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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 9 - September, 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 phrase "school bus?" (Hint: we found 44.)

Riddles for Kids: Apples
Q: What reads and lives in an apple?
A: A bookworm!

Q: What kind of apple has a short temper?
A: A crabapple!

Q: How do you make an apple turnover?
A: Push it down a hill!

Q: What is the left side of an apple?
A: The part that you don't eat!

Q: What can a whole apple do that a half an apple cannot?
A: It can look round!

Q: If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what does an onion do?
A: Keeps everyone away!

Q: Why didn't the two worms go into Noah's ark in an apple?
A: Because everyone had to go in pairs!

Q: What did the mother apple say to the misbehaving apple?
A: Don't give me that saucy attitude!

Q: Why did the apple go out with a fig?
A: Because it couldn't find a date!

Q: What kind of apple isn't an apple?
A: A pineapple!

Answers to WordsInWords
Blush, boo, boos, boss, bush, club, clubs, cob, cobs, coo, cool, cools, coos, cub, cubs, hobo, hobos, hub, hubs, lob, lobs, locus, lush, oh, ouch, schools, shoo, shoos, slob, slobs, slosh, slouch, slush, so, sob, sobs, solo, solos, soul, souls, sub, subs, such, us.

In This Issue

  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened in August?
  • Links to Literacy: Websites You Can Use With Your Children
  • Lyme Disease and Language Disorders
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in September!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Phonemic Awareness: What Is It, and Why Do People Talk About It?
  • Using Literacy Activities to Increase Your Child's Knowledge of Current Events and History
  • What are Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)?
  • Home Treatment for Language Delayed Kids
  • Testing Procedures for Speech, Language, and Reading Disorders

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.

Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: August, 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, by the way, trying to make the Phonic Engine Reading Method more widely available, and have been preparing a "white paper" for that purpose. If you're interested, you can view a draft The Phonic Engine Reading Method: Learning to Read_in the 21st Century &mdash A Transformative Advance in the Teaching of Language Arts and General Education of this paper. It describes the technology in depth, discusses reading techniques in general, 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 August was short one, as we were closed for two weeks. Although some children were away on vacation, we worked with several new children who were coming for reading enrichment. For the children who were continuing from the prior school year, we spent time reviewing the rule of the hard and soft c. When we worked on this previously, we asked the children to find all the hard and soft c words they could, and then, we asked them to try and figure out what the pattern was. This was difficult, so they were told to notice what letters followed the letter c.

In our experience, those who are having difficulty with reading often have difficulty remembering spelling rules and/or have difficulty forming an orthographic image (a visual image of what a word looks like) despite the fact that they have seen the word many times. Typically, a child needs to see a word an average of six times in order to form that orthographic image and keep it in memory. The letter c makes the /s/ sound when followed by an i, e, or y; and the /k/ sound in all other contexts.

Using the Phonic Engine Spelling method, the children found words that began with the letter c, making both sounds, and then placed each word (on a sheet of paper) under the headings, "c followed by i, e or y," or "c followed by a, u, or o," (and any other consonant sound, as in "club"). The students noticed when looking at the phoneme tiles, that ch sometimes make the /k/ sound as in "choir" or "Christmas". (These are words of Greek origin, by the way.) Writing the words in a list, under the appropriate heading, provides students with both visual and graphomotor memory of the spelling pattern. This combined sensory experience tends to help children form that "orthographic image." After practicing these letter sound combinations, the children had to write phrases or sentences to dictation.

We read several stories in the month of August. With our "veterans" we read How Brother Rabbit Fooled the Whale and the Elephant. In this story, the rabbit overhears the whale and the elephant discussing the fact that since they are both the largest animals in their respective domains, they should rule the animal kingdom. The rabbit figures out a way to trick them into thinking the other was playing a trick on him, causing them to be very angry with each other. The rabbit is a quiet hero, saving the world from being taken over by these two very large animals.

Our focus was to work on analysis of the story in order to improve reading comprehension for fiction. For many of our students, fiction is more difficult. This is because it's typically more cognitively complex: there are fictional characters with different personality traits, different reasons for doing what they do; and there are different settings, such as a castle, a city, a pet shop, and so on. In this case, the setting was a forest. The children were asked to interpret how and why Brother Rabbit wanted to fool the whale and the elephant.

The students are also beginning to write summaries of stories using a typical organization of: introductory sentence, problem, 3 events, the solution and conclusion, and sometimes, an opinion about the story. One important goal of our reading sessions is to understand text well enough as to be able to retell the story, highlighting the salient points. In addition, we worked on being able to retell a story so that a listener who knew nothing about the story would understand it. The catchphrase is "Think about what the listener needs to know to understand what this story is about."

