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raising a reader

Raising A Reader

Are you looking for ways to encourage a love of reading in your child?  Starting at an early age is important, but it is never too late to get your child more interested in books.  Here are a few tips to get your child to love books and to raise a reader.

Tips to Raise a Reader: raising a reader

  1. Make reading together a daily habit. Set aside time every day where you and your child read together.  Your child will look forward to this time spent together with mom or dad’s undivided attention and the opportunity to share a special story.  As they get older, you can still do this but have your child select a book to read on their own and then talk to them about what they read.
  2. Be a model. Have your child see you reading books of your own. Children who see their parents reading are more likely to be interested in reading themselves.  So grab a book and teach them by doing!
  3. Make regular trips to the library. Get your child excited about books with a trip to the library.  Seeing all of the different choices available to them and colorful cover pages will have them reaching for multiple books.  Since there is a time limit on checking out books, they will be motivated to read each one and then exchange for new titles.
  4. Designate a reading area in the home that is free from other distractions. Make a comfortable spot that is used for reading and does not compete with other activities.  If we create spaces that are associated with specific tasks, we are more likely to continue to engage in them.
  5. Put their accomplishments in a visual format. Create a reading graph of all the books that a child reads.  Children love to see their accomplishments and making a reading graph is something to be proud of!

Click here to read Books By The Ages: Reading Fun For All.

NSPT offers reading and tutoring services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Book Review: Sensory Integration And The Child

At their last check-up, you mentioned to the pediatrician that your child is having some difficulty focusing and paying attention at school. They seem clumsy and are constantly falling and bumping into their friends on the playground. At home, simple day to day activities such as taking a bath, arts and crafts play, and mealtimes are becoming more and more of a struggle. You are wondering if there may be some physiological explanation as to why your child seems to have such a hard time completing activities in the same way as their friends or siblings. Carefully, your pediatrician listens to your concerns and starts to talk about “Sensory Processing Disorder.”

Your mind starts racing. What does this mean for your child and their future? What can you do to help your child move past this label and be as successful and happy as you know they can be? Parents bring their children to occupational therapy each week with different levels of understanding and different questions about the neurological disorder that inhibits the efficient processing of sensory information. One resource that many have found extremely valuable and that I recommend is Sensory Integration & the Child- 25th Anniversary Edition by Jean Ayres.

In simple and easy to understand language Ayres outlines what a sensory processing disorder may look like in your child’s body and brain. A simple analogy comparing sensory processing to street traffic helps parents, professionals and children put a mental picture around a term that may otherwise seem vague or confusing. Once Ayres explains what a sensory processing disorder is, she details each of the 5 most widely known extrinsic sensory tracts (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste). Ayres also details two other hidden and less commonly understood intrinsic tracts involving the proprioceptive and vestibular senses. Next, she delves into explanations as to how these tracts interrelate in order to allow a child to experience, integrate and react to their environment. The book is jam packed with valuable information as well as tips and tricks that parents can put to immediate use in understanding sensory processing disorders and in helping their child to overcome any sorts of sensory related challenges they may be facing.

The diagnosis of Sensory Processing Disorder may be scary and daunting at first. It is important for parents and children to remember that they are not alone. Difficulty processing sensory information is extremely common and affects each individual differently. Reading through Jean Ayres book Sensory Integration & the Child- 25th Anniversary Edition or consulting with an occupational therapist are great places to start to get more information.




Terrific Toys for Speech and Language Development

Below is our list of the top 10 toys for promoting speech and language development in preschoolers. Parents can help their preschoolers through play by describing and labeling items (e.g., “the brown horse”), modeling (e.g., “my turn”), expanding utterances (e.g., “oh, you want MORE blocks?”), and asking questions during play (e.g., “do you want the red truck or the blue truck?).

