Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest Post: Is Your Child Hearing Everything Correctly?

This post is a reprint from last June. It contains important information for all parents and teachers who have children with speech and language difficulties.

Today’s guest post is from Speech Therapist Cindy Fronhofer. Cindy, now retired, was a speech therapist for 30 years. Throughout this time, she helped countless parents understand the speech and language difficulties their children struggled with. Today she presents a condition that is often confusing to adults and may greatly impact reading and school performance.
  • Is your child easily distracted or unusually bothered by loud or sudden noises?
  • Are noisy environments upsetting to your child?
  • Does your child's behavior and performance improve in quieter settings?
  • Does your child have difficulty following directions, whether simple or complicated?
  • Does your child have reading, spelling, writing, or other speech-language difficulties?
  • Is abstract information difficult for your child to comprehend?
  • Are verbal (word) math problems difficult for your child?
  • Is your child disorganized and forgetful?
  • Are conversations hard for your child to follow?
from KidsHealth

If you answered yes to these questions, your child may be affected by an auditory processing disorder.

What is auditory processing (central auditory processing)? Auditory processing has been described as “what we do with what we hear.”

What is an auditory processing disorder? An auditory processing disorder is a condition in which the ability to interpret or process words or sounds has been compromised in some way.

Auditory processing disorder (APD), also called central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), affects about 5% of school-aged children. Kids with APD often do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. These kinds of problems usually occur when there is background noise, which is part of the natural listening environment. Most kids with APD do not have a loss of hearing, but have a hearing problem in the sense that they do not process auditory information efficiently.

Many of these kids may have speech and language delays and academic challenges. In the classroom, a child who has problems screening out background noise may not always follow directions or attend to auditory instruction or listening activities. They may struggle with reading because decoding or sounding out words may be challenging.

Symptoms of APD can range from mild to severe and can take many different forms. Plus, APD is an often misunderstood problem because many of the behaviors noted above also can appear in other conditions.

If you think your child might have a problem processing auditory information (including sounds and/or speech), especially in less than optimal listening conditions, consider contacting their classroom teacher, speech therapist, audiologist, or pediatrician.

Websites that may be helpful:
Search by auditory processing disorder or central auditory processing disorder.

Thank you Cindy! Your information helps us all!

Do you have questions or comments about this post? Write them in the Comments box!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Books to Get Ready for Election Day

Election Day is next Tuesday (a week from tomorrow). Your parents and teachers will get to vote for the persons they think are best for several different jobs: the president, senators and others. Today’s books are all about voting, elections and the presidency.

 Vote! By Eileen Christelow
This is a graphic novel that covers an election for mayor. Leave it to Eileen Christelow to write a book about voting that explains everything clearly and with plenty of laughs. It has my vote!

 Election Day by Patricia J. Murphy
This is a very basic book about voting and election day. It tells about the why and when of voting, plus gives a brief history. It’s a Rookie Read-About Holidays book. Also in this series:
Voting and Elections
The Presidency

Shop Indie Bookstores  Election Day by Marc Tyler Nobleman
This book has more information than the one above. It covers election day, voting rights, voting requirements and the privilege of voting.

 Elections and Voting by Antony Lishak
This book takes a very thought-provoking approach to voting and elections. It looks at the issues from several points of view. Some include: young voters, nonvoters and voters from other countries. Each section poses questions to think about and discuss.

 Where Do Presidents Come From? by Michael Townsend
This graphic novel covers the lives of several presidents and their responsibilities, early American history and how our government works. It has easy to follow graphics and lots of humor.

 America: A Patriotic Primer by Lynne Cheney
This is a very patriotic ABC book. Each letter of the alphabet is for important people, ideas, and events in the history of the United States. The illustrations give lots to look at and discover. I think this would be a great read-aloud for families to explore.

 So You Want to be President? by Judith St. George, illustrated by David Small
This book tells all about what our presidents (through Clinton) were like and many of the things a president must do. The text is not too serious and the illustrations are very funny. This would be a perfect read aloud.

The U.S. Presidency by Mari Schuh (sorry, no link)
This book is rather amazing. With not that many sentences, it tells the important stuff about the presidency. The clear pictures show the latest presidents: Clinton, Bush and Obama. A perfect book for learning basic president information.

  The People Pick a President by  Carolyn Jackson
This book is clearly written and has all the information you need to know about the presidential election. It covers the election process from choosing a candidate, campaigning, election day and the Electoral Congress. If elections and politics interest you, this is a good book to read.

 Bad Kitty for President by Nick Bruel
I know, this hardly seems like a voting-is-important type book. But it actually is, in a goofy Bad Kitty sort of way. Bad Kitty is running for president of the Neighborhood Cat Club. He does everything wrong (of course) but still, his story does include lots of valuable information about voting and the election process.

