Tag Archives: reading

Write On, Wednesday: The Symptoms of Resistance

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By Leslie Lindsay Write On, Wednesday:  Creating a World So Believable Your Critique Partners Think You're Having an Affair

I have a serious bout of Resistance. Do you know what I am talking about? Here are the symptoms:

  • I want to work on my novel-in-progress, but I don’t think I can do through the steps of opening up the Word Document.
  • Instead, I look at everything but the novel-in-progress. Publisher’s Lunch surely will have some new book that gets me excited enough to start writing. Oh wait–I’ll just order that new book. Then I’ll drift over to my Facebook Page and add some asinine comment. Oh, but there’s email to respond to! Does that count towards my word count? Let’s summarize this symptom: distration that appears like work.
  • Self-doubt. “I can’t do this. It’s hard. I don’t wanna…hey, maybe I’ll pet the dog for awhile.” That’s self-doubt and distraction. Combo platter.
  • No one will care about my book. I’ll never get an agent. Even if I do, I’ll be that rare case in which the agent can never sell it to a publisher. Years will go by with an unsold manuscript. “Oh wait! Maybe it’s a bestseller! I think it is. Oh God…the pressure!” Symptom: Grandiosity meets self-doubt.
  • Writing  is a big ol waste of time. Why bother with something so self-involved, so cerebral, so isolated when I should be doing something for the greater good of humankind, saving wildlife, or cleaning my house. Or caring for my children. Symptom: Get off your writing butt and save the world.46b3d-bookscolorfulstack
  • Maybe I should just read. Yeah, that’s it. If I read what I want to write, my head will be filled with all sorts of great writing, good metaphors, active verbs. Symptom: Reading will cure it all.

I could go on and on about why I have Resistance. But the fact of the matter is: I have to write. There is a tiny little voice that whispers in my ear, “What about us? The charcters you created…we’re just hanging out in limbo-land.” They nag at me. They want me to do something with them. I can’t simply turn them off and go  my merry way saving the whales or rubbing my basset’s long silky ears. Because when I do, I hear the voices of my charcters, “We need to save the babies…” I hear my critique partner, “This needs clarifying and expansion.” I hear myself, “This is interesting…you need to finish this.”

Okay, okay…I will roll up my sleeves and get to work.

Write on, Wednesday!

Fiction Friday: Better Late than Never

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By Leslie Lindsay1028567918_rd7wi-ti-1.jpg

It’s Friday about one more hour here in the central part of the US and I best get my promised Fiction Friday post out.  If you’re on the West Coast, then I guess I am not so tardy…

This one is something I’ve been working on lately to add a little dark edge to my novel-in-progress.  Let me know your thoughts when you get a second…a star, a comment, a like, a re-post to Twitter or Facebook is always a good way to let me know if you liked it. Enjoy…

 

“I used to imagine it sometimes, what would happen if I just didn’t come home.  The thought always came to me when I was feeling particularly unworthy, lacking confidence, seeking attention.  God, I hated how that sounded; like I was an attention-seeking borderline threatening to run off or take my own life.  I could never do that, not really anyway.  The thought was always more about sharing my pain with others, letting them know just how miserable I felt deep down.  My desire to disappear came forth in the form of generosity.  Let me show you how I feel; Welcome to my personal hell; you should feel lucky.

 

          They were anything but lucky.  My desperation and irritability put a shield around me, making me lonely in busy world. 

          “I wish I could just drive my car off a cliff,” I’d say.  Or, perhaps I met my demise in some other way; the 18-wheeler would come barreling into my tiny Toyota crushing it like a tin can, with me in the driver’s seat.  My short life would flash before my eyes, summer camps and dance recitals, class photos, and crushes. Steve.

          Whatever it was, something terrible would happen and my friends and family—would have to return to my apartment to find all of the daily pieces of my interrupted life.  My dad would see the microbiology text left open on my desk, those tiny colored tabs ruffling the edges of the book.  Remember this.  Memorize that.  My mother would pick up my thong underwear in the corner of the room with her manicured nails and wonder why I spent money on a piece of clothing that covered so little. My roommate would thumb through the mail and set aside the Psychology Today magazine.  There would be to-do notes and lists throughout my bedroom, a brush with hair still entwined in it, Tom Petty stuck in the CD player, framed photos of me and friends, a smattering of greeting cards propped up like dummies. 