Toy

Function

Animals/farm
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., animal names, animal sounds)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want the dog”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., “the cat is UNDER the tree”)
  • Following directions (e.g., “put the cow next to the pig”)
  • Functional play
Balls
  • Turn taking (e.g., “my turn, your turn”)
  • Requesting (e.g., “can I have the ball?”)
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., throw, roll, bounce, kick, catch, toss, pass)
Blocks
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., “up,” “fall down,”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., on top, next to)
  • Turn taking
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want more blocks”)
Books
  • Asking/answering “wh”-questions (e.g., “what did brown bear see?”)
  • Vocabulary building (labeling items)
  • Requesting (e.g., “turn the page”)
  • Sequencing
Bubbles
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want bubbles,” “more bubbles”)
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., “pop bubbles,” “blow bubbles”)
  • Oral motor development
Cars/trucks/trains/bus
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., labeling toy items, increased use of verbs, fast/slow concepts, environmental sounds)
  • Requesting (e.g., “more cars”)
  • Turn taking (e.g., “my truck”)
  • Location concepts (e.g., “car is ON the track”)
Mr. Potato Head/doll
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., body part labeling, labeling clothes, learning colors)
  • Requesting (e.g., “can I have the hat?” or “I need help”)
  • Functional play
“Pop up Pal” (cause/effect toys)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I need help”)
  • Learning if this happens, then that happens (e.g., “press the button, to open the door”)
  • Direction following
Play food
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., naming food items, colors)
  • Requesting (e.g., “I want more”)
  • Direction following (e.g., “put the banana on the blue plate”)
  • Functional play
Puzzles
  • Requesting (e.g., “more,” “help please”) to earn more pieces
  • Vocabulary building (e.g., shapes, letters, animal names) depending on puzzle
  • Functional play

Read here for helpful apps for speech and language development.

Engaging Your Newborn Baby: 5 Simple Tips for Interacting with Your Baby

As a new parent, chances are that you have spent countless hours just gazing into your newborn’s eyes. However, between nonstop feedings, washing copious amounts of laundry, all of those diaper changes , and trying to sneak in a nap, some new parents may feel left in the dark when it comes to play time.  As your baby starts to become more interactive daily, you may quietly think to yourself, “Well, now what?”.

mom and infant playing

Here are some simple activities you can do with your baby throughout the day to help lay the appropriate foundation for language development:

Never underestimate the power of a smile

Babies love to look at faces. Even at an early age, they are able to be easily engaged and will focus on exaggerated facial expressions for a brief period of time. Therefore, take moments throughout the day to block off some face-to-face time. You will be amazed at how attentive your baby is during these times, and you will see him/her start to attempt to imitate the facial movements you make (especially with your tongue). They’ll get a kick out of seeing you smile, and how can you resist staring back at that adorable little toothless grin?

Turn bath time into play time

Bath time provides many opportunities for sensory exploration, so help maximize this time as much as you can by offering various textures of objects (washcloth, bubbles, water toys etc.) that contain different sensory properties. Talk about how the items look and feel, and even sing to your child during this time as well. Your baby will be calmed by the warmth of the water and soothed by the sound of your voice. Also, try to time bath time immediately before putting your child to bed in order to establish a nighttime routine.

Introduce books

You will help to facilitate a lifelong love of reading and literature when you introduce books at an early age. Provide your child with plenty of soft books and board books, which contain many bright and colorful pictures. Touch and feel books are perfect for this age, as they allow your child to be more interactive as well. Also, keep the books brief, as your little one is not exactly ready for a novel anyway. Short and simple books containing repetition are perfect for infants.

The importance of exercise

Any PT will tell you about the importance of tummy time, so help make this activity more fun and interactive for your child by providing various toys and objects for them to interact with. Try placing a child-friendly mirror directly in front of them, as your baby will love looking that the “other” baby staring back. Also, help encourage babies to follow your voice by moving to either side of them. Even at a young age, children are able to identify their parent’s voices, so by simply changing your position in relation to your baby, you will be enhancing this skill. You can also play simple games, such as peek-a-boo when facing your child, in order to keep them engaged.

Talk, talk, talk

Talk to your child throughout the day, especially when completing familiar activities such as washing the dishes, doing the laundry, and cooking dinner. Doing so will help to expose your child to the language associated with these activities. Though the “conversations” with your baby will seem very one-sided at first, over time you will notice that your baby will attempt to chime in when you are speaking. You will be able to quickly observe the give-and-take, as your child will quiet when you begin talking, then “comment” after you speak.

As a new parent, it can be completely overwhelming trying to juggle all of your responsibilities, so just remember to breathe! Don’t feel as though you have to do everything right off the bat. As you and your baby settle into a routine, you will notice that you are able to find some extra time to sneak in these activities.  By introducing just a couple of these ideas throughout the day, you will quickly notice that your child becomes more engaged during these times and will start to anticipate the activities as well.  Congratulations and welcome to the exciting world of parenthood!

