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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 20 - August, 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 "licorice?" (Hint: we found 24.)

Riddles for Kids: Bees
Q: What goes zzub, zzub?
A: A bee flying backwards!

Q: What song do bees like to sing in stormy weather?
A: I'm Stingin' in the Rain!

Q: What are the smartest insects?
A: Spelling bees!

Q: How do you hunt for bees?
A: With a bee bee gun!

Q: How does a bee brush its hair?
A: With a honeycomb!

Q: Why did the queen bee kick out all of the other bees?
A: Because they kept droning on and on!

Q: What do bees do if they want to use public transportation?
A: Wait at the buzz stop!

Q: What kind of gum do bees chew?
A: Bumble gum!

Q: What does a bee get if he visits too many flowers?
A: High bud-pressure!

Q: What do the boy and girl bees ride to school?
A: The school buzz!

Answers to WordsInWords
Circle, cleric, coil, colic, core, ice, icicle, icier, ire, lei, lice, lie, lore, oil, oiler, oilier, or, ore, recoil, relic, rice, rile, roe, role.

In This Issue

  • Our New Reading Readiness Program and the Common Core Reading Standards
  • Stories from the Kids: Sophia, Hamzah, Brian, Scott (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in August!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Bilingualism, is it a positive or a negative?
  • Speech vitamins: do they work?
  • CAPD (also called APD) testing
  • Causes for hearing loss
  • How to help your child write short stories

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.

Reading Readiness

Note: Please read the article Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: July, 2012 (below) for examples of certain aspects of this program.

We are currently organizing our Reading Readiness program, to begin in mid-September. This program, designed to help pre-school and Kindergarten children prepare for the ever-increasing rigors of reading in school (New York's Common Core Reading Standards), and to learn to enjoy reading, will be offered several days per week, between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

Using our highly successful technology, KidsVoyager Online (a copy of which you will receive to use with your child at home), we will help your child with whatever his or her need or desire is, ranging from learning the alphabet, to learning letter/sound combinations, to reading and composing stories.

Your child will have a wonderful time, learn the fundamentals of reading (or more), and learn about current events, animals, the solar system, or whatever interest your child has. Your child will come away with a love of reading. Please call us at 718.768.3526 and speak with our director, Laura Reisler, to learn more.

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.

Godzilla In Long Island, by Hamzah

Early one morning, Godzilla came out of the Atlantic Ocean. He was in Long Island! Immediately, he began to step on cars.

Car alarms began to go off and woke the people up. They looked at him and began to scream. They ran away as fast as they could and they got away from him and went into their basements.

The governor told the president and he called in the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. They came to Long Island and they set off bombs.

Even though they didn't hurt him, not even a scratch, he decided to go back to the water. The people were so happy that they had fun all day.

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

My Week Off, by Brian

I had 10 days off from school because it was spring break. One thing I did was go to the auto show with my dad. It was so much fun.

I saw a traveling car and a convertible. I also had a hot dog which I ate in 4 bites!

On Saturday, I played baseball. I am on a team with my friends. We did not win but at least we had fun.

After baseball, I made this special drink called a Strawberry Daiquiri and it was really tasty. The vacation was really great.

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

The Day I Saw the Lion, by Scott

One day I went to Africa. I went there to do research. I went to study the brain and heart of a camel; to take them out and put them back in.

I was walking around in the desert when I saw a lion. I offered him a dessert made of zebra.

Now he is my pet in the United States. I named him Stuffy because he feels fluffy.

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

London, by Sophia

I have a dog named London. She is 6 years old.

She likes to go on the playground and do everything.

She is scared of thunder.

I love her very much.

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

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

Last month, we reported that we had more students than ever before who were coming for what we call "a summer reading boost." All but one new student were children who had just finished Kindergarten. We presume that this is partially due to the fact that, more than ever before the Common Core Learning Standards for reading, adopted by 30 states (with ours being one of them) really pushes our students, especially Kindergartners (as well as pre-Kindergartners), to achieve reading milestones earlier than in previous years. More about this may be found here.

Suffice it to say that these requirements are significantly more stringent than ever before. Kindergartners are expected to demonstrate phonemic awareness skills, such as the ability to produce rhymes, blend sounds and change one sound for another to make a new word (such as change the /h/ for a /p/ to turn hat into pat). Kindergartners are also supposed to know all long and short vowel sounds. These requirements are especially surprising given the fact that Kindergarten is not even mandatory.

