Books for Specific Sound Productions

A fun and easy way for your child to practice his articulation is through books! You may have your child practice his articulation sounds by reading aloud a word, phrase, or sentence from a story. If your child is advanced enough, he may even read the entire story to you! Make sure to provide a verbal model for your child if you hear any distortions, substitutions, or omissions of sounds when he is reading. If your child is too young to read, then you may read the book to him. During this activity, have your child repeat target words, phrases, or sentences that contain their sounds.

The following is a list of books that are categorized by sounds: 

B:
A Bug, a Bear, and a Boy by David McPhail
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
The Wheels on the Bus by Paul D. Zelinsky

R:
The Pirate Who Couldn’t Say Arrr! By Angie Neal
Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

P:
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E. Shaw

M:
If You Give a Moose a Muffin by Laura Joffe Numeroff
Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow Read more

Signs of Reading Disability Across Grades

Reading Disability (also known as “Dyslexia”) is a disorder of phonology at its base.  It affects reading, writing, and sometimes other skills such as memorization of math facts and language expression.  We know that Reading Disability is persistent but also highly responsive to the right interventions.  Taken in part from the book Overcoming Dyslexia, written by Sally Shaywitz, M.D., I have put together the following list of common signs across grade levels that a child may be struggling with reading.  The presence of one, or even many of these clues, does not by itself warrant alarm of a problem.  However, if you suspect your child is struggling with reading, please seek an evaluation to determine the nature of the difficulties and to make sure that your child is given a fair chance in reading. Read more

Rhyme Time: 10 Books to Teach your Child Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness refers to an understanding of the sounds of language, specifically in reference to distinguishing subtle differences between sounds. Examples of phonological awareness tasks include detecting rhyme and alliteration, deleting sounds (e.g. “say “bat” without the “t”), and identifying sounds in words (e.g. “what’s the first sound you hear in bat?”). Phonological awareness skills develop sequentially during the preschool years and play a vital role in enabling your child to learn to read. In fact, children who struggle with phonological awareness are at risk for challenges with reading and spelling in school.

One of the first phonological awareness skills to develop is detecting and generating rhyming words, which usually emerges in children between the ages of 3 to 4 years. Using children’s books are a great way to expose your child to rhyming patterns. When reading with your child, discuss rhyming patterns by saying something like, “Hat and bat-they rhyme because they sound the same at the end.” Here are 10 top picks for books to encourage phonological awareness. Read more

Our 10 Favorite Speech and Language Apps for Kids

Apps can be a great way for kids to practice a variety of skills.  Read on for information on our top 10 choices for speech and language apps for children!

App Name

Focus

Age Group

Description

Purchase/Download Info

Peek-a-Boo Barn Lite
  • Spatial concepts (in, on, under, next to)
  • Animal sounds
  • Vocabulary (animals names, open/shut, barn)
  • Turn-taking
  • WH questions (what, where)
0-3 Listen to animal noises, then push barn doors to reveal the farm animal inside. Available in 10 languages. Free on iTunes for iPhone/iPad (full version, $1.99). $2.99 on Android

 

