If you can't read this Newsletter, please click here

Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 18 - June, 2012
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 "swimming?" (Hint: we found 16.)

Riddles for Kids: Funny Animals
Q: Why did the frog go to the hospital?
A: He had to get a hop-eration!

Q: How do mice race on a frozen lake?
A: On mice skates!

Q: How do cats shop?
A: From a cat-alog!

Q: Why do birds love Halloween?
A: They can go out and Trick or Tweet!

Q: What do you call a cat that works for a doctor?
A: A first aid kit!

Q: How did the goat stay dry in the rainstorm?
A: He put on his rain-goat!

Q: What is a mouse’s favorite kind of party?
A: A mouse-carade party!

Q: How did the chicken do so well in school?
A: She did eggs-tra work!

Q: What did the frog order at the fast-food restaurant?
A: A burger and flies!

Q: Where do bulls get their messages?
A: On the bulletin board!

Answers to WordsInWords
Gin, I, in, is, sign, sin, sing, swig, swim, swing, wig, wigs, win, wing, wings, wins.

In This Issue

  • Summer Programs
  • Stories from the Kids: Tigerlily, Gus, Marlee, Stella, Zeon (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • How to Crack the Tough Nut of English Spelling (part 2)
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in June!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Using Literacy Activities to Increase Your Child's Knowledge of Current Events and History
  • Bilingualism, is it a positive or a negative?
  • Speech vitamins: do they work?

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.

Summer Programs

As we mentioned last month, and the previous month, "summer is quickly approaching." In fact, now it's here! And so are our summer programs. This summer, as in the last several summers, we are offering Speech Camp, and our Intensive (but a lot of fun!) Summer Reading Program. Registration forms for both programs are here. Sometimes, these programs fill up quickly, so if you think you may have an interest, please contact us as soon as possible.

Stories from the Kids

The students in our reading groups produce writings using KidsVoyager Online with KidsVoyager Animated Storywriter. The writings may be imaginative stories, summaries of things they've read online, writings to teach higher level skills, such as persuasion, and so on. They are composed by children from Kindergarten on up, including children who have never written things before without a teacher's assistance. The stories are entered into the Online Storywriter's text box using typed spelling, combined with Phonic Engine Encoding (i.e. selecting initial & final phonemes for a word, then clicking a matching word displayed in a multisensory word grid). Writing is a terrific way to learn, teaches numerous skills, and kids love it. We hope you enjoy them.

The Cat Who Loved Sandwiches, by Tigerlily

Once upon a time there was a cat who only ate sandwiches. Her name was Claire. She was white with black paws. The tip of her tail was black too.

Claire had a friend named Bear. Bear doesn't know that Claire only eats sandwiches. Bear said to Claire, "let's go to the pancake shop." Claire told Bear she only eats at sandwich shops. So, they went to a sandwich shop.

When they got there they looked in the shop's window. Usually there were sandwiches in the window, but not today. They went in to ask the cook what happened.

The cook said, "I think a robber stole all the sandwiches." Claire was so mad, she fainted. She woke up from her faint and noticed a picture of the robber on the ground.

Bear picked up the picture and said, "let's go and try to find the robber." So they went to look for the robber and checked if he stole any other shop's sandwiches. Claire wanted to get a sandwich if there were any left at another shop.

Then Claire heard a scream. "Look!! There he is at that shop over there!" They went to see the robber up close.

"I have a plan. Let's get some gigantic bread and some big tomatoes." They got some big bread and put it in the chimney. The robber was jumping from house to house, taking all the sandwiches. When he got to Claire's house, they heard a scream as he hit the bread.

Quickly, Claire and Bear threw the tomatoes and the top of the bread onto the robber and called the police. Their reward was a lifetime supply of sandwiches.


You can see and hear Tigerlily's original story here!

School As Wonderland, by Gus

One day I found an alien in my desk. His name was Bus. He said, "I came through a portal in the school bathroom."

He was good at soccer.

He lived in my pocket since he was very small. He had to move out since he got so big!

You can see and hear Gus's original story here!

My Dance Lessons, by Marlee

I want to be a dancer.

I take dance lessons.

I can't wait !

You can see and hear Marlee's original story here!

The Destiny, by Zeon

Our village has been attacked for the past few years, but I've never seen the village being attacked; but every morning when I wake up, a part of the village has been destroyed.

My great master King Arthur gave me the greatest quest, a quest that might help the whole village. King Arthur gave me a quest to go defeat the monster. I got on my armor and got all my swords and shields. I ran and hopped on my fastest horse. My horse zoomed out through the village, through the forest.

