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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 7 - July, 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 word "freedom?" (Hint: we found 39.)

Riddles for Kids: Swimming with the Fishes
Q: What kind of cat can swim?
A: A catfish!

Q: Why do sharks swim in salt water?
A: Because pepper makes them sneeze!

Q: Why are fish so smart?
A: Because they live in schools!

Q: What fish is the most valuable?
A: The goldfish!

Q: What do you call a big fish who makes you an offer you can’t refuse?
A: The Codfather!

Q: Why is it so easy to weigh fish?
A: Because they have their own scales!

Q: What is the best way to communicate with a fish?
A: Drop it a line!

Q: What kind of fish goes well with peanut butter?
A: Jellyfish!

Q: What do you get when you cross a school of fish with a herd of elephants?
A: Swimming trunks!

Q: What lives in the ocean, is grouchy, and hates its neighbors?
A: A hermit crab!

Answers to WordsInWords
Deem, deer, defer, deform, demo, do, doe, dome, dorm, ere, erode, fed, fee, feed, foe, for, ford, fore, form, formed, free, freed, fro, from, me, mere, mode, more, ode, of, or, ore, red, reed, reef, ref, rod, rode, roe.

In This Issue

  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened in June?
  • The Connection Between Word Retrieval Difficulties (language) and Reading Disorders (literacy)
  • What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in July!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Links to Literacy: Websites You Can Use with Your Child
  • What is the Connection Between Auditory Processing Disorder (language) and Reading (literacy)?
  • What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?
  • Home Treatment for Language Delayed Kids
  • Testing Procedures for Speech, Language, and Reading Disorders

Summer Programs

You may be interested in our 2011 Summer Speech Camp and Summer Reading Program. Click here to view and print out the registration form.

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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.

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

As some of you may know (we mention this in each issue, as it may be your first), we utilize our Phonic Engine® Reading Method, and its accompanying software, KidsVoyager® Online — which may be used at home as well as at our center — 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. In each issue of CC-News, we will be highlighting activities and successes from the previous month, with the intention of informing, and promoting this novel, transformative 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.

(We are trying to make the Phonic Engine Reading Method more widely available, and have prepared a "white paper" for that purpose. If you're interested, you can view The Phonic Engine Reading Method: Learning to Read in the 21st Century — A Transformative Advance in the Teaching of Language Arts and General Education. This paper describes the technology in depth, discusses reading techniques in general, shows some "screen shots," standardized test results, and provides links to some of the enabling patented methods which have helped so many of the children we have worked with.)

Well, we finally got summer weather and summer vacation. Some of our students left for the summer, and are at sleep-away camp, while yet others have up signed up anew up for our reading program. So welcome to our new students, and hope those at camp are having a great time!

Our older students are continuing to read "King Arthur," using our KidsVoyager Online program. This allows them to read text even if it is too difficult for them to read it on their own. Each chapter contains an interesting adventure and is able to stand alone as a unique short story. The children read a chapter each time they come and as or after they read, they fill in a graphic organizer. It has sections for the name of the chapter, the setting, the characters, the problem, two or three events and the solution. The students are asked to draw pictures of what they think the characters might look like based on the descriptive writing in the story. This visualization of the characters and even the scenery not only makes the story more meaningful but it also makes it easier to remember over time. The qualities that the kids attribute to Arthur are good, brave, honest, courageous, kind and respectful. They have seen him grow from a boy, to a young king and finally to a grown man. He has to settle disputes between people and between kingdoms, and he always looks for the fairest resolution. In some of the chapters, he is a fairly minor character with those around him being in the forefront.

One chapter that the kids found interesting was about a young man who was the youngest of several brothers. Their mother, Queen Bellicent, saw all of her sons before him go on to become a knight in King Arthur's court. When it was the youngest son's turn, she would not let him go. He begged and begged. Finally the Queen told her son that he could go but only, if for a year, he hid the fact that he was of noble blood and only worked in the kitchen. She was quite convinced that she made him an offer that he would refuse. Would her son want to be a kitchen boy? Never! Much to her surprise, he accepted her offer and off he went. We all talked about the characters and what was motivating them. One boy said he felt sorry for the mother and understood that she did not want to be alone. Was this a nice thing to do to her son? No, but he could understand why she did it. I told him he was very empathetic. The students seem to understand the connection between parents and children and how the dynamic changes as both get older.

