I've mentioned several times lately that we've been focused on improving Lauren's reading comprehension skills. In addition to trying new curriculum, we've been using a bone conduction headset from Forbrain -- Sound For Life Ltd.
Forbrain works in two ways. First, the microphone piece picks up the sound and filters it to enhance specific frequencies found in human speech. Secondly, the sound is transmitted through bone conduction, not typical headphones or ear buds. According to the Forbrain, using the headset for fifteen to twenty minutes per day for six weeks can produce lasting improvement in attention, concentration, memory, speech articulation, and more.
The Forbrain headset is lightweight and was easily positioned on Lauren's head so that the sound was transmitted through bone conduction. (The parts of the headset that looks like large ear buds actually sits in front of the ears.) At times Lauren got a bit frustrated with the microphone part. Depending on the way that it is turned it has a tendency to twist downward instead of staying in the same place. I could usually fiddle with it so that it would stay in place, but Lauren wasn't always successful in getting it adjusted by herself.
I tried the Forbrain myself and was fairly impressed. I did pay more attention to the materials when I was reading it aloud using the Forbrain. That's actually saying quite a bit because I frequently read stories aloud to Lauren without really paying attention to what's going on, especially if it's a book that I've read before.
I found quite a few ways to incorporate this new tool into Lauren's school days. One of her favorite ways to use it is for her poetry memorization practice. She listens to herself read a new poem several times and then tries to recite it without looking at the text.
Since her poetry selections change every few days, I was never able to do a direct comparison between memorizing a poem with the Forbrain and memorizing one without. She prefers using the Forbrain, even though she never could explain why. I suspect that clearly hearing the words as she reads them provides extra sensory input that helps her memorize the poem more quickly than she would otherwise.
The other way we've used Forbrain is during her reading time. Many of our days lately have included long car rides to get to various appointments. When we left home, I'd grab a book for her and our Forbrain (in its protective carrying case).
As I drove, I would have her read a chapter (or two) using the Forbrain. The first time she did this, I was amazed at the details she could recall from the book. Typically, I would get vague answers about what happened in the story, sometimes answers so vague that I wasn't sure she had understood enough about the plot to move on to the next chapter. She was reading a book about an April Fool's Day fairy one day while we were driving, and she started telling me all sorts of details about the chapter. She told me what three things the fairy had lost, why they were important, and then told me the first two April Fool's tricks that the main characters had attempted in that chapter. I was amazed. Obviously, I cannot prove that using the Forbrain for reading was the only factor that helped her remember so many details, but I have seen similar results on other days when she read using the Forbrain.
According to Forbrain, lasting results can be seen after consistent use for six to ten weeks. At this point, I can see benefits while she is using the headset, but not necessarily at other times. With a busy season of doctors appointments, a short hospitalization, and some various fun activities, we have not been consistent with using the headset daily. For now, we'll continue to use it for some reading activities. I suspect we'll be able to be more consistent with daily use in the fall and may be able to see even more benefits.
Forbrain costs $359 and comes with a money-back guarantee. It's suitable for all ages, with program recommendations for children under five years old all the way up to adults.
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