Toca Boca Kitchen Monsters
  • Verbs
  • Labeling (foods)
  • Language expansion (practice 2+ word phrases)
  • WH questions
  • Following directions
  • Environmental sounds
2-6 Choose and prepare various foods before feeding them to a Toca monster. Free on iTunes for iPhone/iPad
TallyTots
  • Verbs
  • Two-word combinations
  • Counting
  • Concepts (i.e. matching, size (big/little, on/off)
  • Following directions
2-6 Involves counting 1-20. Each number coordinates with an activity that illustrates language concepts $2.99 on iTunes for iPhone/iPad and  KindleFire/Android
Speech Tutor
  • Articulation
  • Visual cues (what mouth, lips, tongue, etc. are doing) for production
  • Tips for producing the sound
  • Other information about a selected sound
All Ages Watch a virtual mouth as it produces selected sounds. This application also provides tips for producing the sound and age for when we expect mastery of each sound. Free on iTunes for iPhone/iPad
My PlayHome Lite
  • Vocabulary (around the house)
  • Actions
  • Pronouns
  • Following directions
2-6 Manipulate people and things inside an interactive home (i.e. make Mom drink water, put Dad behind the couch, make the boy jump on a chair). Free on iTunes for iPad (full version, $3.99). $2.99 on Android
Articulation Station
  • Articulation
  • Matching
  • Labeling
All ages Speech sounds in words, sentences and stories in all positions of words (i.e. initial, medial and final). Choose from flashcards or matching games. Easy to keep track of accuracy and progress. Free to download on iTunes for iPhone/iPad (additional sounds $2.99 each).
iSequence
  • Sequencing
  • Expressive language (grammar, syntax)
  • Vocabulary
5-7 Put 3-4 picture sequences in the correct order. Includes 100 sequences. $2.99 on iTunes for iPhone/iPad
Blue Whale- NACD
  • Apraxia and articulation (CVC productions only)
1+ Imitate consonant-vowel-consonant (“CVC”) productions. 8 levels of complexity included. $4.99 on iTunes for iPad. Also available for $4.99 for Kindle, Android tablets and Nook.
Describe It to Me
  • Word-finding
  • Categories
  • Salient features
  • Object function
  • Parts
  • Location
5+ Complements EET program (Expanding Expression Tool). App can be used both expressively (e.g. to generate ideas), or receptively (e.g.  correctly select or point to various objects’ categories, function, parts). Customize  vocabulary given child’s needs, as well as skills targeted (categories, parts, etc). $9.99 on iTunes for iPad (free sample on iTunes).
Full Social Skills Builder
  • Understanding emotions
  • Perspective taking
  • Identifying appropriate responses (making comments, asking for information)
5-12 Videos are organized according to age group (school age, adolescent). Watch videos in different environments (school, community). Child answers 3-5 multiple choice questions following video. $14.99 on iTunes for iPhone/iPad (free sample on iTunes).

Click Here to View our Speech and Language Infographic!

*Co-written by Caitlin Brady

4 Back-to-School Resolutions to Promote Speech and Language Skills

With a new school year starting, now is the perfect time to promote and encourage your child’s speech and language skills! Here are some helpful tips in order to set your child up for the greatest success this school year.

4 Back-to-School Speech and Language Resolutions:

  1. Easy Voice: Avoid using a harsh voice, yelling, and shouting.  This can help both parents and children maintain a healthy vocal quality. Modeling your own “easy voice” can encourage your child to keep his voice healthy too!
  2. Build Vocabulary: Targeting and explaining new “back-to-school” words can help to improve your child’s vocabulary. Increased exposure to novel words will reinforce these additions to your child’s vocabulary and will encourage usage.
  3. Read Aloud: Reading aloud to your child is extremely beneficial for language development. When reading stories, emphasizing and reinforcing new words will enhance vocabulary skills, and asking questions while reading encourages understanding. If age appropriate, ask your child to retell the story!
  4. Ask Questions: Talk with your child about the events of his day. Learn what activities occurred in the classroom, in the lunchroom, and at recess. Monitor for sentence structure and grammar, and emphasize accurate productions. For example, if your child says, “I goed to art,” respond with, “You went to art? How was it?” Read more

Articulation Disorders vs. Phonological Processing Disorders

Articulation Disorder. Phonological Process. What’s the difference between these two terms, and why is it important to understand how they are different?articulation disorder v phonological processing isorder

Articulation Disorder:

An Articulation Disorder involves difficulties producing sounds. Sounds may be substituted, omitted, added or deleted in an articulation disorder. For example, a child who says “dut” for “duck” is substituting the sound “t” for the sound “k.”

An articulation disorder can make it difficult for a child to be understood by others and can impact social interactions, school participation and academics (i.e. reading, writing, phonological awareness skills). Many children make speech errors, so it’s important to consider the age range during which children develop each sound when determining if sound substitutions are age-appropriate. The child may have an articulation disorder if these errors continue past the expected age of mastery. Click here to see our blog on typical speech sound development for more information. Read more

Developmental Milestones | Concepts

Children’s first words are generally composed of nouns: the people and things in their lives.  Children start to understand and use verbs more frequently as their vocabularies build.  They then begin to use modifiers and adjectives.  Concepts are among these early modifiers and adjectives.  Children acquire these concepts at different stages in their development.  Read on for conceptual milestones for children ages 1 through 6.

