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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 8 - August, 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 "August?" (Hint: we found 14.)

Riddles for Kids: Baseball Fun
Q: Why did the police officer run out on the baseball field?
A: Because the runner had just stolen second base!

Q: What runs around the field but never wins?
A: A fence!

Q: Why are baseball stadium seats so cold?
A: Because they have fans in them!

Q: Why did the outlaw gang try to steal the baseball field?
A: Because they heard it was the biggest diamond in the world!

Q: Where do detergents sit when they go to the ballpark?
A: In the bleachers!

Q: How did Cinderella lose the baseball game for her team?
A: She ran away from the ball!

Q: Why is a baseball game like a pancake?
A: Because they both depend on the batter!

Q: What are the best kinds of shoes to wear for stealing bases?
A: Sneakers!

Q: Why was the voice teacher so good at baseball?
A: She had perfect pitch!

Q: Why did the campers bring a baseball player with them?
A: To pitch the tent!

In This Issue

  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened in July?
  • What is Language Delay in Children?
  • What is the Connection Between Auditory Processing Disorder and Reading?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in August!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Phonemic Awareness: What is it, and Why Do People Talk About It?
  • Links to Literacy: Websites You Can Use with Your Child
  • What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?
  • Home Treatment for Language Delayed Kids
  • Testing Procedures for Speech, Language, and Reading Disorders

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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: July, 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.)

The month of July was strongly focused on reading comprehension, vocabulary and, for some students, lots of phonics based activities. Several of our students left after the first week in July for vacations, country homes and summer camp. All but one group was focused on reading the Baldwin Project version of King Arthur and His Knights by Maude Radford Warren. As we discussed previously, we are trying to understand the characters. Actually, it is more like we are trying to picture them inside and out. We picture what they look like, what their land looks like, what their families look like. What did they wear at that time? How did they speak to one another? What motivated them to act the way they did?

The students were given paper and pencil to draw their imagined characters. This was purely voluntary. So many of our kids absolutely love to draw, it can be an excellent tool for self expression, especially for highly visually skilled kids who would rather draw than write. If your child would prefer to draw rather than write, spend some time letting him or her draw. You might be surprised at how much detail you would see that you won't hear verbalized or written by your child. The drawn description is a perfect springboard for helping your child with a verbal and ultimately written description.

Several of the children were up to the chapter in which Arthur sees the beautiful Guinevere, daughter of King Leodogran, and decides that he loves and wants to marry her. King Arthur is about to go into battle and he decides if he wins the battle, he will ask King Leodogran for his daughter's hand in marriage. He is so motivated to prevail that he wins the battle and does speak to Guinevere's father. There is hesitation on the part of King Leodogran; he wonders whether Arthur is truly a king, truly the son of King Uther, because Arthur was raised by Sir Hector. In fact, Arthur's whole birth is a mystery that is talked about in this chapter. (One other theme that runs through this chapter, and the book as well, is that Arthur is good and the knights of his round table are also good. In fact, they are described as being "kind and true and merciful and helpful.")

Queen Bellicent, whom we mentioned last month comes to King Leodogran's court to help him figure out the mystery of Arthur's birth. She tells him "Do not fear to give your daughter to Arthur, for he will be the greatest king the world has ever seen." In the end, King Leodogran decides to allow his daughter to marry the good King Arthur and at the end of chapter, King Arthur is married to Princess Guinevere by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The students spent a lot of time talking about the characters and the mystery of Arthur's birth. Again, we looked into the topic of where the myth of King Arthur came from.

Some of the students read this chapter weeks ago and were now on a chapter called "How Sir Lancelot Saved the Queen." In this exciting chapter, Sir Lancelot fights the villain Sir Malgrace, with one hand tied behind his back, his left side unarmed and no helmet in order to win freedom for the Queen. Sir Malgrace jumps at the chance and of course, he ends up defeated. Sir Lancelot saves the day!

We had some new students who joined us for the summer. We read some very fun short stories. The stories by Artie Knapp are always great fun to read. Predictions were made about how the stories would end. The kids read the stories with KidsVoyager Online and we either discussed the story, wrote about the story or we did both. The most popular story was No More Car Wash Blues about two elephants who despair over working in a car wash. One of them wants to be a chef and have his own restaurant where Peanut Butter Stew will be on the menu. The other wants to be a singer. It is a story about having goals and working hard to achieve them. A good lesson for all.