          This is how it would look.  A snapshot of my life.  Don’t touch it.  It’s my life.  I would try with all of my might to communicate the message but I would be gone.  Dead, probably.   Because running off wouldn’t be enough.

          Hiding out can only last so long.  Eventually one has to come back, reclaim their old life, or find a new one.  And really, who can reinvent themselves?  We think we can, but when it comes down to it, our personalities are so ingrained, it would be impossible. 

          So being dead would be better. 

          Friends and family—and people I don’t even know would come to my funeral.  They’d wear black and bow their heads and mutter things like she was such a nice person, always smiling…I had no idea…such a tragedy…she held so much promise.  They’d lay flowers on my casket and hug and shed some tears.

          And Steve would be there, too.  His eyes would be glassy and bloodshot, a dark suit, three-days worth of scruff.  He’d lean in and whisper to my parents, “I really loved her, you know?”  They’d nod and pull Steve into a three-way embrace, tears streaming down momma’s face.  Dad would reach up and touch the corner of his eye, but no tears would flow.  After the hug, they’d hold Steve with outstretched arms, resting their hands on his broad shoulders, “You were good for her, son,” they’d say and this time, they’d mean it.  They’d be sorry it was over.  Sorry they never accepted him like I had. 

          Steve would press his lips into a tight line and nod solemnly, his gaze gliding to the open doorway where Beth Donovan sits on a divan in a gray dress and black heels.  She’d twist her face into the doorway of the funeral parlor and there may be tears because she’s my age and she knows that it could have easily have been her who was side-smacked in an accident. How fleeting—and precious life can be.  Perhaps the tears were because she knew she caused my death.”

The Teacher is Talking: Pre-Literacy Skills–Simple, Fun & Easy

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By Leslie Lindsay 

(image source: webclipart.about.com)
Looking for some ways to sneak in early, pre-literacy skills while going about your typical routine.  Well, who isn’t?!  Here are some tips and ideas you can modify to meet  your child’s devolopmental age.  Remember, there are many ways to teach literacy skills, with multiple theories and schools of thought.  Finding one that works for you is a personal decision.  However, the tips that follow are fairly universal.

[Tips from: http://www.enannysource.com/blog/index.php/2013/01/03/pre-reading-skills-nannies-can-work-on-with-kids/

Matching

Matching skills are among the earliest that little ones can master on their path to reading, as it helps them to understand how to connect words with concepts. Matching pictures with spoken sounds, then matching pictures to others that are thematically related, is a key aspect of learning to read. Matching shapes, patterns and letters eventually evolves into the ability to match and recognize the patterns of printed words, phrases and sentences. Using homemade or store-bought flashcards, playing matching games, and working on the concept of matching through explorative play are all effective ways of building that foundation. (image source: http://blog.eeboo.net/tag/eeboo-pre-school-games/)

Rhyming

Working on rhymes and learning about rhyming words helps little ones to develop phenome awareness, which is the understanding of how words sound and are formed. This essential building block of pre-reading skills can be established and developed through rhyming games, listening to rhyming books as they’re read aloud, and singing songs that prominently feature a recognizable rhyme scheme. Researchers at Montreal’s McGill University, including experimental linguist Michael Wagner, claim that their studies suggest that hearing a word spoken will activate rhyming words in the listener’s brain. In fact, a 2004 study shows that young children associate the way that words sound and the fact that they rhyme over the words’ actual meanings.  (image source: zazzle.com)

Letter Recognition

Helping kids to learn the alphabet usually begins with singing the same melody that’s been associated with the ABC’s for generations. After kids have largely mastered the task of reciting the letters of the alphabet, it’s time to start helping them connect the sounds of those letters with their visual representation. Flashcards printed with a single letter are a great way to reinforce this association; once kids have learned the shapes that make up a letter, you can then move on to associating a letter with a familiar image. For instance, “A is for Apple,” et cetera.

Language Skills

While speaking to children in a pleasing tone is most effective, doing so in a high-pitched, babbling sort of “baby talk” actually does more harm than good. The earlier a child is exposed to spoken language, the more easily he will absorb and learn to repeat it. With a strong grasp of language comes an increased ability to master early reading skills, so make sure that you speak with your charges often, and do so in a clear, understandable voice. Even children that have not yet mastered verbal skills on their own will do so more easily if they’re exposed to plenty of spoken language as he reaches late infancy and early toddlerhood.

