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Information About the Communication Continuum
Speech, Language, Literacy
Park Slope Communication & Learning Center Newsletter
Issue 25 - January, 2013
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 "simple?" (Hint: we found 27.)

Riddles for Kids: Sillies for Kids
Q: What do you get when you drop a banana from the top of the Empire State Building?
A: A banana splat!

Q: What do you get if you cross a cookie and a burglar?
A: A crookie!

Q: What do you call a cashew in outer space?
A: An astro-nut!

Q: What do you call an umbrella that marches in a band?
A: A drum-brella!

Q: Why did the duck's roof leak when it rained?
A: Because it had quacks in the roof!

Q: What do bulls do when they go shopping?
A: They charge!

Q: What has one horn and gives milk?
A: A milk truck!

Q: What day of the week do French fries hate the most?
A: Fry-day!

Q: What do you call salad that is afraid to come out of the bowl?
A: Chicken salad!

Q: Why did the bird go to the doctor's office?
A: He went to get tweet-ment!

Answers to WordsInWords
Elm, elms, is, isle, lei, leis, lie, lies, lime, limes, limp, limps, lip, lips, lisp, me, mile, miles, pie, pies, pile, piles, sip, slim, slime, slip, smile.

In This Issue

  • What Are the Causes of Articulation Disorders in Children?
  • Stories from the Kids: Sophia, Joycelyn, and Zeon (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in January!

In Upcoming Issues

  • Bilingualism, is it a positive or a negative?
  • 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.

What Are the Causes of Articulation Disorders in Children?

Articulation disorders are generally the largest percentage of a speech & language pathologist's schedule. These disorders may range from mild to severe, meaning that the intelligibility of a child's speech may range from poor to excellent. There are many underlying reasons why some children have these deficits.

First, some children have hearing impairments. The problem we see most frequently is recurrent otitis media, or middle ear infection. Children who suffer from recurrent otitis media have fluid in their middle ear that impedes the transmission of the acoustic signal and is described as feeling like "hearing sound through water." One other problem that these children have to deal with is hearing thresholds that fluctuate. Even though this kind of hearing loss will not be a severe one, imagine you are a little child and you are learning language for the first time. Sounds are distorted and distorted in ways that vary over time. So it is not just hearing thresholds that vary but the actual perception of sounds vary. Remember, we adults have a point of reference but, to a child, sounds and words are all new. If a child keeps hearing a sound differently, s/he will very likely not learn to say it correctly. Some children exhibit auditory perceptual deficits in the absence of a hearing loss. These children, too, have difficulty with speech sound production, ostensibly because they don't hear sounds and words the way they were spoken.

A hearing loss that is the result of a problem in the inner ear will also affect how a child learns to say sounds. These are called sensorineural hearing losses and are the result of a problem in the cochlea and/or the auditory nerve. These hearing losses tend to be more severe, resulting in an even more severe deficit in speech sound production. In our April 2011 issue, we featured an article on cochlear implants, a revolutionary treatment for sensorineural hearing losses. Children with severe hearing losses generally require years of speech therapy to produce speech sounds correctly.

Other times, articulation disorders are the result of problems in the structure of the articulators. For example, some children are born with a cleft lip, palate and/or soft palate. Some children are born with ankyloglossia or tongue-tie as it is more commonly known. In this case, the membrane that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth (called the frenulum) is too short. Although most of the time, children seem to be able to adapt to this restriction of movement, the condition may be treated medically by clipping the frenulum. Other structural problems which can affect speech sound production may include enlarged tonsils and adenoids and a high arched palate. Missing front teeth may impact the development of the /s/ and /z/ sounds.

When speech pathologists describe the function of the articulators, that refers to how the lips, tongue and jaw move. Movements should be symmetrical; the right and left sides of the face should look the same. In addition, the articulators should be able to move separately. If these conditions are not met then specific speech sounds will be distorted. If there is a generalized weakness in speech movements, the resulting speech will be slurred and unclear. If the child has retained an immature swallow pattern, s/he will most likely have difficulty with the /s/ and /z/ sounds, as well as other sounds that require tongue tip elevation. Unless the speaker is saying the /th/ sound, the tongue should always be inside the oral cavity.