In spelling, we focused on the doubling rule. Here is how it goes; if a word is consonant-vowel-consonant and the vowel is short, if you add 'ed', 'ing', etc, you double the final consonant. But this rule gets more complicated. If you have a 2 syllable word, when do you double? If the accent or emphasis is on the first syllable as in the word 'profit', you do not double when you add endings. Profit becomes profited. If the accent or emphasis is on the second syllable as in 'occur', you do double the final consonant, as in occurred. This is a great rule to know. We used Phonic Engine Spelling to find words to practice on. We could not find any exceptions to this rule. The kids all seemed to grasp it but it is a bit complicated so it would be good for the kids to practice this rule at home with their parents. Rules take time to be internalized and it's important that parents play an active part in their child's learning.

That pretty much sums up July! It was a hot month with lots of exciting reading!

What is Language Delay?

Parents often ask us how to know when a child is delayed in language development. To answer that question, we have put together these guidelines. (This topic is on our recently revamped website, along with other useful information regarding speech, language, and reading.)

Research shows that children acquire the various components that comprise language in discrete stages, with each stage being associated with an age range. For example, although the emergence of single words occurs, on average, at 12 months, most children acquire first words at somewhere between 10 and 14 months. This is the typical range. All developmental language stages are defined by an age range rather than specific age. When children fail to reach language milestones in a timely manner, but they are acquiring the steps in the typical sequence, that is considered to be a language delay. There is an overall lag in development. It is one of the most common developmental lags affecting young children, and is found in 5-10% of the population. The age ranges for developmental milestones for language acquisition are:

  • Cooing - open vowels such as "ah"- 1-3 months
  • Babbling with respect to consonants and vowels - 3-6 months
  • Reduplicative babbling, as in "bababababa nanana" - 6-9 months
  • Jargon - strings of sounds that sound like speech with inflection that is typical of the child's native language - 9-18 months
  • First words - 10-14 months
  • Word combinations - 18-24 months-when child has an expressive vocabulary of 50 words
  • Short Sentences - 24-30 months
  • Adult-like grammar - 3 years (You should still expect to see errors in more complex aspects of language, such as irregular past tense.) Child should be intelligible approximately 80% of the time with strangers. Children with a language delay are achieving language milestones more slowly than their typically developing peers.

To help your child with a language delay, our therapists will perform an analysis of your child's spontaneous verbalizations. Since children learn to speak in a fairly dependable sequence, we note where your child's communication skills are faltering. With younger preschool children, our therapy utilizes well established play therapy techniques that gently nudge your child's speech forward. By modeling and making the target utterance salient, we help your child acquire increasingly complex vocabulary and sentence structure. For older children, we may also utilize structured techniques that essentially cause the same result with material that is more age appropriate. Either way, your child gets what he or she needs to improve language skills. In addition, since children with delays are at risk for reading issues, we provide our KidsVoyager Online Phonic Engine Software, along with training in its use for school-age children, and pre-literacy counseling to parents of pre-school children, which you may use with your child starting at about age 3.

What is the Connection Between Auditory Processing Disorder and Reading?

This is a question we are asked with some frequency; or conversely, when we see a child with a reading disorder, it is not uncommon that it is suggested that the child be seen by an audiologist for auditory processing testing. This diagnosis can be made only by an audiologist, but there are times we see symptoms that strongly suggest a processing disorder. As far as what causes an auditory processing disorder, it is largely unknown. However, it is very frequently seen in children who have had repeated incidents of middle ear infections (otitis media), although not all children with recurrent ear infection have an auditory processing disorder. There is some evidence linking auditory processing disorders to head trauma and lead exposure. It is frequently diagnosed in children who are also diagnosed as having an autism spectrum disorder (often hypersensitive to sound), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), language-learning disabilities, and dyslexia.

Let's define what auditory processing is. Auditory processing refers to how the brain interprets what the ear hears. It isn't one thing; there are several auditory processes. To name a few: Auditory attention, which is the ability to pay and maintain attention to auditory stimuli. In the classroom, an impairment of this process may "look like" the child who is looking out the window while the teacher is talking or says "huh?" when the teacher calls on him. Auditory memory is the ability to remember and retain pertinent auditory stimuli. So a child with an impairment of auditory memory is the one who needs to have the directions repeated or broken down into smaller bits. Another important auditory process is the ability to listen through background noise which kids often do in school, in the schoolyard, and in the lunchroom. When we hear, "Have some tea" as "Have some key", it is auditory discrimination that is not "working up to par." Auditory recognition is the ability to store a word in memory and then recognize it, upon hearing it. You hear the word "book," for example, and your brain instantaneously begins to look for it in its "filing cabinet" and says, "Aha, here it is, 'book,' that thing with pages, words and pictures. I know what that is." But what if the sound is distorted, and you only hear the "ook" part of the word? You hear "I read a _ook." An individual with an intact processing system will figure out the word, despite the distortion, because contextually, it makes sense.