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Up Up and Move Away with Kids!

Moving is already a stressful process without adding children into the equation.family moving day

Here is a list of life-saving tips that may help to ease both you and your children throughout the transition!

  • Before the move, start preparing the children by showing them books about moving to a new home. Show them pictures of the new city, the schools, the playground, the pool, etc. You should also discuss any feelings that the children may have regarding the move.
  • The day before the move, make sure the children have enough sleep.  Tired children will make the moving experience much more difficult for the entire family.
  • During the day of the move, have a backpack ready for each child that includes music, books, activities and additional batteries to keep them busy throughout the day.  Remember to pack snacks as well as the day will become quite busy. Hungry kids =cranky kids
  • Take a log of pictures of the entire experience, from packing and moving days to the first few weeks og living in the new house.  Make the experience very exciting!
  • Once you arrive at your new home, remember the needs of your children. You are bound to encounter issues that will most likely exhaust you. Consider hiring a babysitter for the first few days of the transition. An extra adult to have around will be able to give your children the attention they need while you are packing and unpacking.
  • Plan to take a day off from everything once you are finished with the move. This will allow the family to reconnect and recharge.

If your child is in therapy, ask your therapists for home program information so that you may continue the therapy on a daily basis.

Enjoy your new home!

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Best Books For Beginning Readers | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, an academic specialist introduces us to some of the best choices of books for children who are beginning to read.

To determine if your child is prepared to read, watch our previous Webisode

In this video you will learn:

  • What types of books are best to help children begin to read

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello. You are watching Pediatric Therapy TV, and I’m your host
Robyn, Ackerman. Today I’m sitting here with an academic specialist,
Elizabeth Galin. Elizabeth, can you tell us some great beginning reading
books?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. One of the best beginning reading books is the Bob
series. These are books that come in a package of ten, and they range from
pre-readers all the way up through second grade, working on different
sounds and they become more advanced as you move through.

My second choice is the We Both Read series, and the We Both Read series
has a page for parents to read, and then a page for the children to read.
So the child’s page has a more simple word or sentence, and the parents’
page allows you to get a more detailed story. It’s a really fun family
read.

The Flippa Word series is great as well. They work on three different word
families throughout the book, really bright pictures that allow the
children to address the different sounds. Just a really fun author for kids
of all ages is Mo Willems. He has the Piggie and Elephant series, and he
also has Pigeons on the Bus, great family reads.

Lastly is High Fly Guy for older kids. These books address some of the
needs of early readers, but they also arrange it into chapters, so older
kids feel like they’re really making some progress.

Robyn: All right, well thank you so much, Elizabeth, for bringing these,
and thank you to our viewers for watching. Remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Books to Encourage Speech in a 1 Year Old | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a Pediatric Speech Pathologist introduces us to the best type of books to help encourage speech in a 1 year old.

For more on your baby’s speech read these blogs: “Speech Milestones from birth-1yr”  and “Encouraging Speech and Language Development in Infants and Toddlers” 

In this video you will learn:

  • What types of books are best for a one year old
  • How can the books help a baby’s speech and language
  • What content the books should contain

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. I’m sitting here today with a Pediatric Speech and Language
Pathologist, Megan Grant. Megan, can you show us some books that help
encourage speech in a child who is a year old?

Megan: Sure. Being a parent, it can be completely overwhelming walking into
the children’s section of a library or a book store. These are two great
tips when searching for books for your little one. First and foremost, you
want to make sure the size is appropriate. They should be smaller in size
that is perfect for little hands to hold. And also make sure that they are
board books. Board books are essentially just thicker cardboard books with
heavier pages. Not only are they easier for the kids to turn, but that way
they won’t rip them. And kids this age like to chew on books from time to
time, so you definitely will not destroy the books. So the size is
definitely key.

The second thing to keep in mind is make sure that the books are
interactive. They should have lots of bright, colorful pictures and pages
for the kids to look at. They should be attractive to the kids, and
essentially, too, you want to look for books that have the touch and feel,
so different textures of books, and also lift-the-flap and peek-a-boo books
are perfect for kids this age, as that will keep their interest as well. So
introducing books early on is definitely key, and you’re going to help
instill a lifelong learning of reading for kids, and that’s a wonderful
thing.