With the new children (younger children), we read several stories that had been great fun with the groups during the school year. We read Gonzorgo, which is a story about another planet upon which seven types of creatures live, each at a different place on the food chain. Unfortunately, they all eat each other and are headed towards extinction if they don't do something about it. First, they called a truce and became vegetarians. That did not work well because there wasn't much good vegetable matter on Gonzorgo. Soon, they are all very hungry. Their problems are solved when a pizza salesman comes from earth and lets them try some pizza. They love it!! Who wouldn't?? So the salesman gives them pizza ovens and teaches them how to make pizza in exchange for being able to sell the pizza they make. He travels the galaxy selling the pizza to other planets, and the residents of Gonzorgo have pizza to eat. Problem solved!!

The story was conceived by a nine year old boy, and written and illustrated, presumably, by his mother and sister. The pictures are wonderful as they show the young and adult form of each animal and the reader is told a bit about each one. For example, one of the creatures writes poetry. Gonzorgo provided us with interesting and funny characters to talk about!

While the story wasn't difficult to understand, there was a lot of information about each species, which the children had to understand and explain. So even with the younger children, we are focusing on the interpretation and understanding of literature (although we do not necessarily write about it). One other feature that is very nice about this particular story is that the author introduces vocabulary words in italics, such as truce and unison; and, in parenthesis, the definition is presented, often expressed in a humorous manner

We also read the four story series about an animal called the striped and spotted purple pigmoose. These funny and very cleverly done stories follow the adventures of this very clever, mischievous and always hungry animal who comes out of the woods one day and finds himself in the middle of town. He eats the flowers in people's front yards and at Halloween time, he gorges himself on his second favorite food, pumpkins! His first favorite is marshmallows. It turns out that the way to a pigmoose's heart is through his stomach. The "Pigmoose Patrol" can always catch him with one of his favorite snacks; especially pumpkin pie with melted marshmallows on top. With this story, we worked a lot on inference and prediction, two very important skills for language and reading. We also worked on humor — understanding why something is funny is another important language comprehension skill.

August was a bit of a relief for us as the weather wasn't nearly as hot. We were happy to come back after Labor Day so we could get back to seeing our "veteran" students who were away, and welcome some more new ones.

Links to Literacy: Websites You Can Use with your Children

It is suggested that if you pick a story for your child to read, make sure you read it fully first. There are two reasons for this. First, you may find something in the story that is in conflict with how you are raising your child; and second, you will be able to assist your child along the way, if she gets stuck and doesn't understand something. Parents may wonder whether assisting their child is the right thing to do. One very important goal of the work at our Center is helping children to develop a love of reading. Children (and adults, too) rarely love something that is totally frustrating to them. We always tell parents to provide as much support as their children need. You may not want to give your child answers to every question, but maybe you can give choices (was the boy happy or sad?) or point him in the right direction to find the answer ("look in the first paragraph; how is the boy described?"). If need be, you can even point to a sentence and say, pleasantly, "Read this sentence. Is the boy happy or sad?"

This month, we will be focusing on websites that contain fictional stories of all kinds. Non-fiction and grammar websites will be discussed at another time. Please keep in mind that websites come and go, so you should check the website before you use it with your child. As we said before, it's a good idea to the story first in any event.

Fiction, in general, can be harder to read than non-fiction. Because you have characters with motives and feelings; and you have a setting; and usually some problem and some resolution, it is more complicated to analyze. Non-fiction tends to be more cut and dried, just facts. Now, while even facts can be open to interpretation, fiction is typically more complicated to figure out.

First (there are fewer of them), here are some sites that include classics by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, Charlotte Bronte and Mark Twain (even Tolstoy!).

This is the site of Project Gutenberg, which is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works. This is the website we used to read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.

This is the Baldwin Project (online children's literature) which we used to read King Arthur:

A site with classics:

And another:

We also use many, many sites for short stories, many of them really wonderful, funny, and filled with life lessons.

Stories written by Stuart Baum and family, mostly fantasy types of stories, plus "finish me" stories which are great for working on writing.

Wonderful original short stories for kids on the popular BAB Books website, plus a Mad Libs kind of game called Ad Libs.

A large and varied collection of stories K-6; there are also poems, videos, and story series.

Artie Knapp writes wonderful stories for children. His stories are at several websites. This website, however, includes sequencing worksheets, word puzzles, etc.

A hilarious series for kids pre-k to 3rd grade. The author has developed a funny character called a Pigmoose and, to date, he has written four stories. There are also series about fairies and other magical characters; however these have not been used during our sessions. Check out the Pigmoose; he's really funny.

Lyme Disease and Language Disorders

Did you know that Lyme Disease can be the underlying cause for language impairments, cognitive delays, auditory processing deficits and even autism?

Consider the case of Mary Hendricks, who at the age of 2 years, lost both her language and ability for eye contact. According to a September 27, 2011 article at the Fox 40 News website (other news outlets as well), Mary suffered from digestive disorders and seemed to be in pain every day. When she was 19, her parents took her to an autism specialist, who ordered a Lyme test, and it came back positive. Since Mary's mother had numerous health conditions too, Dr. Lynn Mielkev, the specialist, suspected that Mary contracted Lyme disease in utero and sure enough, her mother Tina also tested positive for Lyme disease. According to this article, Mary's status is improving and, for the first time in years, her parents hear her laugh and giggle. Dr. Mielkev noted that in patients that have less severe cases of autism, their autistic symptoms may completely disappear.

