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 27 - March, 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 words "race car?" (Hint: we found 14.)

Riddles for Kids: Valentine's Day
Q: What did the boy sheep say to the girl sheep on Valentine's Day?
A: I love ewe!

Q: What did the boy pickle say to the girl pickle on Valentine's Day?
A: You mean a great dill to me!

Q: What did the boy owl say to the girl owl on Valentine's Day?
A: Owl be yours!

Q: What did the boy elephant say to the girl elephant on Valentine's Day?
A: I love you a ton!

Q: What did the boy cat say to the girl cat on Valentine's Day?
A: You're purr-fect for me!

Q: What did the boy bird say to the girl bird on Valentine's Day?
A: You are my tweet heart!

Q: What did the boy bat say to the girl bat on Valentine's Day?
A: You're fun to hang around with!

Q: What did the boy drum say to the girl drum on Valentine's Day?
A: My heart beats for you!

Q: What did the boy squirrel say to the girl squirrel on Valentine's Day?
A: I'm nuts about you!

Q: What did the girl squirrel say to the boy squirrel on Valentine's Day?
A: You're nuts so bad yourself!

Answers to WordsInWords
Ace, acre, arc, are, area, car, care, ear, era, err, race, racer, rare, rear.

In This Issue

  • Vocal Hygiene – the DOs and DON'Ts of Maintaining a Healthy Voice
  • Stories from the Kids: James and Chris (with videos!)
  • Monthly Feature: Phonic Engine Reading Method & KidsVoyager Online: What happened last month?
  • For Fun: Trivia Quiz
  • For Fun: Some Interesting Events in March!

In Upcoming Issues

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

Vocal Hygiene – the DOs and DON'Ts of Maintaining a Healthy Voice

We use it all day, every day. It's something we tend to take for granted. It is our primary method of communicating with the world. It is an important part of who we are as a person. It is our VOICE and it is vital that we take care of it. Vocal hygiene helps us feel better and sound better too! There are many "Do's" and "Don'ts" to keeping our voice healthy and strong. Some may seem obvious, while others not as much. Certain professions, such as teachers, lawyers, coaches and singers seem like the obvious culprits of vocal "abuse."

However, any individual who partakes in these abusive behaviors is subject to poor vocal hygiene and abusing/misusing their voices. Children are particularly at risk, as they tend to use a louder voice and are not always aware of the choices they make that can potentially be harming their vocal cords and overall vocal mechanism. Below is a basic review of the "DO's and DON'Ts" of maintaining a healthy voice. Think of your own personal habits and take note of any changes you can make to your everyday lifestyle that may help to improve the quality of your voice. It is the only voice we have and it is our job to care for it.


  • Drink plenty of water (at least eight 8 oz glasses per day)
  • Keep the air in your home somewhat moist. Ensure your environment is as smoke-free and dust-free as possible.
  • Keep your voice at a comfortable pitch. Avoid screaming/yelling whenever possible.
  • Create a quiet and comfortable environment at home. Walk up to your "communication partners" when you are speaking with them – do not shout across the room. Keep the TV or radio at a fairly quiet level to avoid shouting as well.
  • Colds, allergies and sinus infections can greatly impact your vocal hygiene. Take care of the signs and symptoms as soon as you notice them.
  • Whenever possible, keep your stress levels to a minimum. Increased tension levels can impact not only your vocal hygiene, but your overall well-being and mental attitude.
  • Have an awareness of the impact your emotions have on you and your body, particularly if they cause stress or tension to your chest, jaw, throat, neck, etc.
  • Pick specific times of the day to set aside for vocal rest. This is particularly important when you're sick or when you're tired.
  • Use a microphone for all public speaking situations to avoid stress on your vocal cords.
  • Learn to recognize signs of vocal fatigue and contact your physician if these signs or symptoms worsen over time. Do not self-medicate. Contact a professional as soon as possible.