After three days, I found a cave. There was the monster. I ran to the monster and fought for my life and the destiny of my village. After fighting the monster for two days I finally won the battle, but I felt that I hadn't achieved anything.

So I left the cave and just kept on getting farther and farther away from the village and I looked for something I lost inside me. I kept on fighting monsters all over the world but felt no achievement, but only a slight change in my feeling.

After years passed I felt that I should head back. After I got back to the village and told the story to King Arthur, the King started to tell his story about the truth of the village attack.

I was actually the one that was attacking the village while sleeping. He told me that he hadn't told this story because he thought I wasn't ready for it, but now, after fighting all the monsters and having different feelings, he thought I had changed a lot so he could tell me this story.

You can see and hear Zeon's original story here!

My Dream To Be A Famous Singer, by Stella

I want to be a singer.

I sing for dancers.

I dreamed to be a famous singer.

You can see and hear Stella's original story here!

Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: May, 2012

May was an extremely busy month for us. The ELAs are completely behind everyone and none of our older students had finals or Regents exams yet. While some of our students will be away for all or part of the summer, we will be working all summer long (with the exception of the very end of August) to help prepare our students for the school year ahead.

Thus far, it has been an extremely satisfying year with significant gains made by so many of our students. As a result, we have been getting many referrals from many Brooklyn schools and expect to be very busy this summer. We are so excited and touched by the reports we have heard from parents, teachers and our students.

During the month of May, we did intensive reviews of spelling and spelling rules for all of our age groups. With our younger students, we focused on short vowels and spelling what we call "c-v-c" words. These are words that consist of a consonant, a short vowel and another consonant. These are words like "hat", "big" and "mud." We also worked on vowel pairs such as ai, ay, ee, ea, and oa. In school, children often hear the rhyme, "when two vowels go a-walking, the first word does the talking." We also worked on "magic e" also known as "silent e", a pattern most students learn very easily, as well as consonant sound blends, as in cr as in crab.

For our older students, we also focused on diphthongs such as ow, and ou. Diphthongs are also called "gliding vowels" and they are adjacent vowel sounds. To understand this better, say the vowel sound in the word "how" very slowly. Notice that the sound changes as you say it. You should hear the sounds /ah/ (as in pot) and /oo/ (as in moon), but normally we say them so quickly, we don't realize that we are actually saying two distinct sounds and making two distinct mouth movements.

We frequently review the rule of doubling, and we did so in May. This is the rule we talked about last month when we talked about "Cracking the Tough Nut of Spelling, Part 1." We have found that students need frequent repetition when it comes to remembering the more complex rules that need to be applied when writing a sentence, a story or other composition. We discussed the consonant + le ending, as in "uncle" or "bubble." As with the other doubling rules, when the vowel in the word is short and there is no other intervening consonant, the consonant is doubled.

Our older students continued to read "Dr. Dolittle" and "Tarzan." Several of our students are very close to finishing them. After each session, they write chapter summaries that include characters, setting, and new vocabulary words. Using KidsVoyager Online's double click page, it's easy for students to look up new words without losing their place in a story.

One very enjoyable story some students read was by Artie Knapp and was called "Larkin Wyley's Paleontology Adventure." It was about a boy who wants to find dinosaur bones very badly. He goes to his grandparents' property quite convinced that he will dig up a dinosaur bone. He does dig up a bone, but it was a steak bone, buried by his grandparents' dog. After a frustrating day, he learns that paleontology is hard work. Finally, he digs up something that turns out to be an arrowhead that is likely hundreds of years old. So while he doesn't find any dinosaur bones, he finds something really cool. Larkin learns an important lesson about hard work and appropriate expectations.

We used the idea of working towards a dream as a writing prompt. (A writing prompt is a topic that acts as a springboard to help generate ideas which can be written down and form the basis of a story. It can be one word, several words, or even a picture.) The students had to pretend it was "Make Your Dream Come True" day. The students had to write what those dreams were and how they would make them come true. Some students wrote serious pieces about their dreams, while others wrote "tongue in cheek" versions. It was a very enjoyable activity for our students.

