breaks down in that loop several learning activities become compromised. Things like concentration, reading and speech are at risk for full development. In addition, the child with a compromised Auditory Feedback Loop can have low self-esteem and confidence as well as heightened anxiety.
Even children without a breakdown in their system can benefit from enhanced Auditory Feedback. Hearing their own pronunciation, pace and fluctuation while speaking or reading allow children to adjust and correct what they hear and say.
By supporting the Auditory Feedback Loop the Toobaloo can increase reading and speech: