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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center News
Issue 3 - March, 2011
You can sometimes make words using the letters in a larger word. For example, from the word "tube" you can make "be," "bet," "but," and "tub." Now onto a harder one: how many words can you make from the words "jump rope?" (Hint: we found 32.)

Riddles for Kids: Springtime Fun
Q: What season is it when you are on a trampoline?
A: Spring-time!

Q: Can February March?
A: No, but April May!

Q: How is the letter A like a spring flower?
A: Both are followed by bees!

Q: Why did the farmer plant a seed in his pond?
A: He was trying to grow a watermelon!

Q: What is a chick after it is three months old?
A: Four months old!

Q: What do you get if you cross a four leaf clover with poison ivy?
A: A rash of good luck.

Q: What did the bee say to the flower?
A: Hi, Bud! What time do you open?

Q: What did the flower say to the bee?
A: Buzz off!

Q: Why do hummingbirds hum in the spring?
A: Because they forgot the words!

Q: What goes up when springtime rains come down?
A: Umbrellas!

Answers to WordsInWords
Emu (an interesting one; look it up!), jumper, me, mop, mope, more, or, ore, our, pep, per, perm, poem, pomp, pop, pope, pore, pour, prep, prom, prop, pump, pumper, pup, pure, romp, rope, rue, rum, rump, up, upper.

In This Issue

  • Seminars — Stuttering Seminar on Monday, March 14
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online
  • Developmental Milestones for Literacy
  • How Stuttering is Treated, and What You Can Do to Help
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in March!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Enriching Your Child's Vocabulary
  • Techniques for Improving Your Child's Literacy Skills
  • PECS: A Communication System for Children on the Autistic Spectrum
  • Could Cochlear Implants Help Your Child Overcome a Hearing Impairment?
  • Links to Literacy: Websites You Can Use with Your Child

You're receiving this newsletter either because you have requested it, or because you're a current or former client or associate of Park Slope Communication & Learning Center. If you do not wish to receive any further newsletters, please click "Unsubscribe" at the bottom. You'll have the opportunity to "opt-out" with every e-mail.

Our ongoing goal is to keep you informed about all matters related to the Communication Continuum: Speech, Language, and Literacy; to keep you updated on our seminars and other matters of interest; to answer questions you may have, and also provide some fun activities for your child, created by us, by colleagues, as well as syndicated content.


Please submit any questions you have regarding Speech, Language, and Literacy, and we'll be happy to reply in an upcoming issue of CC-News. If you do submit a question (to news@parkslopecc.com), be sure to let us know if you'd like your name (first and/or last) to appear, or if you'd prefer it left out.


In the past, we've held seminars and discussions on: Stuttering, Auditory Processing Disorders, How to Help Your Child Develop Reading Skills, Early Speech and Language Development (0 - 5), Speech/Language/Feeding Developmental Milestones, Using the Phonic Engine® Reading Method to Facilitate Reading, Writing, and Spelling. Please let us know if you'd personally like any of these repeated, or have other topics that you'd like to hear about.

On Monday, March 14, at 7:30 PM, we will be holding a seminar on stuttering. Joining us will be Ray Mancini, a highly successful Web designer, and a client who we see for stuttering. Ray maintains a blog on stuttering, which may be viewed at http://meandmyspeech.com. Where: Park Slope Communication & Learning Center, 258 6th Ave., Corner of Garfield Place. 718.768.3526 (x 0). Please call to reserve. Space is limited.

Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: February, 2011

As some of you may know, we utilize our Phonic Engine® Reading Method to help children catch up with, or enrich, their reading skills. The lives of many children we have worked with have been turned around using this method. Starting with this issue of CC-News, we will be highlighting activities and successes from the previous month, with the intention of informing, and promoting this novel approach to the teaching of language arts which, we believe, can have a highly positive effect on children well beyond this practice. If any reader knows of a school or practice in a disadvantaged area, where the practitioners are dedicated, and willing to learn, we are more than happy to work with them at no cost.

So, what did our kids learn about and achieve in our Phonic Engine Reading Program in February?

Reading Fluency
The National Reading Panel's 2000 Report, Teaching Children to Read, identified Guided Oral Reading as a preferred method for achieving reading fluency. In early February, we had all members of a group of three read The First Snow Storm with Merlin (the voice of KidsVoyager® Online), and then read silently until they felt they understood the story, assisted by the Phonic Engine methods of gliding the mouse over paragraphs to hear them; clicking single words to hear them pronounced; and double clicking them to hear their meanings.

When they subsequently read the passage out loud to the group, each read almost flawlessly.

One phonics activity, in mid-February, utilized the Phonic Engine initial/final sound word encoding technique to help the children analyze what letters were forming the long o as in open. During this reading session, the children used initial/final sound pairs to find 4 words. Each word had a long o, spelled differently. The words were boat, soda, note and snow. So we had /oa/,/o/,/o with silent e/ and /ow/. Then we looked for more words that reflected these patterns. Finding more words with these patterns (and perhaps others) was also their homework assignment.

We also did a lesson on the short vowels, drawing pictures to reflect each sound such as apple for short a, octopus for short o, etc.

During the week prior to President's Day, the children studied the life and contributions of our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. The children read/heard about him at gardenofpraise.com.

Each child wore headphones while listening to Merlin. The children were instructed to read along with Merlin in order to become acquainted with the language and vocabulary of the article. The children used the "double click page" function to learn new vocabulary words. When one boy, for instance, didn't know what the word "scarce" meant, when the article noted that, for the studious, young Abe, "books were scarce," he simply clicked twice on the word and a dictionary program opened up which read him the answer.

We mentioned to the parents that we were surprised that none of the children knew anything about Abe Lincoln, except that he was once a president after George Washington. One mom replied that because schools are "teaching to the (standardized) tests," they are not teaching the kind of subject matter that they used to.

We're curious to hear from other parents as to whether they have noticed that their children are being taught simply how to pass tests, and missing out on the kind of knowledge that we all learned, found interesting, and thought was important.

Author's Intent
Another lesson, on the last day of February, focused on "author's intent." Understanding "author's intent" helps an individual better analyze, comprehend, and put in perspective what he or she is reading.

Was the author trying to entertain, inform or persuade the reader? We used websites that had different examples of this online, and the children were able to get immediate feedback regarding whether their interpretations were correct or not.

For example, the children read a web page from studyzone.org. The children read the writing samples to try and figure out what the intent was. This was a lesson that most children seemed to readily grasp. It also made for very animated conversation, even when the students were on different web pages, doing different lessons.

So February was a very good month and we are looking forward to March. We will talk about the change of season that will take place on March 20, 2011. We are all happily looking forward to spring!

Developmental Milestones For Literacy

Prior to pointing out developmental milestones for literacy, we'd like to stress that, perhaps, the single most helpful thing parents can do for their children with respect to literacy is to read with their children in a playful manner. Look at words together, point to pictures that the words represent, letters that make certain sounds, and so on. Do this in a way that's fun for both parent and child, and never force things. Forcing can have a negative impact, and cause children to develop a dislike for reading.

It is important to understand that the milestones below are broad guidelines, and should not be interpreted as something you child must be able to do, as all children develop differently, and many variations are absolutely, completely normal. We can't emphasize this enough, as many parents tend to become concerned if their child seems months behind another child, or a milestone, as listed below. However, if you see substantial variation, such as your child not being able, for example, at 24 months, to perform an activity which is a listed as a 12 month milestone, that may be cause for concern, and you should probably seek professional guidance.

12-18 Months
  • Points at pictures with one finger
  • Makes the same sound for a particular picture (for example, the hard "c" sound, or a "moo" sound for a cow)
  • Points when asked where is…?
  • Turns a book right side up
  • Gives a book to you to read
Some enjoyable books for this age are:
Goodnight Moon - by Margaret Wise Brown
The Snowy Day - by Ezra Jack Keats
Moon Bear - by Frank Asch
Corduroy - by Don Freeman
Pat the Bunny - by Dorothy Kunhardt
Clap Hands - by Helen Oxenbury
The Very Hungry Caterpillar - by Eric Carles

18-24 Months
  • Relates books to children's experiences
  • Uses books as part of a routine
  • Asks simple 'wh' questions
  • Completes your sentences when reading
Some good books for this age are:
The Little Red Hen - by Bryon Barton
Wait Till The Moon is Full - by Margaret Wise Brown
Clifford The Big Red Dog - by Norman Bridwell
All the books above, as well

24-36 Months
  • Recites familiar text from memory
  • Coordinates text with pictures
  • Notices or protests when adult uses wrong word in a frequently read book
  • Reads familiar book to self
Good books for this age are:
Curious George - by H.A. Rey
Stellaluna - by Jannell Cannon
The Cat in the Hat - by Dr. Suess
Millions of Cats - by Wanda Gag
All Fall Down - by Helen Oxenbury
Big Fat Hen - by Keith Baker

36-48 Months
  • Listens to longer stories
  • Can retell a familiar story
  • Understands what text is
  • Moves finger along text
  • Starts to recognize some letters
  • May know some alphabet sounds
  • Tries to "write" ideas or notes by scribbling
Some good books for this age include:
Previous books in greater detail, plus
When Sophie Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry - Molly Bang
Where Does the Brown Bear Go? Nicki Weiss
Where's Spot - Eric Hill
The Everything Book - Denis Fleming
Over in the Meadow - Ezra Jack Keats
Arthur's Birthday (and other "Arthur" books) - Marc Brown

  • Knows that text moves from left to right and top to bottom
  • Knows that print carries meaning
  • Recognizes most letters of the alphabet and corresponding sounds
  • Can tell a story using characters and settings
  • Can produce rhyming words
  • Pretends to read a book, using pictures as clues to the text
  • May begin to recognize frequently seen words
  • Can tell what sound is at the beginning of the word
  • Starts to read signs, food packages, and other commonly seen items
Good books for this age:
Nate the Great - by Marjorie Sharmat
Danny and the Dinosaur - by Sid Hoff
Arthur's Reading Race - by Marc Brown
Berenstain Bears Go to School (and other Berenstain Bears books) - by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Red Light Green Light - by Margaret Wise Brown

First Grade
  • Uses variety of strategies to read unknown words
  • Using context, can self-correct while reading
  • Can retell a story describing characters, setting, problem, outcome — 3/3/2011also predict outcomes based on title and pictures
  • Can read and understand simple books
  • Can tap out syllables and break up a word into its sounds
  • Can change, take away or add sounds to make new words
  • Can read approximately 100 words by sight
Second Grade
  • Uses encoding skills to sound out words
  • Recognizes sight words
  • Is more attentive and can understand some punctuation
  • Monitors their own reading for meaning
  • Self-corrects as needed
  • Applies phonics and word analysis skills
First and Second Grade Books:
Amelia Bedelia - by Peggy Parish
Freight Train - by Donald Crews
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (and other Very... books) - by Eric Carle
Frog and Toad Are Friends - by Arnold Lobel
There's An Alligator Under My Bed - by Mercer Mayer
Freckle Juice - by Judy Blume
Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business - by Barbara Park
Leo the Late Bloomer - by Robert Kraus
Mrs. Brice's Mice - by Syd Hoff
Third Grade
  • Reads more independently
  • Focuses more on meaning
  • Reading becomes a way to learn new vocabulary and concepts
  • Demonstrates more skilled, efficient and fluent reading
  • Uses many strategies to understand stories
Second and Third Grade Books:
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective - by Donald J. Robert
There's A Boy in the Girl's Bathroom - by Louis Sachar
Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor - by Joanna Cole
Little House in the Big Woods - by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Knight at Dawn - by Mary Pope Osborne
Henry and Beezus - by Beverly Cleary
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing - by Judy Blume
The Hungry Thing - by Jan Slepian & Ann Seidler

Of course, reading skills continue to develop after this time. Also, your child's reading skills will help him/her learn new vocabulary words and acquire greater knowledge about the world in which we live.

Next month we will focus on what parents can do to facilitate literacy skills at every age.

How Stuttering is Treated, and What You Can Do to Help

What You Can Do to Help
In the last issue of CC-News, we had an article entitled Is it Normal Disfluency or Stuttering in Preschoolers? In this issue, we'll talk about some techniques you can use to help your child at home, and discuss the therapeutic treatment for stuttering, should it become necessary.

You may be considering getting a speech evaluation for your child if he or she is speaking with disfluencies. In the meantime, here are some ways you can begin to help your child at home, which may be all he or she needs.

First, and most important, is to provide a positive speaking model for your child by slowing down your own rate of speech. You should take at least 2 seconds before answering your child's questions to model typical speech pauses. These pauses should be encouraged as they help to minimize stress associated with speaking.

Another extremely helpful thing you can do — and this may be particularly helpful in cases where disfluency is a result of, for example, a physical trauma, such as a broken arm, which can tend precipitate stuttering — is to model correct speech. If your child stutters, for example, when he or she says "Mommy, when's d-d-d-inner gonna be ready?", repeat the question slowly and fluently, i.e. "When's dinner gonna be ready?" Then, answer the question, such as by saying, slowly, "Dinner's going to be in about 10 minutes, sweetie."

Always maintain eye contact with your child, and keep a smile on your face while you are talking together! Additionally, you can tweak some aspects of the home environment to assist your child in reducing his or her disfluencies.

Keep the noise in the home to a minimum when conversing. Shut off the television, lower the volume of the music, and avoid talking over each other. When your child speaks, give him or her adequate time to complete the verbal message, free from interruptions. Don't fill in his or her words, although it may be tempting to "help out" when your child is struggling.

When your child shares his or her ideas with you, provide lots of positive encouragement and praise! If your child stutters or struggles to communicate an idea, try not to show worry on your face. Children are very perceptive and will respond to facial cues you provide, so stay positive no matter how his or her stuttering makes you feel!

Therapeutic Treatment for Stuttering
If your child does need therapy, it will most likely take one of two forms. If the child is completely unaware of his or her disfluencies, then the therapist will most likely use a non-directive, play approach. This means the child will come in and be allowed to play with any toy or game, while the therapist models what we call "slow and easy" talking. There are no verbal demands made at this time. S/he will be asked no questions. The therapist will use comments to obtain information, saying such things as, "I'll bet you had fun in school today."

Without asking explicitly what the child did, this comment will, most of the time, elicit just that kind of reply. The therapist will model "slow, easy talking" throughout the session, and the parents will be counseled each time to do the same thing at home. Gradually, verbal demands will be increased in a structured way, such that the children continue to follow that "slow and easy model" which helps maintain their fluency. If a child is younger than six years old, and there is follow through with this technique at home, then there is an excellent chance of completely fluent speech at the termination of therapy.

If the child is older than six, and is demonstrating oral tension and/or struggling while speaking, it is likely that therapy will be more structured and the child will be directly instructed about how to avoid "bumpy" speech. Treatment will focus on decreasing speech rate, control of breathing and relaxation of muscles. The parents will be involved here too, having to do various speech exercises with their children, such as practicing fluent reading for increasing amounts of time. Regardless of where the disfluent child is at the time that therapy is initiated, one thing is for sure: therapy, if needed, is most effective when it is provided sooner rather than later.

Trivia Quiz: Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner. Test your knowledge of everything Irish with this trivia quiz.

1. What is the name of the river that runs through Dublin, Ireland?
2. What is always found on top of Irish Coffee?
3. The Celtic cross has a circle at its center. What does the circle represent?
4. Most people think the shamrock is the official emblem of Ireland. It isn't! Do you know what is?
5. Gaelic is spoken in Ireland and one other place. Where else is it spoken?
6. What percentage of American presidents has had Irish ancestry?
7. What percent of the Irish population has red hair?
8. What does "Erin Go Bragh" mean?
9. What percentage of Australians is of Irish descent?
10. What is the most popular surname in Ireland?


1. River Liffey.
2. Cream.
3. The sun.
4. The harp.
5. The Isle of Man.
6. 40 percent.
7. About four percent.
8. Ireland Forever.
9. 28 percent.
10. Murphy.

March 2011 Holidays and Events

Credit Education Month
Employee Spirit Month
Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science and Engineering Month
Honor Society Awareness Month
Humorists Are Artists Month
International Ideas Month
International Listening Awareness Month
International Mirth Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
Malignant Hyperthermia Awareness and Training Month
Music in our Schools Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Month
National Clean Up Your IRS Act Month
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Craft Month
National Ethics Awareness Month
National Eye Donor Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Kidney Month
National March into Literacy Month
National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
National Nutrition Month
National On-Hold Month
National Peanut Month
National Social Work Month
National Umbrella Month
National Women's History Month
Optimism Month
Play the Recorder Month
Poison Prevention Awareness Month
Red Cross Month
Save Your Vision Month
Sing with Your Child Month
Small Press Month
Spiritual Wellness Month
Workplace Eye Health and Safety Month
Youth Art Month

1 National Horse Protection Day
1 National Pig Day
1 Peace Corps Day
1 Plan a Solo Vacation Day
1 Refired, Not Retired Day
1-7 National Cheerleading Week
1-7 National Ghostwriters Week
2 Read Across America Day
3 I Want You to Be Happy Day
3 What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day
4 Courageous Follower Day
4 National Grammar Day
4 World Day of Prayer
6 Namesake Day
6-12 National Consumer Protection Week
6-12 National Pancake Week
6-12 National Words Matter Week
6-12 Read an E-Book Week
6-12 Return the Borrowed Books Week
6-12 Save Your Vision Week
6-12 Teen Tech Week
6-12 Celebrate Your Name Week
7 Fun Facts About Names Day
7 National Be Heard Day
7-11 National School Breakfast Week
7-11 Newspaper in Education Week
7-13 National Sleep Awareness Week
7-13 National Procrastination Week
8 Girls Write Now Day
8 International Pancake Day
8 International Working Women's Day
8 Mardi Gras
8 Organize Your Home Office Day
8 Unique Names Day
8 Day for Women's Rights and International Peace
9 Learn What Your Name Means Day
9 Panic Day
9 Registered Dietitian Day
10 Mario Day
10 Nametag Day
10 World Kidney Day
11 Middle Name Pride Day
12 Genealogy Day
12 International Fanny Pack Day
13 Check Your Batteries Day
13 Daylight Saving Time Begins
13 National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day
13-20 National Wildlife Week
14 Pi Day
14-19 International Brain Awareness Week
15 Ides of March
15 True Confessions Day
16 Freedom of Information Day
16 Lips Appreciation Day
17 Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
17 Saint Patrick's Day
18 Awkward Moments Day
18 Forgive Mom and Dad Day
18 National Biodiesel Day
19 National Quilting Day
20 Great American Meatout
20 Kiss Your Fiance Day
20 National Agriculture Day
20 Proposal Day
20 First Day of Spring
20 Won't You Be My Neighbor Day
20-26 National Agriculture Week
20-26 National Animal Poison Prevention Week
20-26 National Poison Prevention Week
20-26 National Spring Fever Week
21 Memory Day
21 International Day for the Elimination Of Racial Discrimination
21-27 Act Happy Week
21-27 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Week
21-27 World Folk Tales and Fables Week
22 American Diabetes Association Alert Day
22 As Young as You Feel Day
22 International Goof-Off Day
22 World Day for Water
23 National Puppy Day
23 World Meteorological Day
24 World Tuberculosis Day
25 Pecan Day
25 Tolkien Reading Day
26 Legal Assistants Day
26 Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
27 Education and Sharing Day
29 National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
30 Doctors' Day
31 Bunsen Burner Day

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