How to Properly Handle Books 

When toddlers are taught to properly handle a book, making sure that it’s not upside down, they’re already mastering an important pre-reading skill. Turning the pages in sequence, looking at the pictures, and learning to understand that the words printed on the page are what makes up the story, helps them grasp the concept of print and understand that words are read from top to bottom and from left to right. Encouraging your charges to look at their books by holding them the right way and properly turning the pages establishes and reinforces skills he’ll need when he begins early reading in earnest.

Sequencing

Even if your toddler-aged charge can’t read his own bedtime story yet, you can help him to learn a valuable skill along the path to reading by working on the concept of sequencing. Learning that a puppy can’t dry off before he jumps in a puddle or that cookies can’t be eaten until they’re baked reinforces the logic behind sequencing, a fundamental skill. Making sequence cards, practicing predictions of upcoming events in a story, and even working together to help him write a story he dictates to you are all great ways of establishing the ability to recognize and understand sequencing.

Fiction Friday: How Mommy Learned to Write

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By Leslie Lindsay

Fiction Friday:   We love to read at our houseA lot.  In fact, as I sit here at my desk I am surrounded by six books of nearly six different genres.  Not to mention the two book cases directly behind and to my right filled with volumes of more titles. 

Where did this love of reading come from?  Hard to say–but my guess is I learned to enjoy reading from my childhood.  Dad read to me every evening, and mom was always reading something for her own pleasure or education.  And now, as a parent, I do the same thing with my children. 

In fact, just the other evening I read this darling children’s book, Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills. (He has another book, too: How Rocket Learned to Read, also very cute). 

So when my 6 year old curled up onto my lap and said, “Mommy, read me a story,” I pulled the metaphorical blanket of nostalgia around us and reached for Rocket Writes a Story. Product Details

It begins as many tales do–with the positive words and self-confidence of “I can do that!”  You see, Rocket is a dog.  He loves stories.  He loves to read them, that is.  So, he gets this idea that he can write one as well.  (image source: www.Amazon.com 4.5.13)

See where I’m going with this? 

But Rocket doesn’t know how to write a story–heck–he’s barely learned to read!  Follow along as Rocket collects new words for his word tree (“use that nose of yours to sniff out some new words.”), seeks inspiration (“he looked at the blank page, but nothing would come…write what excites you!”) He writes–and rewrites–everyday.  Finally, he shares his masterpiece with his teacher, a little yellow bird. 

Reading this book with my kindergarter at bedtime was like curling up in my own parent’s arms and hearing, “You can do it.  Just write what inspires you.  Look for words.  Do it everyday. When things are going well, you will wag your tail.  When you don’t know what to write, you might growl…and then you may need to walk out into the meadow to look for inspiration.” 

Today, I am not sharing my work in progress.  Instead, it’s all about the elementary aspects of writing…the passion, the desire, the words.   

For more information on Tad Hills, see: http://tadhills.com/

[Disclaimer:  The Rocket books are books owned by my family.  No compensation for this post has been accepted.  The author of this post has no personal or professional connection to Tad Hills or the Rocket books]

Say that Again?! Green Eggs and Ham with a side of Apraxia

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By Leslie LindsayStack of books. (image source: http://www.lacrosselibrary.org/index.asp)

[This post previously ran over the summer.  Here it is again in case you missed it.] 

I don’t know about you, but I love books.  I love kids.  And when one combines the love for children and literature, what often results is the abundance of words. And perhaps the proud moment of announcing, “Hey—she can read!” a year of two ahead of schedule. 

But not if you have a child with apraxia.*

And so we read.  As parents we read parenting books about late-talking children.  We read about speech development and ways to stimulate our child.  We read books to Kate.  Simple board books by Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton that had the happy cadence of alliteration and rhyme.  We pointed out illustrations in the book, “Oh, look-y here…can you see the birdie?  Can you say bird?”  We engaged in dialogic reading with our daughter, “What do think will happen next?”  And nothing. 

Sure, she understood everything we said, even the hard words.  We could tell because she would be able to perform simple directions like, “go get your shoes, we’re going for a walk.”  But still, nothing.  At least not any expressive language.  

Kate was diagnosed with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS), a neurologically- based motor speech disorder in which kids know what they want to say, yet they can’t coordinate the complex movements required to speak intelligibly. She was 2 ½ years old.  What resulted instead was a lot of pointing and gibberish. 