Rarely, but occasionally, a child may exhibit an apraxia of speech. This condition is neurological in origin and results in difficulty in initiating, planning and executing speech movements. Generally, children with apraxia of speech are quite unintelligible and require intensive speech therapy. They also often exhibit concomitant learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Finally, there are functional articulation disorders. These disorders, which are a large percentage of those with articulation problems, simply have no obvious cause. The important thing to remember, however, is that whatever the cause, speech therapy is going to give these children the optimal chance at producing sounds correctly.

If I Were President, by Sophia

If I were president I would help poor people. I would also make the school day shorter.

I think that being president would be exhausting.

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

News Story: The Stoning in Town Square, by Joycelyn

Every year a big event happens in the town square. It's a tradition to have a lottery.

The lottery was a cruel happening, during which Mrs.Hutchinson got pelted with rocks until she fell down dead.

Mrs.Hutchinson, a mother of two claimed that the drawing was unfair. We look forward to reporting about next year's lottery.

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

Murderous Night, by Zeon

It was the strangest thing I ever heard. And it was the last thing my uncle said before he died. He said, "Never look at the truth of the basement."

I never understood what my uncle was trying to say. I asked my mom what he was trying to say, but all she said was "He was dizzy that's all." I thought that was true until the day before my dad and mom died.

It was my 13th birthday when I was alone in my house playing. I went to my basement to get my old remote controlled car. I was playing with it in the basement. I wasn't that good at controlling it, so I smashed it into the wall. When I walked towards the remote control car, I saw a little crack in the wall.

When I touched the crack, the wall opened. There I saw a dark room with many dead bodies full of blood. The smell made me dizzy. Then my mom stood right behind me holding a bat. She swung the bat, but there came my dad...

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

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

Because we closed for the winter holidays, December was a short month for us. We also said a sad "goodbye" to Rowan, whose family moved to Austin, Texas. We are really going to miss you and your wonderful stories a lot! All we can say is our loss is Texas's gain.

December was a month for diphthongs! What is a diphthong, you ask? A diphthong is also called a gliding vowel and consists of two adjacent vowel sounds that are in the same syllable. If it still doesn't make sense, try saying the long /a/ or long /o/ very slowly. Notice how as you say them, the sound changes. The long /o/ starts out as an /o/ and ends up as an /oo/. Some diphthongs are made up of vowel pairs, or "teams," such as "ay," "ow," and "oi."

With some of the younger students, we watched vowel team "videos" (at Starfall.com) and then the students read stories that incorporated the letter/sound combinations we were studying. For example, after working on the long vowel /o/, we read a story at apples4theteacher.com called "The First Snowfall."

Every time we learn new spelling patterns, we always review spelling patterns done previously. Thus, we have reviewed short vowels many times. Children perpetually confuse short /i/, /e/ and /u/ with each other because they sound so much alike. In addition, kids often misidentify the /ah/ sound as "short a." It is very important for kids to be able to listen to a word and identify the vowel. Using C-V-C words (consonant-short vowel-consonant words, such as "bat,") we practice identifying and blending letters. Not only are these very common word constructions, but there are a plethora of spelling rules that are based on the consonant-short vowel-consonant construction. Here is an example: the word "hit" fits in that category. If we add any word ending, such as 'ing' or 'er', we have to double the final consonant. Another example is hoping/hopping. Notice the latter has the short vowel, so the final consonant 'p' is doubled.

Speaking of rules, we also focused on grammatical rules. At a website called "Grammar Gorillas," the students played an online, interactive game that focused on parts of speech. We also played a game on contractions at englishexercises.org. While kids understand the concepts of contractions, they often use them incorrectly, placing the apostrophe in the wrong place and also using them with plurals, where they don't belong at all.

Our older groups have begun reading classic American short stories. First, we read The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe, and discussed the way Poe set the mood and the characterization. In this story, told in the first person, the character feels compelled to commit a murder. Subsequently, he feels very guilty, and compelled to confess his crime to the police, because he can't get the sound of his victim's heartbeat out of his head.