There are numerous auditory processes, and deficits in one or more of them may affect a variety of language and language arts areas. Receptive language, for example, is strongly associated with reading comprehension. Expressive language is strongly associated with writing skills. Phonological processing development is strongly associated with spoken language and spelling. (Phonological processing includes how a sound is stored in an individual's brain which affects how the individual produces the sound, both in isolation and in words.)

Auditory Processing Disorders can be quite successfully treated. We worked a student with the dual diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorder and Dyslexia.

She was a second grader, who was diagnosed as having an auditory processing disorder and dyslexia, when she began to attend our reading program, twice weekly. Using the Phonic Engine® Reading method, we began to focus intensively on phonics skills. Within a few months the student had improved several grade levels. After slightly more than a year, she was not only in the top reading group, she also declared to whomever would listen that she loved to read.

Trivia Quiz: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The boys of summer are in full swing! Test your knowledge of baseball trivia with this great quiz.

1. In 1934, pitcher Burleigh Grimes was the last player to do what?
2. Who holds the record for the most games won (511) and also most games lost (316) in his career?
3. Who hit the first major league triple in 1876?
4. These players were the first father/son team to play together. They added to their records by hitting home runs back-to-back in the same game. Who were they?
5. Willie Mays started his big league career going 0 for 12 before getting his first hit, a home run, off of what future Hall of Famer?
6. Topps first printed baseball cards in 1951. What players are pictured on the #1 cards of the blue set and the red set?
7. What feature did Hall of Fame manager John McGraw and his 1906 Giants introduce to uniform design?
8. Who was the first modern-day player to steal 100 bases in a season?
9. When Mickey Mantle retired in 1968, he had hit more home runs than anyone else in World Series play with 18. Whose record did he break?
10. The Boston Red Sox have not always been called the Red Sox. When they played in the first modern World Series they were known as what?


1. Legally throw a spit ball.
2. Cy Young.
3. Levi Meyerle.
4. Ken Griffey, Sr. and Ken Griffey, Jr.
5. Warren Spahn.
6. Eddie Yost and Yogi Berra.
7. Uniform shirts without collars.
8. Maury Wills.
9. Babe Ruth.
10. The Pilgrims.

August 2011 Holidays and Events

American Adventures Month
Black Business Month
Cataract Awareness Month
Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month
Children’s Vision and Learning Month
Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
Happiness Happens Month
National Immunization Awareness Month
National Inventors’ Month
National Win with Civility Month
Neurosurgery Outreach Month
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
What Will Be Your Legacy Month

1-5 Exhibitor Appreciation Week
1-7 International Clown Week
1-7 World Breastfeeding Week
7-13 Assistance Dog Week
8-14 Exercise With Your Child Week
14-20 National Resurrect Romance Week
14-19 Weird Contest Week
15-21 National Aviation Week
22-26 National Safe at Home Week
25-31 Be Kind to Humankind Week

1 Girlfriend’s Day
1 National Minority Donor Awareness Day
1 Respect for Parents Day
2 National Night Out
4 Coast Guard Day
6 National Fresh Breath Day
6 National Mustard Day
7 Professional Speakers Day
7 Sisters’ Day
8 Happiness Happens Day
8 Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbors’ Porch Night
9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
9 Veep Day
12 International Youth Day
12 Vinyl Record Day
13 National Garage Sale Day
14 Navajo Code Talkers Day
15 Best Friend’s Day
15 National Relaxation Day
18 Bad Poetry Day
19 National Aviation Day
19 National Men’s Grooming Day
19 World Humanitarian Day
20 International Homeless Animals Day
21 Poet’s Day
22 Be an Angel Day
23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
25 Kiss and Make Up Day
26 National Dog Day
26 Women’s Equality Day
28 Race Your Mouse Around the Icons Day
29 More Herbs, Less Salt Day
30 National Holistic Pet Day
31 Love Litigating Lawyers Day

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