According to lymefight.info, "Cognitive problems can come and go throughout the day. Concentration and memory problems can make math especially difficult. Slowed thinking can make it difficult to comprehend oral and written language. A child with Lyme can suddenly not recognize familiar places and can get lost in the school. The disease can cause learning disabilities and low IQ scores. Word, number and letter reversals, in written and oral speech (dyslexia), are common. Sometimes IQ scores jump after a child begins antibiotic treatment. Children with autistic or psychiatric symptoms may talk and act normal [sic] when on antibiotics."

Unfortunately, in some later diagnosed cases, the symptoms do not always disappear once antibiotic treatment is started. In fact, some children's symptoms continue to worsen.

It is emphasized in the literature that young children may not be able to express what feels wrong. These children frequently complain of vague pains and exhibit a lack of energy. They have difficulty focusing in school and engaging with others, leading to a feeling of isolation. Thus, they also may not give their all in school, either academically or socially. Parents often think they are malingering because there are no real symptoms of illness. It is important that any child who is exhibiting these kinds of recurring aches and pains, who appears to be having difficulty focusing, or who may be regressing developmentally, be tested for Lyme disease.

Trivia Quiz: Silly Trivia

Can't get any sillier than this! Test your knowledge of useless trivia with this great quiz.

1. Where did the word "nerd" come from?
2. How many cows are needed each year to supply the NFL with enough leather to make its footballs?
3. How many seeds on average are on a McDonald's Big Mac?
4. What is the only mammal that cannot jump?
5. True or false: Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than new cars.
6. What do you call a group of rhinos?
7. What country has the world's longest railroad tunnel?
8. How many grooves are on the edge of a quarter?
9. Which king in a standard deck of playing cards is the only one without a moustache?
10. About how many hot dog vendors are there in metropolitan New York?


1. Dr. Seuss in his book "If I Ran the Zoo".
2. 3000.
3. 178 seeds.
4. The elephant.
5. True.
6. A crash of rhinos.
7. Japan.
8. 119.
9. King of hearts.
10. 3000.

September 2011 Holidays and Events

Atrial Fibrillation Month
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Month
Baby Safety Month
Backpack Safety America Month
Be Kind to Editors and Writers Month
Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
College Savings Month
Fall Hat Month
Happy Cat Month
Healthy Aging Month
International People Skills Month
International Self-Awareness Month
International Strategic Thinking Month
Library Card Sign-Up Month
Mold Awareness Month
National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month
National Chicken Month
National Coupon Month
National Home Furnishings Month
National Homey Month
National Mushroom Month
National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
National Piano Month
National Preparedness Month
National Rice Month
National Sickle Cell Month
National Skin Care Awareness Month
One-on-One Month
Responsible Dog Ownership Month
Sea Cadet Month
Shameless Promotion Month
Sports and Home Eye Safety Month
Subliminal Communications Month
Update Your Resume Month
Whole Grains Month
Wild Rice Month
Women's Friendship Month
World Animal Remembrance Month

1-7 Self-University Week
1-10 International Enthusiasm Week
4-10 National Suicide Prevention Week
4-10 National Waffle Week
5-9 National Payroll Week
11-17 National Assisted Living Week
12-17 National Line Dance Week
17-23 Constitution Week
18-24 Build a Better Image Week
18-24 Deaf Awareness Week
18-24 International Clean Hands Week
18-24 National Farm Safety and Health Week
18-24 National Singles Week
18-24 Prostate Cancer Awareness Week
28-24 Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week
28-24 Turnoff Week
19-23 Balance Awareness Week
19-23 National Love Your Files Week

1 National No Rhyme Nor Reason Day
4 International Drive Your Studebaker Day
4 Newspaper Carrier Day
5 Be Late for Something Day
5 Labor Day
6 Another Look Unlimited Day
8 Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day
8 International Literacy Day
9 Wonderful Weirdos Day
10 Swap Ideas Day
11 National Grandparents' Day
11 National Hug Your Hound Day
11 Patriot Day
12 National Boss/Employee Exchange Day
12 Video Games Day
13 National Celiac Awareness Day
15 International Day of Democracy
16 Constitution Day
16 National POW/MIA Recognition Day
16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer
17 Citizenship Day
17 International Eat an Apple Day
18 Hug a Greeting Card Writer Day
19 International Talk Like a Pirate Day
19 National Woman Road Warrior Day
21 International Day of Peace
22 American Business Women's Day
22 Dear Diary Day
22 Elephant Appreciation Day
22 Hobbit Day
22 National Centenarian's Day
23 Hug a Vegetarian Day
23 Love Note Day
24 Responsible Dog Ownership Day
23 Family Health and Fitness Day
24 National Hunting and Fishing Day
24 National Public Lands Day
24 National Punctuation Day
25 Gold Star Mother's Day
25 One Hit Wonder Day
26 World Maritime Day
27 Ancestor Appreciation Day
27 World Tourism Day
28 National Women's Health and Fitness Day

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