We also did some non-fiction reading at mrnussbaum.com. This website has reading comprehension tasks with online questions that are scored as the child answers the questions. The text is on the left and the questions are on the right and our text reader Merlin can read all of it, as the students read along. We read about Mickey Mantle, about his life and career. The children marveled at his amazing career that coincided with a not so happy personal life.

The younger students read a story at the DLTK website by Artie Knapp called, "There's A Crocodile in the Pickle Jar." It is a humorous story about a boy who is hungry for chocolate cake, but not for his vegetables. The parents stick to their guns and say "No cake until you eat your dinner." The lad goes to sleep hungry and gets up to sneak a snack. He imagines a crocodile is in the jar with the pickles. The fright cures him of his vegetable boycott and he doesn't even ask for chocolate cake anymore.

For some of our phonics lessons, we also spent some time again listening for short vowels and noticing which we heard. Vowel digraphs such as "ee" and "ea," which both make the long e sound were practiced using word lists. Using Phonic Engine spelling, the children searched for other words that make the long e sound. They made a list of the different spellings that they found, such as ie, ei, and e with a silent e. They also noticed that in the word magazine, the spelling of long e in the last syllable was very unusual. They also noted that there are a number of words with the ea vowel pair, where the pronunciation is short e as in the word head. There was a lot of excitement in our computer room, as well as cooperation as the children helped each other out in finding words for our list.

We also did a study of the letter c. The children were asked to make lists of hard c (as in cup) and soft c (as in city). After they had written many words, we did an investigation. Which sounds follow the letter c and cause it to have the soft sound? Do you give up? If the letter c is followed by an i, e, or y, it is pronounced like the /s/ sound. After a, o, u, or any other consonant, it makes the hard sound. Most of the parents told me that they never heard of that rule before, so they were learning something too. It is always fun to watch the kids learn something new; actually they discover something new by their own investigation. After learning these rules, it is really important to continue to reference it and review it and make sure it is internalized.

Some of the groups also did an "its" or "it's" lesson. This is a tough one for kids because we learn that the apostrophe signifies possession. Kids (and adults too) often assume that they should use "it's" in sentences such as, "The dog carried its bone." We reviewed the fact that in this case, the apostrophe is being used in the contraction for "it is". Our students were told that if they were not sure about whether to use the apostrophe, they should change the sentence to "it is" and see if that made sense. Take the sentence above. If we changed that to "The dog carried it is bone", does that make sense? No! So we do not use the apostrophe. It was like light bulbs switching on. I heard a chorus of "ohhhhhh,!" and they all got it. All of them! Next we will tackle "whose" and "who's" which we will teach in a similar way.

All in all, we had a great month, learned a lot, and had a lot of fun!

Well, it may be hot outside but reading is always cool. Till next month!

The Connection Between Word Retrieval Difficulties and Reading Disorders

If you have ever had the experience of having difficulty thinking of the name of something: that "Wait it's on the tip of my tongue" feeling, you have some insight into what it feels like to have a "word finding" difficulty. We also may know senior citizens who have this issue, but it is not confined to seniors or adults: this disorder is seen in children as well.

Children with word finding deficits may exhibit obvious difficulty with retrieving a word quickly, saying things like "whatchamacallit", "oh you know that thing that begins with a "b" and the like. They use non-specific words such as "thingy" or "what'sit". They may substitute a word that sounds similar such as "tomato" for "tornado." Very often, what is most notable, is circumlocution and rambling as they try to complete their thoughts. Also parents may notice long pauses and uses of fillers such as "um, er". Of course, it's a matter of quantity, as all kids do this sort of thing.

Word finding pertains to expressive language, not receptive language. Unless another condition exists, a child will typically understand spoken and written material.

However, as a child progresses through school, word finding problems may impede other aspects of language arts (and, consequently other academic areas), because activities that incorporate word finding are part of a typical language arts curriculum.

An example of this is oral reading. Reading aloud, particularly "guided oral reading," is a good mechanism for encouraging reading fluency, and one that is used in schools. With children with word retrieval problems, however, this can have an adverse effect, as the child may experience undue and deleterious pressure.