Robyn: All right. Well, thank you so much, Megan, and thank you to our
viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

3 Signs your Child is Ready to Read | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, an academic specialist introduces us to the 3 top indications a child is ready to start reading.
Click here to read our blog titled “10 Signs of a Reading Disorder

In this video you will learn:

  • What factors determines the child’s desire to read
  • What is phonemic awareness
  • Signs in the child’s behavior indicating his readiness to read

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and I’m sitting here today with Elizabeth Galin [SP], an academic
specialist. Elizabeth, can you tell us what are three signs to look for
that a child may be ready to read?

Elizabeth: Absolutely. The first sign to look for when your child is ready
to read is motivation. You’re looking for your child looking forward toward
that reading time, sitting down with you, understanding that books open and
close, they turn pages right to left, that the words and the pictures on
the storybook tell us something, tell us the story.

And as children get older, the next thing you’re looking for, the second
thing you’re looking for, is letter recognition. Children begin to
understand the letters of the alphabet, specifically letters in their name
or maybe, letters in a brand that they recognize, Thomas for Thomas the
Tank Engine or stop like a stop sign, and then they begin to associate
sounds with those letters and that’s called phonemic awareness.

The third thing that you’re looking for in a child being able to read is
print awareness. So they begin to realize that letters on the page come
together to form words. Those words form sentences. Those sentences tell us
the story that we’re listening to. And you may find a young child being
interested in imitating writing. They can’t form the letter but they make
pretend letters.

Robyn: All right. Well, thank you so much, Elizabeth. Those are some great
things to look out for, and thank you to our viewers. And remember, keep on
blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Get your Child Ready for 1st Grade

For many children going to 1st grade is a huge milestone.  More hours spent in school, higher expectations for academic, behavior,  social skills, and more peer pressure.Child in First Grade

Here are some tips to parent these kids as “right” as you can before 1st grade:

Academics

  • Prepare your child with some online fun academics, flash cards, or any workbook for 1st grade readiness;  but make it fun!  10 minutes per day is enough! You can even try KUMON math and reading to get them strong in basics for math and reading.  This will also prepare them with homework.
  • Strengthen up any weaknesses your child may have in academics. If they need a little reading help, use the following tips in this blog. If they need some number work, try flashcards, or try a tutor, but even just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in their self esteem about academics.
  • Get your child tested now if you detect any challenges. Don’t wait for the teacher to say something at conferences!  Go get a good neuropsychological exam and you will know what strengths and challenges your child has and have an opportunity to grow them.
  • Use a daily schedule even in first grade for time management and learning appropriate skills.

Behavior

  • Make sure your child knows how to follow rules, understands boundaries, and knows the expectations of first grade children.  This includes raising hands, taking turns, staying quiet and getting involved/participation, etc.
  • Get your child some support if behavior is an issue.  There are social groups, social workers, books, all kinds of tools to help out there!
  • Your child needs to know what YOU expect of him and what your consequences  are at home.
  • Make sure your family gets proper sleep and food daily.

Social skills/Peer Pressure

  • Make play dates for your child and help model proper 1st grade skills.
  • Join a community playgroup/social group at a local clinic, park district or religious organization.
  • If you suspect something is still off about his social skills, get him evaluated and he can practice his skills with the right support.
  • Make sure to keep your child engaged and talkative with you so you can help him through the tough and great times of 1st grade.

Good luck!

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Bond With Your Child Through An Amelia Bedelia Book!

Do you need some time to bond with a child? “Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off” can help! Amelia not only is a great book to read and teach kids that being an Out of Sync Sensory Integration guru of a child can be oh so cool, but this book is a great way to spend quality time baking with your child as well!

Amelia Bedelia  Amelia Bedelia Ingredients

In the book, Amelia bakes a bed cake with pillows and a blanket! This is so exciting! Teachers can use this book to read and bake with the class!

So, now you have taught the child a lesson, bonded, and worked on fine motor skills with the stirring, math skills with the measuring, reading skills (click here tto learn about Orton Gillingham Reading)with the recipe and the book, tolerance for any child, and more! MMM..smells good!

daughter baking

My daughter and I baking the bed cake together!

Daughter with Cake

Finished product with my happy daughter!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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