Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Read with Me! The Book List

I am so excited! It is going to be a great 9 weeks. Actually, it's 7 full weeks and 2 partial weeks, but I digress!  I have chosen 24 main books (these are the books that I will use towards my FREE book). The books are appropriate for children aged 2 to 5 years. Some are for 2 to 4 year olds, others 3 to 5 year olds; but overall any child will enjoy these books and the activities! Activities? Yes!

I don't alway come up with an activity for every book we read, but for a special book or special occasion, I like my books and activities to complement each other. My plan is to have books grouped by a basic theme with bonus books and a weekend activity.

Here is the plan:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Stop and Talk About It

We have been listening to a great CD filled with dinosaur songs called Most Amazing Dinosaur Songs by Music for Little People. The songs are fun and engaging, set to the tunes of familiar songs like Old McDonald Had a Farm and My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean. However, there are so many words that are beyond the vocabulary level of my 2 1/2 year old. But I am not going to let that stop us from enjoying it together! This reminded me of how important it is to pause the music and talk about what you are hearing. As adults we tend to just sing along or transfer the music to the back speakers so that we don't have to listen to the songs again! But our little ones are hearing some of these words for the first time.

Songs usually provide good context to figure out what the meaning of the word is and this is a good skill for down the road (context clues are something most kids learn to understand and use in school) but what about our little ones, our preschoolers? They don't have the refined skill of using the content in the song to figure out what unfamiliar words mean. That is where we come in! When we hear a word that we think, "hmm, I don't know if she knows that word" PAUSE the CD! Ask what the word means. If they tell you, un-pause the song and keep enjoying it. If they tell you the wrong answer or say (the famous) "I don't know" you can use the opportunity to talk about the word, bring up other places where they may have heard the word and use the word in a new sentence.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thanks FBCOviedo MOPS moms!

I just wanted to give a big thanks to the MOPS moms that I spoke with today. I appreciated your questions and the opportunity to talk about some of the areas of communication that I love, like using sign language with infants and toddlers as well as when speech sounds are developed. Feel free to contact me if you need any more information or have any other questions. Don't forget to sign up to follow me by email...that way when I post new information, you'll get it right away!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Read with me! Earn a FREE book!

Update: This was a promotion for the Summer of 2012 and is over now. It was lots of fun and the activities that go along with the books are still great language building activities, but we cannot read to ear the free book any longer. Check out the home page of iHeartSpeech.com to see what we are working on now!

I got a newsletter from a local company that offers play opportunities for young kids with the goal of "fostering a sense of community, inspire family togetherness, social interaction, cognitive development and creativity." One of the events that they are offering this summer is called Summer Reading for Little Learners. This program is for children birth to 5 years old. In order to earn the free book what you'll need to do is read 24 books between June 1st and July 23, 2012. Using the provided log, write down the title of the book and the author then turn in the completed log to Amaya Papaya between July 23 and July 27, 2012. About a week later, the book (courtesy of the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County) will be ready to be picked up!

Amaya Papaya is located at 3385 S US 17/92, Casselberry, FL 32707. Check out the info on their site:

I would like to invite you to join me on this mission (I love to get something for free, especially since I will be reading to my daughter anyway!). Starting June 1st I will be posting about the books that we are reading, any activities that we do that go along with that book and our thoughts about the book. I would love to hear what you are reading with your children! Share this experience with me.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4G - activities for the next generation!

After working in the public school system for over 7 and a half years, I learned to take one activity and make it address the goals and needs of multiple children. For example, a simple game of Go Fish can be used to work on asking questions ("Do you have any 2's?"), number recognition ("I have a 4, a 7 and a 3"), social skills related to game play, turn taking and being a good sport, and if I have a list of words that target a child's speech sounds, they can say words based on the number on their card.

I will be presenting simple, fun activities along with a few language and speech goals that you can do with your child. These activities can be modified for the needs of your child. To make them easier for your child (I know that this seems obvious), simplify what you are asking your child to do - give multiple choice options, provide part of the answer or give the answer and have him repeat it. Give him only as much support as needed to answer correctly but is still learning. Slowly reduce how much you are doing for him so that he is doing more and more for himself. If he needs it to be more challenging, increase the language demand in what you are asking. In our Go Fish example above, if he can already name the numbers, have him add simple numbers (or multiply them), make up sentences that contain the number so that he is working on plural nouns (use irregular plural nouns after he does regular plural nouns correctly), or bring in a friend (or sibling) so that social skills are practiced with peers which gives more opportunities to work on conflict resolution!

Each activity set will have 4 types of activities like an arts and crafts project (called Glitter), good vocabulary words to address (called Glossary), or books or other things that I feel would go along with the activity (called Gear). Each activity will have a different set of 4G activities. Check back often to see what is available!

The first 4G I am going to share with you is one of my favorites. I love the Itsy Bitsy Spider! My daughter and I love to sing it. We love to do the actions that go with it. I have given similar activities to families and teachers working with 2 to 5 year olds. It is great for working on early speech sounds (there are 6 opportunities to practice "p", 7 opportunities for "d" and 2 opportunities for "m"). It is also great for language skills! Ok, I know that you are thinking... "let's get to it!" So, here you go:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What is Language?

I think that most people "get" the concept of speech. Their child mispronounces "r" or has a lisp or stutters. But what is language? Stick with me through this definition (or skip to the next paragraph!)... according to one of my college text books language is "any accepted, structured, symbolic system for interpersonal communication composed of sounds arranged in ordered sequence to form words, with rules for combining these words into sequences or strings that express thoughts, intentions, experiences, and feelings ..." blah, blah, blah. Ok, so that is an official definition, but what does it mean?

Basically, language is the information that you share with others. We communicate that information through commonly known and understood words in a commonly understood order. Language is made up of three main parts: grammar (which is also known as syntax), word knowledge like vocabulary and concepts (known as semantics) and the social part of language (known as pragmatics).

Then, language can be divided into expressive and receptive. Expressive language is how we tell or give the information; it can be verbal words, signs and gestures, or written language. Receptive language is our understanding of language. It consists of being able to follow directions, understand grammatical forms (past tense vs. present tense), reading comprehension, and how many vocabulary words we understand. We receive this information visually through other’s gestures or signs, through reading, and by listening to what others say.

Our language is being developed from the day we are born. We learn to share our thoughts and understand others. While language development is far from simple and there are things that you can do to help your child in this process. Next week I will be posting ideas that you can do with your child, from young infants to toddlers to preschoolers to elementary aged children.

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