Fast-forward five years, and you will see that Kate has overcome a considerable challenge.  She is now a normally-speaking soon-to-be 2nd grader.  Sure, there were struggles and years of speech therapy. 

Our speech-language pathologist (SLP), mentioned that children with CAS have a particularly difficult time with identifying and composing rhymes.  Why exactly this is, is speculative.  Some say it has to do with the overall motor circulatory of the brain, the “wiring,” if you will; or the abstract arrangement of sounds and letters, perhaps it’s the mind-body connection, or simply being a visual versus auditory learner…in any case, it’s a challenge. 

But just this past week, we pulled out Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham.  My husband handed the shiny orange book to Kate at bedtime,** “Here, you read this one.”  She looked at her daddy with wide eyes, “You can do it,” he coaxed. green-eggs-and-ham (image source: http://www.rainiervalleypost.com/weekend-update-first-friday-swing-dancing-dr-seuss-more/green-eggs-and-ham/)

She sucked in a deep breath and rolled her lips into a tight line, “I am Sam,” she began

My eyes welled with tears.  Her voice a little choppy (prosody is something she will likely always struggle with), a few stumbles here and there, and a long pause about half-way through, I cheered her on in my mind.  Finally, she sighed, “I can’t do it anymore.”  We egged her on (sorry, couldn’t resist), “Yes.  You can do this.”  (We ended up alternating pages.  Reading aloud can be very taxing for children with apraxia). 

And you know what?  She read that whole book. Say, I do like reading and rhyming, Kate-I-am.  (*Commonly known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), or “dyspraxia of speech” in the U.K. and elsewhere.  **In retrospect, it would have been best to have Kate attempt a challenging rhyming book at a time of day when she is likely to be more alert).  

   Cheerleader (image source: http://www.spaghetti-legs.com/servlet/the-74/Zippered-Tote-with-YOUR/Detail)

TRY IT AT HOME:

  • Remember, you are your child’s cheerleader.  Let them know you care and support them, but don’t make it too easy.  Challenging your children to the point of feeling slightly uncomfortable is okay.  It means they are growing (and you are, too)
  • Get yourself to the library.  Ask a children’s librarian for some simple rhyming books.  Even if they seem a little “baby-ish,” read them to and with your child with apraxia.  Practice, practice, practice!  (Some titles to look for, There’s a Closet in My Woset by Dr. Seuss, ‘Twas the Night Before Kindergarten (1st grade edition also available) by Natasha Wing, BOB books).
  • Remember, there is a difference between rhyming books (cat and mat) and  predictable/repetitive books (it’s pretty clear that you know what will happen next; the same phrase pops up every few lines (Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown) and wordless books (there is no text; you and your child create your own story as you study the illustrations; Good Dog, Carl byAlexandra Day) and cause and effect books (If You Give a…. series by Laura Numeroff) All types of books are important to a child with CAS. 
  • Extend your reading activity to make it whole-body experience.  Act it out (as in charades), whip up a batch of green eggs and ham or some chocolate chip cookies.  Have your child draw a picture or make her own “book” related to what you just read. 

SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, 2012) covers many of these ideas in chapters 10 & 11). 

Bio: Leslie Lindsay is former child/adolescent psych R.N. at the Mayo Clinic-Rochester. She is the mother of two school-aged daughters and a basset hound, named Sally. Lindsay and her family reside in the Chicago suburbs where she writes full-time. She is the author of “Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech” (Woodbine House, March 2012). Read more on her blog, “Practical Parenting…with a Twist” where she writes about apraxia, parenting, education, and more 5 days a week, www.leslie4kids.wordpress.com

 

The Teacher is Talking: College Towns

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By Leslie Lindsay File:Dartmouth College campus 2007-10-20 09.JPG(image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dartmouth_College_campus_2007-10-20_09.JPG

I truly have a love for this time of year–the crisp fall days, the freshly sharpened pencils, eager students–and a love for college towns. 

Take away the college and you have a small town with not much ambience.  I know, I’ve lived in one–two, even (Columbia, MO and Northfield, MN).  With a college at the heart of the town, you get a whole new vibe, transforming a sleepy little town into an oasis of food, music, academia, culture, and more.  It’s fun and it’s always moving forward. 

