Posts from the ‘read aloud’ Category

MISSING PARENTS AND PORTALS

Sen, Sanja and the Cube of Runes

Written by Borut Lesjak

This is book one of a middle-grade detective fantasy series. Sanja is awakened by a thunderstorm. Her older brother seems unconcerned. Shortly after the two siblings discover their parents are missing under mysterious circumstances. To make matters worse, Social Services wants to place them in foster care.

These intrepid siblings find a mysterious cube in the attic. They vow to employ their detective skills to solve the mystery and outrun Social Services. Sen and Senja employ magic and wizardly to navigate through time dimensions and mysterious portals encountering many interesting characters along the way. Will they solve the mystery of the cube, find their parents, and stay together?

The plot moves quickly and sustains interest. Lots of fun for readers ages eight through twelve.

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WHAT IS #AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER

As a special educator, I have worked with preschoolers and elementary school age children diagnosed with reading disabilities and speech language problems. I taught the Wilson Reading Program, which is a phonics based approach to reading. While I found it effective with many of my students, it did not meet the needs of all of them.

A lifelong book-lover, Dr. Karen Holinga’s interest in helping children learn to read began during her six years as a classroom teacher, where she saw how much some children struggled to master the skill. Her desire to solve the puzzle only increased during the twelve years she homeschooled her own children.

Eager to better understand the reading process, Dr. Karen pursued a doctorate in Developmental Reading, Curriculum, and Professional Development from The Ohio State University.

With Happy Cheetah Reading, she has taken all her expertise—years of classroom experience, years homeschooling, her doctoral research, and her extensive clinical practice—and crafted a simple plan. As The Reading Doctor, she has successfully helped over 25,000 children learn to read— many of whose parents had lost hope. She knows how some students struggle, and she knows how to help. 

I am presenting this program as a resource for parents and educators and not as an endorsement or beneficiary of any of its products.

As you might guess from the name, auditory processing relates to sound. But children with poor auditory processing are not usually hearing impaired. Rather, these children’s brains don’t interpret the incoming sounds correctly. 

Is There a Cure?

Auditory processing is a developmental issue. 

This means it’s like losing teeth, which is another developmental milestone. Children who lose their first teeth at age four are not “better” than those who lose their first teeth at age seven. If your five-year-old doesn’t have a loose tooth yet, you don’t get angry, or start Tooth Loosening Therapy. Teeth loss is developmental, and it will happen when it happens.

With auditory processing, it’s the same way. You can’t make it happen, so release yourself from any pressure. There is no appointment for you to make, no official diagnosis that will help. There is no fix for the neurology. 

Most children work through their auditory processing issues and eventually catch up with their peers, when their body is ready.

Symptoms of Poor Auditory Processing

If, as you read through these symptoms, one or two stand out to you, then assume that, yes, your child deals with auditory processing.

1) Poor phonemic awareness. A single sound is called a phoneme (FOE neem), and children who can’t hear the difference between sounds have “poor phonemic awareness.” This means they cannot easily separate or distinguish individual sounds, and have an especially hard time distinguishing between short vowel sounds, such as bet and bit

Children with poor phonemic awareness will probably not be able to determine which of these pairs of words rhyme:  

sock – sell 

rim – slim

sink – drink

tap – shirt 

These children can’t hear the wrong rhymes, and can’t guess the right rhymes. 

This also can show up in very slow letter sound acquisition. It took my son three years of daily work to (mostly) remember the 26 basic letter sounds and their written component.

2) Difficulty with word retrieval. My son would know what he wanted to say, but his brain couldn’t access the specific words. For example, he might say, “Hey, Mom, remember the book about the person who went on a trip?”

And based on the context of whatever we had recently been talking about, I could usually guess, “Do you mean the book about Chris taking the logs down the Mississippi in Swift Rivers?” 

But not always. “Hey, Mom, do you remember when we went to that place and rode on that thing?” could equally apply to the time when our family went to the amusement park and rode the tram, or to the airport and rode on the moving sidewalk, or to the lake and rode on the paddle board. Which sentence is my son trying to communicate? 

When children have difficulty with word retrieval, the specifics of language are missing, those clarifying and important words that differentiate experience. 

3) Unclear or delayed speech. Self-explanatory.

4) Delayed auditory processing. These children’s brains overload really easily, because they can’t process language quickly. 

In fact, some children process information 80% more slowly

Think about trying to do anything if your brain had slowed down 80%. How much less would you comprehend?

4) Poor auditory memory. Children with poor auditory memory don’t remember what they hear, so they miss a lot. 

If a parent says, “Go to your room, get your shoes, and meet me at the door,” the children will show up at the door, but without their shoes. 

This isn’t because they’re deliberately disobeying. They simply cannot remember.