  • Avoid irritants, such as coffee, alcohol, soda, tea, and smoking.
  • Avoid excessive coughing or throat clearing – this causes unnecessary strain on the vocal cords and forces them to "smash" together at a higher and more intense frequency than they typically would.
  • Avoid loud places which force you to speak over environmental noises, such as a TV, radio, yelling from room-to-room, etc.
  • Avoid over-the-counter medications when you have a cold/cough, as they tend to dehydrate or dry out the voice. In terms of vocal hygiene, they may do more harm than good!
  • Don't speak without adequate breath support – "squeezing" out your words can be hazardous to your voice.
  • Prolonged vocally-abusive crying or laughing can be harmful to your voice.
  • Don't clench your teeth or your jaw.
  • Do not force yourself to speak in a tone that is beyond a comfortable pitch.
  • Don't ever whisper. Often when we are sick, we feel the need to whisper in an attempt to protect or rest our voices. In fact, whispering can be more harmful and more strenuous on the voice than speaking in your typical fashion.
  • Don't allow prolonged exposure to a dry, dirty, dusty or smoky environment. This can greatly irritate the vocal cords and cause increased discomfort, especially if you are already sick.

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. 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 multisenory word grid). Writing is a terrific way to learn, teaches numerous skills, and kids love it. We hope you enjoy them.

Hobnail, by Chris

This is a story of a man with hobnail boots and how he lost his head.

One night a man jumped him and sliced off his "HEAD!"

Blood was everywhere. He got up and started chasing the man who cut off his head. Now, he still roams the earth...

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

If I Found Four Sacks of Gold, by James

If I found 4 sacks of gold, I would buy a big house with a large basketball court, a tennis court, a bowling alley, a football stadium, a food court and a movie theater.

If I found 4 sacks of gold, I would share it with my family, my mom, my dad, my sister and me.

I would like to have a limo that you can eat in. I would like to have a rocker skateboard, a rocket bike and 2 rocket scooters. I would tell my friends to come to my house and see WWE Wrestle Mania and Boxing.

I would be excited to invite all my friends to my house where there are a lot of beds, no stairs; you slide down to see Wrestle Mania or Boxing and if you're outside and you want to get back inside you can just clap the symbols of your name and the slide can take you back inside to see football or any game!

You can see and hear James' original story here!

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

Whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow, February remained a cold month. Our reading room, however, was a spot for lively, animated conversation. It is wonderful to see how these groups have gelled, how friendships have been made, and how the students are always welcoming to new students. At the present time, our students range from preschool through high school with some homogenous and some heterogeneous groups.

During February, several of our students did "animal" projects. The students were assigned animals that had discrete life cycles. So for example, the frog's life cycle goes from egg, to tadpole, to froglet, to adult frog.

We also did kangaroo, dolphin and butterfly. The students read online materials with Merlin and then filled in a graphic organizer. In the organizer, they filled in the names of the stages and for each one, and they included facts about its size and shape, diet and habitat. Finally, using KidsVoyager Animated Storywriter, they wrote the story of their selected animal.

Then, they read their essays to each other (guided oral reading is an evidence based method to improve reading fluency).

Since we celebrated President's Day this month, we also read about Presidents Washington and Lincoln and how they contributed to America. We read about them at www.enchantedlearning.com and at www.apples4theteacher.com.

We played many phonics games at several websites, including www.readwritethink.org and www.readtheory.org. These are two excellent websites for working on letter/sound combinations in all positions in words.

One thing we notice is that kids will often be able to match a sound to a letter or letters, but when they try to blend them they either say them in the wrong order or they add sounds that aren't there. One activity which is very helpful is to spell the word while pointing to our paper from left to right, and then sweeping our hand under the word from left to right. For additional motor-kinesthetic feedback, we write our words in the air.

At the website Strategies for Better Reading,


the students get to practice inferencing, while Merlin reads along with them. Having a text reader allows for pure inferencing, since there is no question about the child's decoding.

As usual, we reviewed short and long vowels, with special emphasis on listening and identifying. The kids learned a new pattern, long /i/ spelled 'igh'. Once we identified it, the students had to find this pattern by looking through the pages in KidsVoyager Online. We made lists, looked up meanings when necessary, and made up sentences with each word.

We are all looking forward to next month and the beginning of spring.

Trivia Quiz: Erin Go Bragh!

Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day with this trivia quiz to test your Irish knowledge.

1. What does "Erin Go Bragh" mean?
2. What are the colors of the flag of Ireland?
3. What is the name of the Irish priest depicted by Spencer Tracy in the 1938 classic film "Boys Town"?
4. In traditional Irish folklore, what occupation does a leprechaun usually have?
5. What is the title of the final novel by Irish writer James Joyce?
6. Where else besides Ireland is Gaelic spoken today?
7. What percentage of U.S. Presidents had Irish ancestors?
8. What accomplishment made Irishmen Harland and Wolff famous?
9. What the only two days of the year that Irish pubs close?
10. What is the longest river in Ireland?