So, why not introduce your children to the benefits of a college town (kudos if you already live in one)?   In fact, September is national “Save-for-College” month.  I recall my dad taking me to the campus where he got his undergrad degree.  I was awe-inspired with the size, the number of buidlings, and the science department.  The skeleton model dangled from a stainless steel pole, it’s mouth ajar in a bit of a creepy smile.  The smells, the labs…the possibility!  (Maybe this was ingrained in my 4-year old skull and thus, a career in pyschiatric nursing?). 

And so, many moons later, I went to nursing school at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  I loved it.  Well, the town.  (Nursing School wasn’t exactly my thing, but oh well–what do you know when you are 18?!  I finished school of course, and then spent the next 5 years working at the Mayo Clinic).  It’s the town I remember fondly when I look back on my college days…

Osage and Missouri Indiana first settled the area.  It was in 1821 that the town officially incorporated.  Columbia apparently had their eyes on making their town a college town from the beginning.  In fact, a place was saved for the university in the city plans.  By 1839, it was made a reality.  A total of three colleges/universities call CoMo “home”:  Stephens College, Columbia College, and the UofM.  Wikipedia reports that more than half of the 110,438+ residents hold college degrees, making it the 13th “most highly educated municipality in the U.S.” 

If you go: (to any college town): 

  • Remind your kiddos that college is important!  This may be the biggest lesson yet.  Show them where they can go to school, how college life is different than high school.  Don’t wait to visit college towns till your child is a junior in high school.  Make it a weekend trip for the family.  Who cares if your college-bound kiddo(s) is only 10? 
  • See if you can get a peek into a classroom.  An auditorium style classroom versus a smaller one.  A dorm?  A dining hall?  Head to the college bookstore. 

If you go to Columbia, MO: 

(UofMo-Columbia, quadrangle.  image source:http://www.evolvernetwork.org/columbia_mo/)

, yummy restaurants, music, coffee shops and more

  • Rock Bridge State Park where you can hike and take in the Devil’s Ice Box Cave
  • Biking and Hiking on the MKT trails (old railroad line)
  • Check out some university highlights as well:  The Ellis Library (also home to the State Historical Society)
  • The Quadrangle
  • Yummy food:  Addison’s, Shakespeare’s Pizza, Booches…

Other college towns worth mentioning:

Ann Arbor, MI.  Home of the University of Michigan.  Northfield, MN home of Carleton College and St. Olaf (small, but very good liberal arts colleges) And one of my favorites:  Madison, WI.  And the novel I working on is set (partially) in Athens, GA.  (image source: http://www.callboballen.com/about-athens/ 9.18.12) 

I know you all have your own opinions…so tell me, what college towns do you love??!

Class dismissed!

Extra Credit:

In My Brain Today: Hanging with the Hound

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By Leslie Lindsay

I really wish I had more to report today.  Blame it on the heat, because my brain is just not funtioning like I think it should.  Not that it’s particularly brillant brain in the first place, but the heat is really dulling it down. 

The dishes are sitting in the sink a little longer than I’d like to admit.  The laundry has gone unfolded as it just sits in a heap inside the dryer.  (I don’t even want to turn the thing on to fluff up the garmets inside…more heat!).  And I really haven’t wanted to cook, either.  In fact, one night this past week I am sad to say, we had cereal for supper–although the kids thought that was great fun.  Today, it’s too hot to even go to the pool.  Instead, we are going to the library to finally sign up for the summer reading program, and then get hair cuts.  Because, who needs long hair when it’s 5 million degrees out?!

(image retrieved from www.fanpop.com on 7.05.12)Basset Hound  - basset-hounds Icon

All I want to do is read.  And nap.  And sit in a cool office to write.  And look lovingly down at my darling writing companion, Sally Mae who happens to be the best hound in town. 

For more information on the heat, how to protect yourself and stay cool, see these websites: 

 

Write on, Wednesday: Decontrusting a Novel

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By Leslie Lindsay

We writers love to read.  It kind of goes with the territory.  So, it is surprise that while I was away on a writing retreat at the University Wisconsin-Madison last week, we talked about just that…writers who read and readers who write.  Now, if you have a book you are wild about, why not take it apart…I don’t mean literally, but more in a metaphorical way.  It will help you become a better writer. 