One major confusion many of our students have is when to use "much" and "many" for indicating quantity, with "much" being used frequently -- and incorrectly. We discussed "count nouns" and "non-count nouns." Then, students had to separate "count" from "non-count" nouns. Some examples of non-count nouns are words like "water", "happiness" and "time". Quantities relating to "non-count nouns" are indicated by the word "much", as in "How much water do I need to make oatmeal." Quantities are indicated for count nouns, such as dog, book, and bubble, by the word many, such "How many books are we going to read?" This was an actual question one student asked, although he substituted "much" for "many"! We also practiced some more at


We did a lot of work on vocabulary too. "Word Confusion" at www. funbrain.com is a fun game in which the student has to pick the word that best completes the sentence. For example, "The children played in a rock ______." Is the answer "band" or "banned"? Students get immediate feedback for each answer.

We also played synonym games, using "drop and drag" at Quia.com. In addition, we found a really fun Boggle type game called "8 Letters in Search of a Word" at


It is a British website so some spellings may be a little different although none of those turned up when we played.

So May was a very full month. We focused a lot on the "nuts and bolts" of grammar, spelling, concepts and vocabulary. These are all skills that enhance and are enhanced by reading.

How to Crack the Tough Nut of English Spelling, Part 2

We concluded last months article (Part 1) talking about the rule of doubling.

Before moving on to other rules, here are 2 more "doubling" rules:

  1. If a word is one syllable, has a short vowel, and ends with s, z, f, or l, that consonant is doubled. Think of pass, fizz, staff, and pill.
  2. If a word has two syllables and the second syllable has a short vowel sound in it, you double the final consonant only when the final syllable has the emphasis on it. Here are some examples: the word open has the emphasis on the first syllable, so there is no doubling; open becomes opening or opened. This is in contrast to the words begin and permit. The accent is on the second syllable, so with the ending added, the consonant is doubled as in beginning and permitted

With doubling rules behind us, let's move on to suffixes. Although there are a fair number of rules, it's typically easier to memorize them then to memorize individual words.

The easiest rule to remember is that if a suffix begins with a consonant, such as ment or ful, as in pavement and grateful, all you need to do is add the ending.

But things are not as easy when the suffix begins with a vowel.

  1. If a word ends with silent e, and the suffix begins with a vowel, the e is dropped, as in like/liking (for words like liked, you can think of it as dropping the e, then adding an ed).
  2. Words ending with ce or ge:
    1. If the word we are adding the suffix to ends with ce or ge and the suffix begins with a, o, or u, we need to keep the silent e in order to maintain the soft c and g sounds. Example: notice/noticeable. Remember, in part 1 of this article, we talked about c and usually g demonstrating their soft sounds (like /s/ and /j/) when followed by an e, i, or y.
    2. If the word we are adding the suffix to ends with ce or ge, and the suffix begins with i, e, or y, we drop the e, because i, e, and y cause a soft c or g, as in notice/noticing, or page/paging. Notice the sound of the final consonant does not change.
  3. If a word ends with y, the y changes to an i when adding an ending. Happy becomes happier, bounty becomes bountiful, lucky becomes luckiest.

Our students often confuse the word ending ist with est. An easy way to remember is that ist refers to a person as in guitarist, whereas est is the superlative ending as in busiest. Similarly, the cian ending is used for people (as in musician), while the tion, sion endings are used for other nouns (condition, television).

Three endings that sound the same are: er, ar, and or. There is no particular rule for this one, you just have to remember. But, there are many more words that end in er.

One useful tip about er/or: As mentioned above, the vast majority end with er but here is a great rule to know: If the root word ends with ct, it or ate (think of director, editor and creator (notice the e dropped off in creator) then the word ends with or.

Once you have these rules under your belt, there will be few mistakes made.

It is clear that knowledge of spelling rules helps us with not only encoding, but also decoding as well as reading comprehension. Spelling is not unimportant, as some believe. Using a spellchecker does not make up for poor spelling skills, and it appears to many in the field of teaching reading that spelling is not only an essential part of literacy in and of itself, but also, as mentioned just above, facilitates decoding and comprehension. This appears to be something many educational systems seem to be unaware of.

If I write, "I mist you" (which will also not be picked up by a spellchecker), I am demonstrating my lack of understanding of past tense forms. If I spell the plural of dog as dogz, I am similarly demonstrating my lack of understanding of plurals. So the next time someone says that spelling doesn't matter and "hey there is always spellchecker," you can explain why that is wrong.

Think about your own child. Imagine him/her going to a job interview with a resume with common misspellings that are homophones. These errors would not be picked up by a spellchecker. If your son or daughter uses pear for pair or air for heir, what kind of impression does that make on a college essay or a job application? That may seem far away, but good spelling habits tend to develop early and it is so much easier to learn to spell a word correctly the first time, rather than having to unlearn the incorrect spelling and relearn the correct way. In sum, developing good spelling skills is very important!