Be sure to encourage your parents to vote next Tuesday!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Sites: Crafts, Games, Costumes and Party Ideas

If you’re like lots of kids, Halloween is one of your favorite holidays. Here are a bunch of sites with a ton of ideas to celebrate Halloween in a big way.



RED TED ART (love this site!)


This site has it all – printables, crafts, costumes, poems and songs, games and more.



 Videos about Halloween history.

I hope you have a great Halloween! Write about it in the Comments box!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Promoting Literacy with MORE Halloween Fun

Here are some Halloween links to explore together as a family. 

Make a whole village!
So many ideas! Click the side arrows to see next idea.

Cooking provides great opportunities to work on literacy skills. You have to read, follow directions, measure, and have patience. And then you eat – built-in motivation!
Reading recipes is a great way to practice reading skills. Very motivating!
25 Spooky Halloween treats!
Cupcakes, candy, cookies, drinks and party ideas.

Poems and songs can also be a motivating way to practice reading skills. Try out different voices – scary, silly, scared…
Over 20 poems to read and recite. Have a family performance night!

I hope your Halloween is fun and safe. Please share in the Comments box!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Scare Up Some Fun with MORE Halloween Books

As promised, here are more Halloween books to get your celebration going.  Just one more week to go!

  Halloween Hoots and Howls by Joan Horton, illustrated by JoAnn Adinolfi

 Halloween Drawing Book by Ralph Masiello
Ready to draw some scary Halloween pictures? Then this book is perfect for you! There are pumpkins, bats, ghosts, gravestones and more. Each lesson is given line-by-line, so you can't go wrong. After reading this book, I was delighted to see there are many other drawing books in the series.

 Little Goblins Ten by Pamela Jane, illustrated by Jane Manning
This is a counting 1 to 10 books. It’s based on the book Over in the Meadow, but instead of safe meadow animals, it has ghouls, goblins, ghosts, witches, and other scary creatures. The illustrations are creepy but not too creepy.

 Creepy Carrots! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown
Jasper Rabbit loves carrots and eats them morning, noon and night. But then they start following him home. He can see them but no one else can. Is he just imagining them lurking in the background? Hard to say…

 It’s Halloween Night! by Jennifer O’Connell, illustrated by Jennifer Morris
On Halloween night, some kids dress up to go trick or treating. Readers are invited to guess the costume from the clues given (With this pointy hat and my spooky cat…) This is a young not-too-scary book.

 Trick or Treat by Leo Landry
If you are a ghost, you are bound to have some spooky guests to invite to your Halloween party. But what happens when an invitation gets delivered by mistake to some regular kids? Fun and not too scary.

 The Best Halloween of All by Susan Wojciechowski, illustrated by Susan Meddaugh
Ben has had a string of Halloweens when his parents created clever Halloween costumes for him and his big brother. His brother loved them. Ben did not. So when he was 7 years old, Ben decided it was time to create his own Halloween costume. Was it a success?

  The 13 Nights of Halloween by Guy Vasilovich
Like Twelve Haunted Rooms of Halloween from last week's list, this book is based on The Twelve Days of Christmas.  The items and the illustrations are creepy but fun. Here's a sampling: 4 icky eyeballs, 7 Goblins gobbling, 8 Marching Mutants... You'll be singing this one for sure!

 Carving Pumpkins by Dana Meachen Rau, illustrated by Kathleen Petelinsek
Do you know the history of Jack-o'-lanterns? I never did. This book has history and some really handy tips and ideas. Maybe this year my Jack-o'-lantern won't be the same old thing...

 Bone Soup by Cambria Evans
Finnigin is a hungry, hungry skeleton. When the people of a town (looks like a ghost town to me) refuse to feed him, he tricks them into helping him make Bone Soup. First you start with a bone, then everyone adds stuff. Stuff like stewed eyeballs, spider eggs... If you think  this sounds a bit like Stone Soup, you'd be right. Love it!

  Handmade Halloween: A Glittered Guide for Whimsical Crafting!  by Stephen Brown
This book is for serious crafters! Each craft starts with a fun poem. The crafts themselves have lots of steps but the pictures and directions seem pretty clear. If you go all-out for Halloween, you're going to want to take a look at this book.

  Monster Mash by David Catrow
Sometime in the 1960s there was a hit Halloween song called Monster Mash. It was played on the radio all the time. David Catrow has taken the song and given it really creepy illustrations. Want to know the tune? Google the title - there are several YouTube versions.

Be sure to check out last week's list. I hope you have the best Halloween ever!