Here’s the deal:

  • Get your hands on a book/novel you really like.  You’ve read it before, I am sure.
  • Now, prepare a little worksheet (I know, it sounds like school…but I did mine on a piece of scrap paper from the kitchen last night).
  • What’s the title?  Write it down on the top of your paper.  Author, too.
  • What does the back cover blurb say?  Write it down or make a photocopy. 
  • What are some of the familiar (everyday, commonplace) themes/elements in the book?  [doctors, families, moms, infidelity]
  • What’s the unique angle?  (what makes this book different from other books that also have doctors, families, moms, and infidelity in them?)
  • What’s the hook?  (catalyst for conflict).  In my book last night it was the young patient’s mother who falls in love with the married doctor.  [Oh?!  See how this piques your interest?  That’s the hook].
  • Who is the protagonist?  Is there more than one?  List him or her. 
  • What POV is this protagonist using? 
  • What does the protagonist need?  Want?  What’s the goal?  [to feel loved, to have a happy intact family]
  • What’s the protagonist’s dilemma?  You can look at this as: [Character name] wants _________[goal] because _______________[motivation] but___________[conflict]

[In my example from last night, there were two protagonists…one’s dilemma was “I want him, but he’s married.”  The other’s was, “I’m just a stay-at-home mom with a big-whig doctor who isn’t sure if he’s cheating or not.”]

  • Does the protagonist have a redeeming moment (“save the cat?”)  What is it?  What makes her look/act good? 
  • Do the same for the antagonist (the “bad” guy, who doesn’t really have to be bad…just has opposing goals).  What is his/her dilemma? 
  • Now, what are the external events?  These are things that happen to the character(s).  You can think of them as inciting incidents [what starts the action] and turning points [changes the direction of the story in some way, can be big or small]. 
  • What is the climax?  Black moment?  [Goodness, they found out about the supposed affair]. 
  • What is the turning point/resolution?  [She really wasn’t that pretty and it’s easy to see how a doctor and patient’s mother could have fallen for each other, life is pretty good]
  • What’s the ending like? HAPPY?  TRAGIC?  IRONIC  #1(misses goal but need is fulfilled)?, or IRONIC#2 (gets goal, yet needs is unfilfulled)?  [the book I looked at last night was HAPPY with a slight ironony]
  • Of course, you can’t forget the character arc.  How does your protagonist change?  What makes her/him a better person in the end?  (Sometimes the change can be for the worse).  You may refer to this a healing or realization moment. 
  • What does your protagonist learn by the end of the story?  [love isn’t always fair, but in the end, we have what it takes to keep ourselves–and our family–happy]. 

Finally, as writers, make note of the scenes, descriptions, phrases, or dialogue that particularly move you.  I took some notes and found that really they aren’t all that mythical.  Pretty basic stuff.  But how the author gets them to work is where the magic lies. 

This whole process took me about an hour. 

So, what are you waiting for?!  Write on, Wednesday! 

“Deconstructing a novel” was a hand-out provided to us by our instructor, author Kathy Steffen.  You can learn more about Kathy at her website, www.kathysteffen.com

Apraxia Monday: Part 2 of Reading with CAS

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By Leslie Lindsay

kids reading poetry 300x222 Are the Kids Getting Enough Poetry?

Last week, we chatted about why it may be more difficult for our kiddos with CAS to learn to read and write.  Today, we will talk about things you can do to help your child with those skills at home; specifically reading (writing with CAS with be another two-part post beginning next week). 

You want to know how to help break the code to reading?!  Sure, we all do…it’s not so clear-cut as it may sound, but I will help decipher some of the weirdness for you.  According to Joy Stackhouse, Persisting Speech Difficulties in Children:  Children’s Speech & Literacy Difficulties, one should teach phononlogical awareness skills + strong reading strategies (literacy skills) to have a kiddo who is ready to learn to read. 

For phonological awareness,  some suggested repetitive books you can start with:  

  • Anything from Sandra Boynton to Dr. Seuss (the goofier the better…it sticks with kids and gets them engaged early on)
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown…repetitive and predictable
  • Going on A Bear Hunt (or any of the variations, such as going on a nature hunt)

Read books without words.  What??!  Reading a book should involve words, right?  Not necessarily.  There are some really great picture books for kids that are just that–illustrations.  Have your child tell you what is going on in the picture.  If she can’t do that, can she make some sounds like ooh?  or Oh, no!  Ooops… A good one to try is Teri K. Peterson’s book, The Big Book of Exclamations! which was designed especially for this reason by its SLP creator.  Also look for the Good Dog, Carl series by Alexandra Day, among others.  Just ask your children’s librarian.

