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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 23 - November, 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 "dentist?" (Hint: we found 50.)

Riddles for Kids: Falling Leaves
Q: What did one autumn leaf say to another?
A: I'm falling for you!

Q: How does an elephant get out of a tree?
A: Sits on a leaf and waits until autumn!

Q: Why did the leaf go to the doctor?
A: It was feeling green!

Q: What month are trees scared of?
A: Sept-timber!

Q: What has leaves but isn't a tree?
A: A table!

Q: What did the little tree say to the big tree?
A: Leaf me alone!

Q: What did the tree do when the bank closed?
A: It started a new branch!

Q: What did the red leaf say to the yellow leaf?
A: Have a nice trip. I'll see you in the fall!

Q: What does the tree do when he is ready to go home?
A: He leaves!

Q: What did the tree say when he was burned down?
A: I can't beleaf this!

Answers to WordsInWords
Den, dent, dents, die, dies, diet, diets, din, dine, dines, dins, edit, edits, end, ends, in, inset, is, it, its, nest, net, nets, send, sent, set, side, sin, sit, site, snide, ten, tend, tends, tens, tent, tents, test, tide, tides, tie, tied, ties, tin, tine, tines, tins, tint, tinted, tints.

In This Issue

  • Causes of Hearing Loss in Children
  • Stories from the Kids: Zeon and Gus (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in October!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Bilingualism, is it a positive or a negative?
  • CAPD Therapy
  • How to help your child write short stories

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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.

Causes of Hearing Loss in Children

There are two main categories of hearing loss, conductive and sensorineural. Conductive hearing losses involve the outer and/or the middle ear, the latter being the problem most often. Sensorineural hearing losses may involve the inner ear (the snail-shaped cochlea) and/or the auditory nerve. Let's examine these classifications and their causes.

Conductive hearing losses may be caused by malformation of the outer ear or ear canal. Wax may clog up the ear canal; this is called impacted cerumen. Most frequently, children develop infections in the middle ear (otitis media). Fluid accumulates in the middle ear causing reduced hearing thresholds. (Fluid may also accumulate with colds.) If it persists, doctors may choose to treat this more aggressively with insertion of tubes in the tympanic membrane (ear drum) to allow the fluid to drain. This procedure is called a myringotomy. Generally, after the fluid is gone, hearing thresholds returns to normal levels. Thus, children with recurrent ear infections may have hearing levels that fluctuate. In the young child who is just developing language skills, this can have a devastating effect on both the developing sound system and the grammatical system. We have also noticed that some children develop a hypersensitivity to sound which is often a feature of an auditory processing disorder.

One disorder (which may be genetic) that causes a conductive hearing loss is called otosclerosis. This condition causes excess bony cell growth which fixates the three little bones in the middle ear. If these bones cannot vibrate, the sound is not conducted from the middle ear to the inner ear. This condition can be treated surgically if necessary with a procedure called a stapedectomy.

Sensorineural hearing losses tend to be more severe than conductive losses. The cochlea, which is the snail-shaped structure in the inner ear and consists of three fluid filled chambers and besides being an organ of hearing, also is responsible for our sense of balance. The cochlea also contains sensory hair cells. In the healthy cochlea, the fluid and the hair cells amplify sound and ultimately convert the sound to an electrical signal. Ultimately, this signal travels through the auditory nerve and then to the auditory cortex in the brain. Most sensorineural hearing losses are the result of a problem in the cochlea, rather than the auditory nerve. Those delicate hair cells, in particular, are easily damaged by long term exposure to loud sounds (think of the teens on the subway listening to their MP3 players) or even to one extremely loud event. According to the American Speech-Language & Hearing Association (ASHA), more than 50% of congenital hearing losses have heredity as a factor. After birth, there are a number of viruses that can cause hearing losses including meningitis, influenza and, in fact, anything that can cause a high fever. Certain drugs are ototoxic; that is, they can damage the inner ear.

We all probably know someone who uses a hearing loss in one or both ears. In our April 2011 issue of the CC News, we ran an article about cochlear implants, which can be used as long as the auditory nerve is not damaged. Cochlear implants in young children, when accompanied by auditory training and assistance from a speech-language pathologist, can result in fully functional speech recognition and verbal expression.