1. Ireland Forever!
2. Green, orange, and white.
3. Father Flanagan.
4. A cobbler or shoemaker.
5. Finnegans Wake.
6. Isle of Mann and Scotland.
7. Over 40 percent.
8. The built the Titanic.
9. Christmas Day and Good Friday.
10. The Shannon.

March 2013 Holidays and Events

Colic Awareness Month
Credit Education Month
Employee Spirit Month
Expanding Girls' Horizons in Science and Engineering Month
Humorists are Artists Month
International Ideas Month
International Listening Awareness Month
International Mirth Month
Irish-American Heritage Month
Malignant Hyperthermia Awareness and Training Month
Music in our Schools Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month
National Clean Up Your IRS Act Month
National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
National Craft Month
National Eye Donor Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Kidney Month
National Multiple Sclerosis Education and Awareness Month
National Noodle Month
National Nutrition Month
National Peanut Month
National Social Work Month
National Umbrella Month
National Women's History Month
Optimism Month
Play-the-Recorder Month
Poison Prevention Awareness Month
Red Cross Month
Save Your Vision Month
Sing with Your Child Month
Workplace Eye Wellness Month
Youth Art Month

1-7 National Cheerleading Week
1-7 National Write a Letter of Appreciation Week
3-9 Celebrate Your Name Week
3-9 National Procrastination Week
3-10 National Sleep Awareness Week
2-9 Professional Pet Sitters Week
3-9 Read an E-book Week
3-9 Return the Borrowed Books Week
3-9 Save Your Vision Week
3-9 Telecommuter Appreciation Week
4-8 National School Breakfast Week
10-16 Teen Tech Week
11-17 Brain Awareness Week
17-23 National Animal Poison Prevention Week
17-23 National Poison Prevention Week
17-23 Root Canal Awareness Week
18-24 Act Happy Week
18-24 National Wildlife Week
18-24 Wellderly Week
18-24 World Folk Tales and Fables Week
24-30 National Protocol Officers Week
25-29 Termite Awareness Week

1 Dress in Blue Day
1 National Horse Protection Day
1 National Pig Day
1 Plan a Solo Vacation Day
1 World Compliment Day
1 World Day of Prayer
2 Read Across America Day
3 Namesake Day
3 National Anthem Day
3 What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day
4 Courageous Follower Day
4 Fun Facts About Names Day
4 National Grammar Day
5 Peace Corps Day
5 Unique Names Day
6 Discover What Your Name Means Day
7 Nametag Day
7 National Agriculture Day
7 National Be Heard Day
8 Girls Write Now Day
8 International Working Women's Day
8 Middle Name Pride Day
8 National Proofreading Day
8 Day for Women's Rights and International Peace
9 Genealogy Day
9 International Fanny Pack Day
9 Panic Day
10 Check Your Batteries Day
10 Daylight Saving Time Begins
10 Mario Day
11 Dream 2013 Day
11 Fill Our Staplers Day
12 Organize Your Home Office Day
13 Good Samaritan Involvement Day
13 National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day
13 Registered Dietitian Day
14 Pi Day
14 World Kidney Day
15 Freedom of Information Day
15 True Confessions Day
15 Curlew Day
16 Lips Appreciation Day
16 National Quilting Day
17 St. Patrick's Day
18 Awkward Moments Day
18 Forgive Mom and Dad Day
18 National Biodiesel Day
20 Great American Meatout
20 Kiss Your Fiancé Day
20 Proposal Day
20 First Day of Spring
20 Won't You Be My Neighbor Day
21 Absolutely Incredible Kid Day
21 Companies That Care Day
21 Memory Day
21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
22 As Young as You Feel Day
22 Education and Sharing Day
22 International Goof-Off Day
22 World Day for Water
23 National Puppy Day
23 World Meteorological Day
24 World Tuberculosis Day
25 National Medal of Honor Day
25 Tolkien Reading Day
26 American Diabetes Association Alert Day
26 Legal Assistants Day
26 Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
29 National Day of Unplugging
29 National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
30 Doctors Day
31 Easter Sunday

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) 2013 Park Slope Communication & Learning Center • All rights reserved.