Engage in Dialogic Reading.  It’s the idea of having a dialogue (or discussion) with  your child as you read a book.  “Hummm….what do you think might happen next?”…. “Why did bunny just do that?”  “I think this is going to happen____.  What are your thoughts?”  Allow for extra time to read and build in some patience, too.  Kids with apraxia may not be able to expand their thoughts simply because they can’t…but it’s probably still there, under the apraxia.  You can modify this type of discussion by talking about the illustrations instead, “Can you find the girl’s pretty shoes.  Gosh, they are so sparkly.   Can you say sparkle?  Shoe?”   

Explore letters and the sounds they make.  If you have the space, develop a “letter center” at home.  Stock it with letter stickers, maganets, alphabet puzzles, stamps, cookie cutters, other manipulatives that have a single letter on it.  Let your child experiment with them.  As her what those sounds make.  If she doesn’t know, tell her.  Color those letters, shape them out of Play-Doh, or make letters out of pretzel sticks.  Have fun! 

I could go on and on with more ideas on this subject, but I really must close for today.  Next week on “Apraxia Monday,” we’ll discuss writing with CAS.  But, writing is what I must do now…only this time I am working on some fiction here at my writer’s retreat in Madison, WI.

Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, June 23rd 9-12noon as I will be at the Otsego, MI Walk for Apraxia with copies of “Speaking of Apraxia” (Woodbine House, 2012).  Copies will be available for $20 cash or check (suggested retail, $24.95).  I am happy to sign them, too.  Hope to see you there!!

Special Edition: Speaking of Apraxia is HERE!!

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By Leslie Lindsay

This just in:  Speaking of Apraxia: A Parent’s Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech has arrived!!  I knew the book was scheduled for release Wedneday, March 28th but that as the author I would be receiving the book slightly ahead of schedule.  And it wasn’t able to be delivered to my home address, due to the need for the books–all 100–to be signed for.  So, I dutifully gave my publisher the address to my hubby’s office and waited on pins and needles to hear of the delivery.

One day, about two weeks ago, my darling husband had said in passing “I can’t wait to open up those boxes and see it for myself.” 

“Oh no, you don’t!” I responded.  “You will bring those books home and let me have the first look.  You will not–and I repeat–not–be opening that box at work!” 

He grinned.  I wasn’t sure if he was teasing, or he just enjoyed seeing me get all fired up. 

Alas, the books arrived yesterday around 1:30pm.  All 100 of them.  Each box weighing a hefty 40lbs.  (and he waited, bringing them home early with flowers and balloons).  Sort of sounds like birth stats, doesn’t it?  It’ss here!  Monday, March 26th at 1:30pm after 4 years of labor, weighing in at 38o pages of text, plus an additional 20 or so of references, appendices, and more.  Please stop by to visit the doting new “parent” Leslie Lindsay and the book’s inspiration, Kate.  (Well, in this case…share your support by purchasing the book and telling all of your friends about it). 

I must admit, that while I have a real live book right here in my hands, the whole thing still seems sort of surreal.  Really?!  I did this?  Couldn’t be!    (to the tune of Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar).  Yep.  I did.

As I thumb through all of these pages, I can remember–actually recall–where I was when I wrote that particular section.  Yes…I was at Panera when I wrote the section on reading difficulties and summarized the appendix that follows on the different kinds of studies conducted on kids with speech-language impairments and reading challenges.  I was at my kitchen table late one Thursday evening a few summers ago deciphering all of these “old school” texts on Murial Morley’s work in the speech-path field.  I was at Caribou Coffee as I worked on the section on kids and family coping.  I had a turtle mocha that day.  I remember it all like yesterday.

And now, I want you to read this book.  I want you to help a child with CAS.  I want you to help yourself understand what childhood apraxia is all about.  I want you to share this book with someone you think can benefit from it…because, let me tell you…I benefitted from writing it.

(Photos to come.  For some reason, they won’t download to my Skydrive right now).

For more information, see www.woodbinehouse.com, the book is being offered by Amazon.com as well as Barnes and Noble.  See information under “in the media” for my first public book signing.