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.

Ancient Magic, by Zeon

I never imagined that my life was going to be like this. I lost too many things in this battle. I live in a world named "Sentopia." It is a world that is thousands and thousands of miles away from Earth. A planet that earthlings will never get to. A world where magic is sold and traded normally.

In the 1990s, me and my brother had lost our greatest thing in our lives, our mother. She got killed by the guild named "Fairy." They made a mistake and killed her because they thought she was the enemy. After the death of our mother, I felt my brother get larger and larger every day. At the year 2000, my brother finally ran out of the castle. There were many magic books on the table at the library that my brother left.

I wished and prayed everyday that my brother would not take the wrong path. I left the castle so I can train myself in case my brother took the wrong path. I traveled everywhere to find to most powerful magic left in this world, the keys to the spirit of zodiac, and lost magic which changes your body parts into dragons. I have fought and looked everywhere and found the most rare zodiac keys. I wished I could learn the lost magic,but only dragon can teach lost magic and dragons don't exist anymore. All dragons have been frozen by the clock and the clock has been broken into six pieces.

to be continued

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

The Dungeon (part one) by Gus

I'm going to tell you a story about an elf that lived in the world of Alert. It all started in the year 900. "Gus!" the old blacksmith said.

"What?" Gus said.

"I need your help in the shop!" said the old blacksmith.

"Coming!" said Gus. Gus ran downstairs when he saw a bunch of people gathered in the town square. They were talking about a dungeon in the mountain. They were saying they needed someone to go and get the money so the town could continue paying their bills to the king.

Also whoever got the money would get 1,000,000 dollars in gold dollars from the mayor." I will go through the dungeon and get the money for the town." said Gus. Nobody saw Gus say that he would go."

Who said that?" people started to ask. "Me," said Gus. Gus went back to the shop got his armor, his shield, his sword, and his bow and arrows, then got his horse and rode to the mountain.

You can see and hear Gus' original story here!

Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Method & KidsVoyager Online: What Happened Last Month?

October was an interesting month in our reading sessions. On the one hand, we worked intensively on a variety of literacy skills. On the other hand, Hurricane Sandy made it very hard for several of our students to come in. Our hearts went out to those who lost so much, but on a positive note, we used this major event as something to both read and write about.

We've mentioned before that we sometimes used the Weather Wiz Kids website (http://www.weatherwizkids.com/) to read about hurricanes. This website was created by a meteorologist just for kids. Some of our students are incredibly sophisticated. They brought up the subject of climate change and/or global warming. These students used KidsVoyager Online to look up this topic and draw their own conclusions. Some wrote stories about their experiences with (or their research on) Hurricane Sandy.

Several other topics were relevant for the month of October: Halloween and the upcoming Presidential election. For Halloween, we read stories with a "creepy" undertone.

Our students range in age from preschool to High School, so of course our stories varied greatly, depending on age and grade. Using the website, Apples4theTeacher.com, we read several short stories and also used its interactive coloring program to make printable pictures. Then, the students used their pictures to write captions and short stories.

Some of the older students (fourth grade and up) were given fantasy writing prompts, which they worked on with great gusto. Fantasy has become extremely popular with Star Wars, Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hunger Games. All of the students, without exception said they were "into" fantasy. Because of the storm, these stories were not completed until the month of November, so we will share them next month but suffice it to say that they were very interesting and creative. We read the true story of "Frankenstein" and how Mary Shelley came to write it. The story had questions that the students had to answer. The students seemed very interested in how this story came to be.

Several of the students expressed very strong feelings about the election. Kids often mirror their parents' opinions without any real knowledge about who the candidates were, so they had to research their candidate of choice. Most of our students could not think of a reason why they selected the candidate they did, so the research and subsequent homework they did was very helpful. We also engaged them into thinking about the other elections, such as the Senate and the House of Representatives.

What is so striking about the kids who have been coming for a while is what amazing writers they have become. What used to be, perhaps, two sentences, at most, is now one to two pages and well thought out.