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Halloween Jokes: Vampires, Ghosts and Knock-Knock Jokes

More jokes! One set was just not enough!


What kind of mail does a superstar vampire get?
Fang mail

Where does a vampire keep his money?
In a blood bank

What kind of dog does a vampire have?
A bloodhound

Why do vampires scare people?
They are bored to death

How can you tell a vampire likes baseball?
Every night he turns into a bat

What's it like to be kissed by a vampire?
It's a pain in the neck.

What do you give a vampire with a cold?
Coffin Drops!

Why did the vampire quit the baseball team?
They would only let him be BAT boy


What pants do ghosts wear?
BOO jeans

What does a ghost call his mom and dad?
His transparents

Why is it hard for a ghost to tell a lie?
Because you can see right through him

What do ghosts serve for dessert?
I scream

What did the ghost teacher say to her class?
"Watch the board and I'll go through it again."

What did one ghost say to the other ghost?
"Long time no see."

What did one ghost say to the other?
"Do you believe in people?"

What's a ghost’s favorite ride at the carnival?
The roller ghoster

What kind of roads do ghosts haunt?
Dead Ends

What do ghosts eat for dinner?

Why did the game warden arrest the ghost?
He didn't have a haunting license.

Who was the most famous ghost detective?
Sherlock Moans

What kind of television do you find inside a haunted house?
A wide scream TV


Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Thumping who?
Thumping green and scary just crawled up your trousers!

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Boo who?
Don't cry! I was just kidding.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Ivana who?
Ivana suck your blood.

Knock, knock
Who's there?
Witch who?
Which one of you will give me some candy?

Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Olive who?
Olive Halloween!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Philip who?
Philip my bag with candy!

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Wayne who?
Wayne can I eat my Halloween candy?

Have a great Halloween!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Promoting Literacy with Halloween Fun

Halloween is just 2 weeks away. Here are some ideas to promote literacy during this Halloween season.

Halloween Read-Alouds

  • Collect several Halloween books (picture books work well for this) and take turns reading scary parts in your scariest voices. Make this a voluntary activity. Appreciative listeners are welcome to take a more passive role. Need book ideas? Click here.
  • Read a bunch of Halloween books and rate them with 1, 2, 3 or 4 stars. Consider sending your favorite Halloween books to school for a teacher read-aloud.
  • Record scary stories and/or Halloween family memories.

Pumpkin Seed Math

  • One pumpkin: predict how many seeds and then count them. Who was the closest?
  • More than one pumpkin: predict, count and then chart the results.

Halloween Science

Brainstorm and research scary animals (real and not-so-real)


Go to a haunted house or other Halloween-theme event. Take pictures and make a Halloween scrapbook, complete with captions.

Halloween Cards and Bookmarks

Make cards for others – friends, relatives, neighbors… Scary and/or funny is good! Ideas:
  • Copy or write your own poem on the inside.
  • Make thumbprint ghosts, pumpkins, witches… with washable ink or paint, and then draw on faces.
  • Fold a strip of paper, accordion-style and glue/tape on back of picture. Attach to inside of card so it pops out when the card is opened.
  • Make Halloween bookmarks. Include lots of Halloween words or scary sayings.


Here are some websites that suggest Halloween activities.

I Love That Teaching Idea 

Could also be cute cards.
Remember to take pictures!
Maybe add a fun activity for every “Boo!”

FunSchool Kaboose

This site provides a variety of online Halloween activities.

Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream
What a fun site! I spent a lot of time exploring.

PBS for Kids:
Stories and activities based on PBS kid shows.

These are just a few of the many ways you can promote reading and learning at home while enjoying Halloween. Next week I’ll have more.

Does your family have fun Halloween activities? Share them in the Comments box!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Scare Up Some Fun with Halloween Books

Halloween will be here soon -- time to think about costumes, decorations and reading scary and not-so-scary stories. Here are a dozen books to get you started. There will be another bunch next week.

 The Everything Kids' Halloween Puzzle and Activity Book by Beth L. Blair and Jennifer A. Ericsson
This book has a bunch of Halloween-related stuff to do. There are all kinds of puzzles and activities: coloring, hidden pictures, hangman, mazes, word searches and more.

 Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman
This book describes the origins of Halloween and how some countries celebrate it. It’s full of pictures that show people involved in various Halloween activities. The last pages supply more facts, a recipe and further resources.

 Halloween Book of Fun! by National Geographic Kids
This book has lots of what you need for Halloween: games, jokes, Halloween facts, costumes and decorations. The illustrations are funny and sometimes a bit creepy.