Trivia Quiz: June is Entrepreneurs "Do It Yourself" Month. In celebration of all those who forge out on their own, we've put together this trivia quiz to see how much you know about famous innovators.

1. Jack Daniel bought his distillery when he was 13 years old. What unusual way did this entrepreneur die?
2. J.C. Penney was started by James Penney. What was his appropriate middle name?
3. The Model T was produced by Henry Ford for nineteen years beginning in 1908. How many of these cars were sold in the United States?
4. True or False: Bill Gates never graduated from college.
5. As a young man, when he decided to get into the business world, Louis Chevrolet had a wonderful new idea to bring to the market. What was it?
6. Russell Stover got his start selling the first chocolate covered ice cream bar. What was the name of this ice cream treat?
7. One of Walt Disney's first claims to fame was the character we now know as Mickey Mouse. What was the original name given to this animated mouse?
8. Charles Pillsbury was a shrewd businessman and led his company to success. But the success of the advertising icon for his company outpaced his own success. What is the name of the "spokesman" for Pillsbury?
9. The Veg-O-Matic, the Pocket Fisherman, Mr. Microphone, and Seal-A-Meal were all products pitched by which television commercial salesman?
10. A popular tire company's mascot has the official name of Bidenbum, but he is more commonly known as what?


1. He forgot the combination of his safe, so he kicked it in frustration. His broken foot later had gangrene set in, eventually killing him.
2. Cash.
3. 15,500,000.
4. True.
5. A wine making pump.
6. Eskimo Pie.
7. Mortimer.
8. Poppin Fresh.
9. Ron Popeil.
10. The Michelin Man.

June 2012 Holidays and Events

Accordion Awareness Month
Adopt a Shelter Cat Month
Audiobook Appreciation Month
Cancer from the Sun Month
Cataract Awareness Month
Child Vision Awareness Month
Children's Awareness Month
Dairy Alternatives Month
Effective Communications Month
Entrepreneurs "Do It Yourself" Marketing Month
Great Outdoors Month
International Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
International Men's Month
International Surf Music Month
June Dairy Month
National Accordion Awareness Month
National Aphasia Awareness Month
National Caribbean-American Heritage Month
National Iced Tea Month
National Migraine Awareness Month
National Rivers Month
National Rose Month
National Safety Month
National Soul Food Month
National Steakhouse Month
Perennial Gardening Month
Pharmacists Declare War on Alcoholism
Professional Wellness Month
Rebuild Your Life Month
Skyscraper Month
Sports America Kids Month
Student Safety Month

2-8 Black Single Parents Week
2-9 International Clothesline Week
3-9 National Business Etiquette Week
10-16 National Flag Week
11-17 National Automotive Service Professionals Week
14-21 National Nursing Assistants Week
18-23 Meet a Mate Week
24-30 Carpenter Ant Awareness Week
24-30 Lightning Safety Awareness Week
24-30 National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

1 National Leave the Office Earlier Day
1 Say Something Nice Day
2 National Bubba Day
2 National Trails Day
3 Children's Awareness Memorial Day
3 National Cancer Survivors Day
4 National Barefoot Day
4 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
5 World Environment Day
8 World Oceans Day
8 Upsy Daisy Day
9 International Young Eagles Day
14 Family History Day
14 Flag Day
14 National Nursing Assistants Day
15 Native American Citizenship Day
15 Nature Photography Day
15 Work at Home Father's Day
16 World Juggling Day
17 Father's Day
17 Family Awareness Day
17 Husband Caregiver Day
17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
18 International Sushi Day
19 World Sauntering Day
19 Juneteenth
20 National Daylight Appreciation Day
20 First Day of Summer
20 World Refugee Day
21 Go Skateboarding Day
21 Recess at Work Day
21 World Humanist Day
22 Stupid Guy Thing Day
22 Take your Dog to Work Day
23 Baby Boomers Recognition Day
23 Let It Go Day
23 Public Service Day
24 America's Kids Day
24 Log Cabin Day
26 National Columnists Day
27 Decide to Be Married Day
28 National Handshake Day

Have Friends Who Would Like to Keep Informed About Language and Literacy? Forward This Newsletter to Them!

Privacy Policy: We do not give out e-mail addresses -- ever! We support all efforts to stop spam, and do not engage in it.


Our mailing address is: 258 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Our telephone is: 718.768.3526

Our Website is: http://www.parkslopecc.com

Copyright (C) 2012 Park Slope Communication & Learning Center • All rights reserved.