Conceptual milestones for children ages 1 through 6:

Ages 1-2

  • Follows simple commands using spatial terms in or on
  • Uses a few spatial terms such as in or on
  • Uses simple directional terms such as up or down

Ages 2-3

  • Understands number concepts such as 1 or 2
  • Understanding of spatial terms become mastered with in, on, off, under, out
  • Begins to understand same/different
  • Time concepts begin to emerge, specifically with soon, later, wait
  • Begins to use color and size vocabulary

Ages 3-4

  • Advances spatial terms to understanding next to, besides, between
  • Uses spatial terms behind, in front, around
  • Begins to follow quantity directions such as a lot and empty
  • Identifies colors
  • Identifies what is different Read more

10 Easy Strategies to Boost Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

Reading is a critical skill for academic success.  Reading allows us to learn from texts and articles, gives us directions on homework assignments and class projects, and opens the world of books.  But what if your child is falling behind?  It might feel discouraging to learn that your child is struggling with reading comprehension.  Not only do you want your child to succeed, but you also want your child to enjoy reading.  There are many things parents can do to help.

10 practical strategies to improve your child’s reading comprehension:

  1. Ask “check-in” questions as your child reads.  Who is in the story so far?  What is the pig’s house made of?
  2. Encourage your child to monitor her own comprehension while she reads.  Do you understand the last sentence?  What’s happened in the story so far?
  3. Have your child reread challenging sentences.  Talk about the meaning.
  4. Encourage your child to restate challenging sentences in her own words.
  5. Help your child build the story as she reads.  Graphic organizers are great tools to use.  For example, make a “character wheel” by writing important traits about a particular character on each spoke.  Or fill in a worksheet that identifies the story’s main events, problem and solution.
  6. Have your child make predictions about the story as she is reading.  What do you think this story will be about?  What do you think will happen next?
  7. Encourage your child to write down challenging vocabulary words.  Have your child make flashcards of each word by drawing a picture of the word and writing the definition in her own words.  Practice using the new vocabulary words throughout the week.
  8. Encourage your child to summarize the story in her own words.  If this is hard, have her use her graphic organizer to recall specific events or details.
  9. Ask your child to identify the “main idea” of the story.  What is the story about?  Why do you think the author wrote it?  If you could give the story a new title, what would it be and why?
  10. Gradually encourage your child to use these strategies on her own.  As your child is more successful, take a step back.  If they have difficulty, help her decide what she can do to better understand the story.

Finally, make reading fun!  Choose material that is interesting to your child.  Keep in mind that reading is not limited to only books.  You might read a movie review from a film your child recently saw, or a recipe your child is excited to try.  Take your child to the bookstore and encourage her to choose a fun book to read before bed.  If you’re unsure what reading level is appropriate, ask your child’s teacher for the latest recommended books for your child’s age.

For more reading help, contact our Blossom Reading Center.

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Is My Child Ready for Preschool?

If your child is approaching the preschool years, you may start to wonder if she is ready to begin a preschool program. Many thoughts and concerns may be circling through your mind when contemplating this idea. Rest assured that these concerns are normal. Answer the following questions to help you determine whether your young child is ready for a preschool program.

Questions to Determine Preschool Readiness for Your Child:

  • Is she toilet trained? It is important to consider toilet training when thinking about your child’s readiness to start preschool. Being toilet trained can make the transition to preschool easier and less stressful. Most children in preschool classes are toilet trained and will not be in diapers. This may cause some stress for a child who has not met this milestone. It’s also critical to know that there are some schools with toilet training requirements, so make sure that you have read the information on this topic if you are considering preschool. Read more

Build Your Child’s Vocabulary Through Salient Features

salient featuresLabeling an item and expecting your child to remember the word is not as easy as 1, 2, 3.  In order to map new words into your child’s lexicon (i.e., his/her word dictionary), particularly if he or she has a language disorder, teaching salient features is essential for word understanding, use, and retrieval.  The following are key salient features when teaching new vocabulary, maintaining previously learned words, and expanding vocabulary.

Key Salient Features:

  • Category: Including the category into which a word belongs helps organize the word into a group.  This then facilitates further thought about words that are related to the target vocabulary word. For example, a pencil belongs to school supplies.  What else belongs to school supplies?
  • Place Item is Found: Identifying a location where a word may be found allows your child to visualize the target word.  For example, a pencil can be found in a pencil cup or in a drawer at home and in a desk or backpack at school.  Avoid non-specific locations such as the store or at school, as many items are found there.
  • Function:  Talk about the purpose of the item.  For example, a pencil is used for writing.   Identifying this feature allows a child to connect a noun to an action. Read more