We also read The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson. This classic American tale is about a small town that has an annual tradition of selecting someone from their town to win a prize that nobody wants. In her story, Ms. Jackson reveals the emptiness of some traditions and the hypocritical ways that people, even good people, can act when acting as a group. Written in 1948, this story elicited very intense responses, including being banned in South Africa. Ms. Jackson received lots of hate mail from all around the country. In fact, even her parents did not like her story. Our students told us they found the story really interesting. They had lots to say about it and they did some writing about it as well.

As is most often the case, the students had some writing activity to do after reading each story. Most often, since we now have such good writers, they write stories (including "creepy" stories!) with little or no assistance, and they do so with great enthusiasm.

Aside from interest, an additional benefit we receive from reading classic literature is new vocabulary words. We always come across words that are not in such common usage but are great words to know. We use our KidsVoyager Online "double-click page" to find their meanings and the students are asked how they use them in sentences they make up.

Trivia Quiz: Hail to the Chief

Since the official inauguration date falls on a Sunday this year, the presidential inauguration is on January 21st. Test how much you know about the presidency with this fun trivia quiz!

1. Who was the first president to be inaugurated on January 20?
2. Who was the first president to travel by car to and from the inaugural ceremony?
3. At his inauguration, Teddy Roosevelt wore a ring with a strand of which former president's hair?
4. Where was George Washington inaugurated?
5. Which president was the first to have his inauguration televised?
6. Which chief justice of the Supreme Court administered the oath the most times?
7. Who was the oldest president at his inauguration?
8. Martin Van Buren rode to his inauguration in a carriage constructed from the timbers of what famous ship?
9. Which president was inaugurated on an airplane?
10. When is the vice president sworn in?


1. Franklin D. Roosevelt.
2. Warren Harding.
3. Abraham Lincoln.
4. New York City.
5. Harry Truman.
6. Chief Justice John Marshall.
7. Ronald Reagan at 69 years of age.
8. U.S.S. Constitution.
9. Lyndon Johnson.
10. Immediately before the president.

January 2013 Holidays and Events

Be Kind to Food Servers Month
Book Blitz Month
Celebration of Life Month
Get Organized Month
International Brain Teaser Month
International Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month
International Creativity Month
International New Year's Resolution Month for Business
International Wayfinding Month
International Wealth Mentality Month
National Clean Up Your Computer Month
National Be On-Purpose Month
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
National Mentoring Month
National Personal Self-Defense Awareness Month
National Poverty in America Awareness Month
National Radon Action Month
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month
National Stalking Awareness Month
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
Oatmeal Month
Self-Help Group Awareness Month
Self-Love Month
Shape Up US Month
Worldwide Rising Star Month

1-7 Diet Resolution Week
2-8 "Someday We'll Laugh About This" Week
6-12 Home Office Safety and Security Week
11-17 Cuckoo Dancing Week
17-23 National Fresh-Squeezed Juice Week
20-26 Clean Out Your Inbox Week
20-26 Healthy Weight Week
20-26 Hunt for Happiness Week
20-26 National Handwriting Analysis Week
20-26 National Nurse Anesthetists Week

1 New Year's Day
1 Z Day
4 Trivia Day
4 World Hypnotism Day
5 Twelfth Night
7 International Programmers Day
7 National Thank God It's Monday Day
8 Argyle Day
8 Show and Tell Day at Work
10 National Cut Your Energy Costs Day
14 National Clean Off Your Desk Day
16 Religious Freedom Day
17 Get to Know Your Customer Day
17 Kid Inventors Day
20 World Religion Day
21 Inauguration Day
21 Martin Luther King, Jr, Federal Holiday
21 National Hugging Day
22 Answer Your Cat's Question Day
22 Celebration of Life Day
23 National Handwriting Day
23 National Pie Day
23 Snowplow Mailbox Hockey Day
24 Belly Laugh Day
24 National Compliment Day
24 Women's Healthy Weight Day
25 Fun at Work Day
25 National Preschool Fitness Day
25 A Room of One's Own Day
27 Holocaust Memorial Day
28 Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day
29 Curmudgeons Day
29 Freethinker's Day
30 Inane Answering Message Day
31 Inspire Your Heart With the Arts Day

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