How to Build Hair-Raising Haunted Houses by Megan Cooley Peterson (sorry, no link)
If you want to create a scary Halloween, this book and the others in this Edge Books series, have great ideas. Projects include Lawn of the Dead, Dracula’s Coffin, Faces in the Fog and others. Other books in this series:
How to Carve Freakishly Cool Pumpkins
How to Create Spectacular Halloween Costumes
How to Make Frightening Halloween Decorations

 The Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey
Oscar is a dog who is half-a-dog tall and one-and-a-half dogs long (a dachshund). All the other dogs tease him until one Halloween night. The text and pictures are really funny. If you like puns, you’re going to love this book.

 Just Say Boo! by Susan Hood, illustrated by Jed Henry
What should you say when you come across scary things? BOO! The illustrations switch from scary to fun with each turn of the page. This would be a perfect read-aloud for young kids.

 Lucy’s Tricks and Treats by Ilene Cooper
Bobby is a shy boy but ever since Lucy, his beagle puppy, came to live with him, he’s learning to make friends. In this fifth book of the series, Bobby has a great idea for Halloween costumes that Lucy and he could wear. But when things start disappearing at school, Bobby’s suspicions take away some of the fun.

 Hubble Bubble, Granny Trouble by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Joe Berger
A girl loves her granny, who is a witch. But sometimes she wishes her granny was a little less witch-like. So she asks, “…how about we try to make you normal-ish…” Her granny agrees but in the end, neither of them is too happy with the makeover.

 Twelve Haunted Rooms of Halloween by Macky Pamintuan
A young bear ventures into a haunted house. This book tells about what the bear sees as he creeps from room to room. Based on The Twelve Days of Christmas, it’s very fun and you just about have to sing along. In addition to the clever rhymes, the illustrations are like a spooky Where’s Waldo – with over 375 items to find.

 Invisible Inkling: Dangerous Pumpkins by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Harry Bliss
Fourth-grader Henry Wolowitz has an invisible, squash-eating friend named Inkling. Keeping Inkling a secret from everyone while preventing Inkling from eating everyone’s pumpkins is making it the trickiest Halloween ever. This is the second book in the Invisible Inklingseries.

 Dragonbreath: No Such Thing as Ghosts by Ursula Vernon
Danny and 2 friends go trick-or-treating. School bully Big Eddy dares them to enter a haunted house. What’s making the scary noises and causing the wall to drip with eggs? Most Halloween books have scary things that end up having a logical explanation … but not all.

 Goosebumps Wanted: The Haunted Mask by R.L. Stine
I confess, I’d never read a Goosebumps book before. But since this is a list of Halloween books, I figured it was about time I did. I learned something – Goosebumps books really are scary. In this one, a girl puts on a haunted mask – bad idea. Then her friend finds himself in a haunted pumpkin patch. Brrrr – this is a very creepy story.

Check back on Monday for even more Halloween books!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Halloween Jokes: Mummies, Skeletons, Dracula and Witches

There are lots of Halloween jokes out there. In fact, I had to make 2 Fridays of them. Here are this week’s jokes.

What is a mummy's favorite type of music?
Rap music.

What do you get when you cross a vampire with a mummy?
Either a flying bandage or a gift wrapped bat!

What do you call a mummy eating in bed?
A crummy mummy

What do you call a little monster’s parents
Mummy and Deady

Why don't mummies take vacations?
They're afraid they'll relax and unwind.

What is a skeleton's favorite instrument?
The trombone

What did the skeleton order with his drink?
A mop (I love this one!)

Why couldn't the skeleton cross the road?
Because he didn't have the guts

What do skeletons say before they start to eat?
Bone appetite

Why did the skeleton stand in the corner during his prom?
Because he had no body to dance with!

Why don't skeletons play music in church?
They have no organs

How do you make a skeleton laugh?
Tickle its funnybone!

What does a skeleton orders at a restaurant?
Spare ribs

Why didn't Dracula have any friends?
He was a pain in the neck!

What is Dracula's favorite fruit?
A nectarine

Why did Dracula go to the library?
He wanted a good book to sink his teeth into!

What song does Dracula hate?
"You Are My Sunshine"

Which building does Dracula visit in New York?
The Vampire State Building

Who does Dracula get letters from?
His fang club

What kind of dog does Dracula have?
A bloodhound

Why didn't Dracula get married?
He never met a nice ghoul

Where does Count Dracula usually eat his lunch?
At the casketeria

What is the problem with twin witches?
You never know which witch is which!

What do you call a nervous witch?
A twitch

What do witches put on their hair?
Scare spray

What do you call a witch's garage?
A broom closet

Why does a witch ride a broom?
The vacuum cleaner's power is cord it too short

What do they teach in witching school?

Need more Halloween jokes? No problem! Next Friday I’ll have a bunch more, this time about vampires, ghosts and knock-knock jokes.