Archive for August, 2010

About Books…

As the daughter of an award-winning author, I’m a bit biased about the power and importance of good books. Mary Ellen Chase, American educator, teacher, scholar and author said that, “There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.”  I completely agree. Setting my bias aside, research in the areas of psychology, education, speech pathology, neurology and others document the many benefits of early and continued exposure of children to books.

As a speech-language pathologist, I am particularly impressed with how much language children learn from books; both when the children are being read to and when the children read to themselves.  Books enrich the child’s imagination and take them to places far away.  In the process, new vocabulary is introduced and meaningfully used in engaging contexts that solidify the words into the child’s vocabulary database.

Through reading, the grammatical structure of language is presented to the child.  Many books for young children have repetitive phrases that allow for practiced rehearsal of phrases that would otherwise be too long or complex for the younger child.  For example, in Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, the repetitive phrase, “What do you see?” on each page combined with the animal names provides multiple opportunities for the child to hear and repeat that same phrase, with just the slight variation of the different animals.

The act of reading to your child improves your child’s sense of self by increasing their sense of security and belonging to the family unit.  Children snuggled in laps or cuddled up next to their parents or other loving adult is an unbeatable bonding time.  It allows them to travel together to places far and wonderful.  These are magical moments, full of love and tenderness when adult and child together become absorbed in a story through the power of words.

There are so many wonderful books in print, that it can be daunting to select some for your child.  In general, first books that are interactive and/or multisensory with large, simple pictures are best for the very young child.  These include books with different textures on the page, flaps that open or have moveable elements.  For toddlers and young preschoolers, select books with simple, repetitive text. They enjoy plots that move quickly and are about everyday life and events.  Select stories that will encourage your child to ask questions or that involve interesting concepts, rhyming, numbers, shapes and colors. Children in the early elementary grades will enjoy stories that are goofy or that take them to magical places.  At this age, they enjoy reading books themselves that you read to them when they were younger and they love having simple chapter books read to them.  By the time your child is in the older elementary and middle school grades, they will enjoy books about their own special interests such as horses, baseball or other special interest.  They also like to read about kids going growing up and experiencing challenges similar to their own.  Let your child browse the library; he or she will surely find many books that appeal to them!

My list of favorite books would fill a book of it’s own but I pared it down to a few and added some favorites from my staff and colleagues. Below is that promised list of favorites organized by age…let me know what your favorites are and tell me about the favorites of your children.  It’s terrific hearing from you!

Toddlers:

  • Jump Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan
  • Zoom City by Thacher Hurd
  • Toot Toot Beep Beep by Emma Garcia
  • Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton
  • The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  • Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • Have You Seen My Duckling? by Nancy Tafuri
  • Push Pull Empty Full by Tanya Hoban
  • Pat The Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

Preschoolers:

  • Grumpy Bird & Boo Hoo Bird by Jeremy Tankard
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Me on the Map by Joan Sweeny
  • The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norman Juster
  • Monkey and Me by Emily Gravet
  • Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae
  • Good dog Carl and Carl Goes Shopping by Alexandra Day
  • The Rain Came Down by David Shannon
  • Bumblebee, Bumblebee, do You know Me? by Anne Rockwel

Early Elementary Ages:

  • Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
  • Big Pig on a Dig, Sam Sheep Can’t Sleep, Shark in the Park & other Usborne Phonics Readers
  • William’s Doll by Charlotte Zolotow
  • And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  • Heckedy Peg by Audrey and Don Wood
  • Poop by Nicola Davies
  • The Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse by Ursula Moray Willliams

Later Elementary & Middle School Ages:

  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  • A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • Holes by Louise Sachar
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Time Trilogy: A Swiftly Tilting Planet, A Wind in the Door and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Julie of the Wolves and Julie’s Wolfpack by Jean Craighead George
  • Arana’s Visitor: Book 1 of the Vadelah Chronicles and Vashua’s Messenger: Book 2 of the Vadelah Chronicles by Julie Rollins

Posted by on August 15th, 2010 No Comments

 

Welcome to the CLASS, Inc. Blog!!!!!

I am thrilled to have yet another avenue to connect with all of you – parents, caregivers and others interested in the speech, language, play and social development of children.

The best place to begin figuring out how to support a child with communication challenges is to understand typical development. So, in the words of nanny extraordinaire Maria, of the Von Trapp family, “Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start….”

We will first start with a look at the development of speech sounds. During the first month on life, babies make what we refer to as “reflexive vocalizations”.  These are cries, burps, coughs, hiccups, and sneezes. By two months, babies are “cooing” and “gooing”, which are noises composed of sounds similar to /k/ and /g/ combined with a vowel.  Between three and six months, the babies’ use of their speech mechanisms has expanded and they start engaging in “vocal play”.  This sounds like squeals, laughter, yelling, growling and “raspberries”. Most sounds are vowels combined with consonants made with the lips such as /b,p,m/ and trills made with their tongues.  These sounds vary from day to day but sound more and more like what we know as “babbling”.  At around seven to nine months, this babbling begins to sound more speech like.  This is where we start to hear babies saying, “mama” and “dada”, etc. with more consonants being included.  By 10-12 months, babies are off and running with their speech; their sound productions now actually have the intonation and rhythm of speech and it truly sounds like they are talking!  To me, this is just the most amazing progression and I never tire of listening to babies as they move through these developmental stages.

The chart below* shows developmental timelines of typical speech sound development.  It is important to keep in mind that even “typically developing” children fall outside of these norms, so please speak with a professional if you have any questions or concerns about your child’s individual speech sound development.  At CLASS, Inc. we offer free consultations.  Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (253) 874-9300 or email me at paulaherrington@classinc.net – we enjoy hearing from parents and meeting your children!

birth 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years 6 years 7 years 8 years
Cooing & gooing p,m,h,w,b
Cooing & gooing p,m,h,w,b
n
n
k
k
g
g
d
d
t
t
ing
ing
f
f
y
y
r
r
l
l
blends (st, pl, gr, etc.)
blends (st, pl, gr, etc.)
s
s
sh, ch
sh, ch
z
z
j
j
V
V
th (thumb)
th (thumb)
th (that)
th (that)
zh (measure)
zh (measure)

Posted by on August 14th, 2010 No Comments