Many of our lessons are about spelling, focusing on specific syllable types or spelling patterns. For spelling patterns, we continued to work on long 'a', spelled ai/ay. We practiced writing some words and took notice of the fact that long /a/ at the end of words is usually spelled 'ay', as in say. The 'eigh' pattern was mentioned but was not yet the object of our word study. Now that we are moving onto syllable types (having done "magic e"), we will next focus on syllables ending in double l, s, z, and f. Parents may or may not know that in a one syllable (dress) word, or in a multisyllablic word in which the stressed syllable ends with s, z, l or f (as in the word 'address'), when the vowel is short, the ending consonant is doubled. Examples of these are bell, pass, jazz, and puff. Having missed a lot of time in October, we will go into this much more intensively during the month of November.

Trivia Quiz: Nuts About Peanut Butter

November is Peanut Butter Lovers' Month. Test how much you know about this popular bread spread with this trivia quiz.

1. What is the most popular brand of peanut butter sold in the world?
2. How many peanuts are in an 18 ounce jar of peanut butter?
3. How much peanut butter does the average American household consume in a year?
4. How many peanut butter sandwiches will the average American child eat by the time he or she graduates from high school?
5. Jimmy Carter was one of two peanut farmers who have been elected president of the United States. Who was the other?
6. What is arachibutyrophobia?
7. Where is the largest peanut butter factory in the world?
8. True or false: Peanuts are not actually nuts at all.
9. How many peanut butter sandwiches will one acre of peanuts make?
10. What part of the peanut plant can be used in kitty litter, wallboard, fireplace logs, paper, and animal feed?


1. Skippy Peanut Butter.
2. 850 peanuts.
3. Over 6 pounds.
4. 1,500 sandwiches.
5. Thomas Jefferson.
6. A fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth.
7. The Jif plant in Lexington, Kentucky.
8. True--they are legumes, like beans and peas.
9. 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches.
10. The shell.

November 2012 Holidays and Events

AIDS Awareness Month
American Diabetes Month
Aviation History Month
Banana Pudding Lovers Month
Diabetic Eye Disease Month
Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month
Lung Cancer Awareness Month
National Adoption Month
National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month
National American Indian Heritage Month
National Diabetes Month
National Family Caregivers Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Inspirational Role Models Month
National Lifewriting Month
National Long-Term Care Awareness Month
National Marrow Awareness Month
National Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Peanut Butter Lovers Month
Vegan Month

1-7 National Fig Week
1-7 National Patient Accessibility Week
11-17 American Education Week
12-16 National Young Reader's Week
16-22 National Farm-City Week
18-24 National Bible Week
18-24 National Family Week
18-24 National Game and Puzzle Week
19-25 Better Conversation Week
21-28 National Deal Week

1 National Authors Day
1 National Cook For Your Pets Day
1 National Family Literacy Day
1 National Men Make Dinner Day
2 Natinoal Medical Science Liaison Awareness and Appreciation Day
2 National Traffic Directors Day
2 Plan Your Epitaph Day
3 Cliché Day
3 Saide Hawkins Day
4 Daylight Saving Time Ends
4 National Chicken Lady Day
4 Use Your Common Sense Day
4 Zero-Tasking Day
5 Job Action Day
6 Election Day
6 Saxophone Day
8 Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day
8 National Parents as Teachers Day
10 National Day of Play
10 National Gaming Day
11 Veterans Day
12 World Orphans Day
13 World Kindness Day
14 International Girls Day
14 Loosen Up, Lighten Up Day
14 National Educational Support Professionals Day
14 World Diabetes Day
15 America Recycles Day
15 Great American Smokeout
15 Guinness World Records Day
15 I Love to Write Day
15 National Bundt Day
17 Family Volunteer Day
17 Homemade Bread Day
17 National Unfriend Day
20 Name Your PC Day
20 Africa Industrialization Day
20 Universal Children's Day
21 World Television Day
21 World Hello Day
22 Thanksgiving Day
23 Buy Nothing Day
23 Maize Day
23 National Flossing Day
23 native American Heritage Day
23 You're Welcomegiving Day
24 Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day
24 International Aura Awareness Day
25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
29 Electronic Greetings Day
30 Computer Security Day
30 Stay Home Because You're Well Day

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