What is a Whisper Phone?
Posted on September 04 2019
What is a Whisper Phone?
Discover what you need to know about the Toobaloo auditory feedback device.
If you have a struggling reader in your classroom or a child with a speech problem, you may have discovered whisper phones in your research. This inexpensive tool for both home and school can help students with reading comprehension and fluency. In this post, explore more about the Toobaloo whisper phone, including:
- What they are
- Features that make them special
- Who they can help
- Where to use whisper phones
- How they work
- Where to get a whisper phone
- Tips for using them
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about our auditory feedback devices below.
What is a Toobaloo whisper phone?
A Toobaloo whisper phone is a small, lightweight auditory feedback device designed to enhance reading comprehension and fluency. Sometimes referred to as a fluency phone, this device allows a child to speak softly into it while listening to the clarity and rhythm of their words. The instant feedback encourages the child to make any necessary adjustments to their fluency or pronunciation as they speak.
Features of the Toobaloo whisper phone
Learning Loft, the maker of the Toobaloo, was founded in 2002 by a schoolteacher. With her unique experience and knowledge, she designed an auditory feedback device for kids that is appealing, intuitive, and effective. Toobaloo reading phones are available in these nine colors, including neon tones:
- Neon yellow
- Neon green
- Neon orange
The Toobaloo is a lightweight tool weighing just 1.02 ounces. It allows for easy handling for all ages and is made of break-resistant plastic to ensure it’s tough enough to last. All our products are non-toxic and CPSIA-certified for safety.
The Toobaloo Headset is an optional add-on product that can transform our whisper phone into a hands-free educational tool. Free hands allow students to easily read, play, and act out story-time while still getting the benefits of auditory feedback to help improve pronunciation and increase fluency.
Who can benefit from a Toobaloo whisper phone?
While any child can benefit from instant auditory feedback, those who need extra help with reading, pronunciation, and even comprehension may experience the best results. A Toobaloo whisper phone is uniquely designed for those struggling with:
Stuttering can be a frustrating speech disorder that is characterized by the repetition of sounds, syllables or words; the prolonging of sounds; and interruptions in speech known as blocks. Roughly 3 million Americans stutter, and about 5 to 10 percent of children will stutter for at least some period in their lifetime. While stuttering can continue into adulthood, it is most commonly found in young children. Our fluency phone is one strategy that may improve stuttering in children because it can help them work on the patterns of sound and pronunciation. If a child can hear himself say a word correctly over and over, they may have more success when repeating that word in a conversation.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder marked by a difficulty in matching letters with their sounds in the correct order. This incredibly prevalent learning disorder affects up to 1 in 5 students in a classroom. An estimated 15-20% of the population shows some symptoms of dyslexia. Reading aids for dyslexia like the Toobaloo have been shown to help with phonemic awareness and the comprehension of reading material.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), also known as Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD), is a hearing problem that affects about 5% of young children. Children who experience this disorder have difficulty processing sounds they hear because of interference with the way that the brain recognizes and interprets sounds. Appropriate speech-language therapy techniques and tools can help these children develop better language and reading skills over time. An auditory feedback device like the Toobaloo can help assist with speech therapy by helping the child concentrate on their own voice and the reading material available. By making the speaker’s voice louder and more direct, the child may be poised to understand their own words and sounds better.
Autism refers to a broad range of conditions often characterized by challenges with social skills, speech, nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 59 children in the United States is affected by autism. The Toobaloo may help autistic children by allowing them to focus on their reading and gain auditory feedback through reading aloud. Because children with autism often struggle with over- or under-stimulation, we recommend reading in a quiet, sensory-neutral space and taking frequent breaks as needed.
Where are whisper phones used?
Toobaloo whisper phones can be used in a wide variety of settings to help children improve their reading comprehension and speech fluency, including:
Parents can use whisper phones when helping their struggling child with homework or as a motivational tool to help them read aloud at home. The Toobaloo can make family reading time fun and encourage struggling students to read more often. Boost self-esteem and confidence by pairing the Toobaloo and our other kid-approved reading tool, the Eye Lighter, for a powerful learning experience.
Our convenient and affordable Toobaloo 6-packs make it easy to buy in bulk for every student of your classroom. These safe and kid-approved auditory feedback devices are especially helpful when students practice reading aloud in class. This lightweight, fun tool for every skill level can increase comprehension, address speech needs such as dyslexia and stuttering, and reinforce reading lessons. Additionally, the noise level of your classroom will benefit from these devices! By necessity, children who use fluency phones will learn to speak in a whisper or very quiet voice. This lowering of speech volume teaches students to develop ‘quiet voices’ for indoor settings and makes it easier to hold a classroom-wide independent reading time.
Check out additional reading aids for your classroom here.
Speech therapists use this effective tool with children as young as four years old to work on different sounds and accentuations. See your patients’ reading and speech abilities progress through clear auditory feedback and increased confidence. Reinforce your therapy sessions through this speech therapy tool for kids known to be effective with the special needs of autism, dyslexia, stuttering, and APD.
How do they help?
Improvement in reading rates, phrasing, and expressionAdditional benefits of using a Toobaloo fluency phone to help children with reading or speech difficulties include:
- Improvement in reading rates, phrasing, and expression
- Reduction of stuttering behaviors
- Boosted confidence as the child learns to master new skills
- Increase in fluency and comprehension
- Increase in a genuine excitement about reading
Where to buy fluency phones
The Toobaloo can be purchased directly from the Learning Loft website in singles, 3-packs, and 6-packs. At just $5.95 per phone, you can help the children in your life improve their reading and speech skills and build confidence in their abilities.
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Tips for using the Toobaloo
Just getting started with fluency phones? Here are a few tips for introducing this new tool to your children:
Relate the Toobaloo to a telephone
Have the child repeat words you recite into the Toobaloo so they can understand how the device works and get familiar with its functions.
Test out the hands-free option
Show the child how the Toobaloo headset is similar to a Bluetooth device by modeling it. Some children may prefer one method of use than another, so be sure to allow them to try the Toobaloo with both the headset and without.
Make it into a game
Help reluctant readers get motivated to read more often by using the Toobaloo to make reading fun. Incorporate fun activities into your lesson plans, such as acting out the story they’re reading.
Help the child in your life who is struggling with reading, speech, or comprehension. Shop our kid-approved and affordable Toobaloo whisper phones online or call our customer care team at 877.819.2541.
For more reading or speech improvement tools and helpful tips, please check out our exclusive blog collection here.