For this, and many reasons, if a child appears to have word finding difficulties, it is important the he or she receive language therapy as soon as it is identified, as intervention is typically quite successful, and the interference of word retrieval problems on other aspects of language and academic areas can be mitigated or eliminated.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder characterized by an inability to initiate and sequence speech movements. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but is unable to coordinate the movements. It is not a disorder of muscle weakness; rather, the brain is unable to produce the required firing of the muscles in an organized fashion.

Apraxia can produce inconsistencies in speech sound production. A word may "pop out" clearly but be very difficult to produce when there is an intention to do so. Apraxic children often have a history of very little babbling or sound play, and even though these are the same muscles used for eating, eating is frequently not a problem. These children may have a history of delayed acquisition of speech and language milestones. Another issue that may occur in connected speech is distortion of vowels. Also, a lack of normal melody and inflection is not uncommon.

Adults may exhibit a similar disorder; however in their case it is not developmental. Apraxia in adults may be the result of a brain trauma, such as a stroke or a car accident.

Treatment for Apraxic children
First, an evaluation is conducted to make a differential diagnosis. Treatment should be frequent and intensive, at least three times per week. Home practice is essential for success. Treatment includes providing visual, auditory and tactile cues with intensive drilling.

The goal is to develop automaticity in speech, thereby bypassing the need for the brain to mediate speech movements. In some cases, CAS may be so severe that the child will require alternative augmentative communication (frequently referred to as AAC). However, when the focus in therapy is on planning, sequencing and coordination of the movements required for speech production, most children do well. The duration of treatment is generally several years and it is important that client and parent be aware of that and that and be active participants in the therapeutic process.

Trivia Quiz: Sunshiny Days

July is one of the hottest months of the year. To help you enjoy your summer we've put together a trivia quiz to test your knowledge of our sun.

1. One planet does not tilt as it goes around the Sun. Thus it has no seasons. What is this planet?
2. How long is a cosmic year, the amount of time it takes the Sun to revolve around the center of the Milky Way?
3. True or False: The Sun contains over 99.8 percent of the total mass in our solar system.
4. How far is the Sun from Earth?
5. True or False: The Sun is the closest star to Earth.
6. How old is the Sun?
7. Which way does a comet’s tail point at all times, away from or towards the Sun?
8. How fast does the Sun travel?
9. How long does light from the Sun take to reach Earth?
10. What is the distance between Earth and the Sun called?


1. Venus.
2. 225 million years.
3. True.
4. 93 million miles.
5. True.
6. 4.5 billion years old.
7. Away from the Sun.
8. 155 miles per second.
9. 8 minutes.
10. An Astronomical Unit (AU).

July 2011 Holidays and Events

Bereaved Parents Awareness Month
Bioterrorism/Disaster Education and Awareness Month
Cell Phone Courtesy Month
Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month
Herbal/Prescription Interaction Awareness Month
International Women with Alopecia Month
International Zine Month
National “Doghouse Repairs” Month
National Black Family Month
National Blueberries Month
National Child-Centered Divorce Month
National Grilling Month
National Horseradish Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Make a Difference to Children Month
National Recreation and Parks Month
Sandwich Generation Month
Smart Irrigation Month
Social Wellness Month
Women’s Motorcycle Month

3-9 Be Nice to New Jersey Week
10-16 National Farrier’s Week
10-16 Sports Cliché Week
17-23 Captive Nations Week
17-23 National Independent Retailers Week
18-25 Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) Education and Awareness Week

1 Second Half of the New Year Day
2 International Day of Cooperatives
3 Compliment Your Mirror Day
3 Stay Out of the Sun Day
4 Caribbean Day
4 Independence Day (Fourth of July)
4 Indivisible Day
6 Take Your Webmaster to Lunch Day
7 Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day
7 Tell the Truth Day
10 Don’t Step on a Bee Day
11 International Town Criers Day
11 World Population Day
13 Embrace Your Geekness Day
13 Gruntled Workers Day
16 National Woodie Wagon Day
17 National Ice Cream Day
18 Global Hug Your Kids Day
18 National Get Out of the Doghouse Day
22 Rat Catchers Day
23 Gorgeous Grandma Day
23 Hot Enough For Ya Day
23 National Day of the Cowboy
24 Cousins Day
24 National Drive-Thru Day
24 National Tell an Old Joke Day
24 Parents’ Day
27 National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day
27 Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day
27 Walk on Stilts Day
28 National Chili Dog Day

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