Because of the Core Standards, we spent each session working on short vowels and on two new consonant sounds. Then, for students who understood the letter-sound correspondences, we would select one or two short vowels and several consonants that we had already studied, and we would blend them. We did what is called "onset and rime" activities (onset is the beginning sound of a word). We use onset and rime to help children create new words (actually, word families) by use of familiar endings.

First we would open KidsVoyager Online Animated Storywriter. Then, as an example, we would enter "at" into the text box for the student to read. Thus, "at" is the rime or the ending portion of the word family. We would then add and then change the initial consonant sound or the "onset". The students would have to read words such as hat, bat, pat, sat, rat and even nonsense words such as lat and dat. Nonsense word decoding practice is very important because it truly demonstrates the ability to blend letter-sound combinations without the benefit of the context of a real word. We also incorporated some consonant blends such as "sl" in this case, forming the word slat. These are different from what is called digraphs in which the two letters form a completely new sound as in "sh", "ch" and "th".

A typical short /i/ lesson (i as in insect) might consist of opening our Storywriter program and putting the v-c (vowel-consonant) combination "ip" and asking the child to decode it. The child then has to decode a whole series of different onset sounds with this rime. S/he might see a list including "hip, sip, lip, rip, slip, ship," to decode. Because KidsVoyager Online has a text reader, the student can read the c-v-c list (consonant-vowel-consonant) and have as many repetitions as s/he needs to ultimately readily decode these combinations. We saved and printed out our lists so the children could take them home and practice them with their parents. Additionally, using a combination of online games, short stories incorporating these v-c configurations, and paper and pencil activities, we work to establish and maintain these skills.

For those students who were ready to move on and for students who had completed first grade, we worked on long vowels, and discussed "magic e" (also referred to as silent e). We talked about how magic 'e' makes the vowel say its name. Using short vowels in c-v-c lists, we added the "magic e" to make a new word. A sample list looked like this:

  1. fin-fine
  2. Tim-time
  3. tap-tape
  4. cut-cute
  5. mop-mope
  6. met-mete

With some students who were older or more advanced, we worked on vowel pairs, exploring the rule, "When 2 vowels go a-walking the first one does the talking." These included "ai, ay, ee, ea, oa", as well as others.

Our students were given sight word lists to practice so that they would be ready for the school year that was rapidly approaching. Similarly, grade leveled vocabulary lists were utilized to keep the students on track.

Also, during the month of July, our students read lots of stories and wrote lots of stories. We read both fiction and non-fiction. We read about dinosaurs, dogs and the solar system. One of our older students finished reading and summarizing The Story of Dr. Dolittle by Hugh Lofting, just before leaving for the rest of the summer. He thoroughly enjoyed the book and had a great sense of satisfaction at having finished it.

July was a busy, productive and simply wonderful month at our reading center.

August 2012 Holidays and Events

American Adventures Month
Black Business Month
Children's Eye Health and Safety Month
Children's Vision and Learning Month
Get Ready for Kindergarten Month
National Immunization Awareness Month
National Panini Month
National Win with Civility Month
Neurosurgery Outreach Month
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month
Stevens Johnson Syndrome Awareness Month
What Will Be Your Legacy Month

1-7 International Clown Week
1-7 World Breastfeeding Week
5-11 Assistance Dog Week
6-12 Exercise With Your Child Week
6-10 Exhibitor Appreciation Week
6-12 National Bargain Hunting Week
6-10 Psychic Week
10-18 Elvis Week
13-17 Weird Contest Week
15-21 National Aviation Week
19-25 Minority Enterprise Development Week
25-31 Be Kind to Humankind Week
27-31 National Safe at Home Week

1 Girlfriend's Day
1 National Minority Donor Awareness Day
1 Respect for Parents Day
4 Coast Guard Day
4 National Mustard Day
4 Single Working Women's Day
5 National Underwear Day
5 Sisters Day
6 Hiroshima Day
7 National Night Out
7 Particularly Preposterous Packaging Day
7 Professional Speakers Day
8 Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night
9 International Day of the World's Indigenous People
9 Veep Day
11 National Garage Sale Day
12 International Youth Day
12 Vinyl Record Day
13 International Left-Handers Day
14 Navajo Code Talkers Day
15 Best Friend's Day
15 National Relaxation Day
18 Bad Poetry Day
18 International Geocaching Day
18 International Homeless Animals Day
18 Serendipity Day
19 National Aviation Day
19 World Humanitarian Day
21 Poet's Day
22 Be an Angel Day
25 Founders Day
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
29 International Day Against Nuclear Tests
30 National Holistic Pet Day

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