On occasion, my son will have listened to almost all of a chapter book. Then, on page 250 of 300, he’ll ask about a key secondary character, “Now who was that again?” He more-or-less has understood the book, but he clearly doesn’t have specific ideas about the different characters.

5) Difficulty with hearing the number of syllables in a word. You may have heard the trick of clapping syllables, a clap for each syllable. So one clap for cat, two claps for tiger, three claps for beautiful, four claps for hyperactive

My son would guess: “Does computer have one syllable? Does cake have two?” It was astonishing to see all the ways he would contort his speech to make the syllable claps fit the word. 

When children can’t hear syllables, it makes reading programs that focus on syllables almost impossible. 

Does this sound like your child?

If this sounds like your child, I encourage you to keep reading. Some children, like my son, have both auditory processing delays, and the other challenge that we’ll cover tomorrow.

But if this sounds like your child, only one reading program on the market is going to help your child. Every Orton-Gillingham program, supposedly the “gold standard” for struggling readers, focuses on syllable division and rule memorization. For a student who has a hard time hearing and remembering the letters themselves, loading them down with rules is unhelpful at best, and destructive at worst. 

I am thrilled that a program exists that acknowledges and allows struggling readers to move forward, even with delayed auditory processing. 

The Happy Cheetah Reading System is designed to get your child up to speed as quickly as possible.  happycheetah.com

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#Too Tough to Handle

Never ask a Dinosaur: Funny Read-Aloud Story Book for Toddlers, Preschoolers and Kids 3-6) Book 4

Written and illustrated by Melinda Kinsman

A little boy decides to bring his pet triceratops to school with him, thinking that they will both have lots of fun. At first, his friends think this is cool. His teachers, principal, cafeteria workers, and staffers don’t agree.

This book contains terrific illustrations that are colorful and expressive. The rhyming text flows well and is fun to read aloud. Children will love the humor and funny antics. The bonus puzzles, matching activities, and games keep the fun rolling along. Book 4 in this series does not disappoint. Preschoolers and primary grade readers can have lots of fun with this series of books.

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GETTING TO THE BOTTOM OF THINGS

Onward: The Search for the Dragon Gem: An InQuestigation

Written by Steve Behling

The book is based on the Disney movie. It is primarily a middle-grade read for fans of fantasy, magic, dragons, and coming-of-age novels.

Sadalia is a sophomore at Mushroomton High, Her passion is journalism. She constantly searches for that big story. When a red mist appears around the school one evening, her dream comes true. The high school is taken over by a dragon. The adventure of a lifetime begins.

Will things ever get back to normal? What part have her two schoolmates, Ian and Barley have in the mystery? Can Sadalia get her big scoop? Fans of the movie will want to check out the book. Recommended for grades three through seven.

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#EggandCheese

EGG AND CHEESE

The Cat Detectives in Russia: The Case of the Missing Faberge Egg

Written and illustrated by R.F. Kristi

My first time reading a book in this series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Inca is a Siberian Russian Cat who runs a detective agency consisting of fellow felines, dogs and a hamster. They trek the globe to solve mysteries.

This one begins when Inca’s mom goes abroad promoting her cheese business. Inca and her crew travel to her native land, Russia. Laid out in a diary format, the readers travel abroad and learn a bit of history while becoming embroiled in solving the mystery of a valuable Faberge egg stolen from the museum.

The characters are well developed and engaging personifications of the animals. There are a few illustrations to assist younger readers. I would recommend the book as a chapter reader for elementary and middle-grade students. Readers who enjoy detective stories, animal characters, and travel will particularly enjoy the read.

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LEARNING THE 3 R’S #EARTH DAY

Earth Ninja

Written by Mary Nhin

Illustrated by Jelena Stupar

This book is part of a series that uses a series of Ninja characters to teach children about their world and how to become a valuable member of it.

Earth Ninja wants children to learn how to take responsibility for the earth. Lazy Ninja is careless about throwing away his trash, but one day he goes to the beach with friends. They notice a turtle struggling to get free from plastic trash. Earth Ninja explains how trash in the ocean endangers animals.

Earth Ninja teaches Lazy Ninja about the 3 R’s. We can reduce our carbon footprint, and fertilizer. By reusing paper and plastic, we conserve resources. Finally, we can recycle paper, plastics, and glass. Lazy Ninja is convinced to change his ways.

Nhin includes fasts to help children understand how necessary these steps are and that even one person can make a difference.

This series is highly recommended for preschool and elementary school students.

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BABY STEPS

I Am Not a Baby

Written by Bob Smith

Illustrated by Victoria M.

This is a short, cute picture book written from the point of view of a toddler. Preschoolers and toddlers are constantly trying to demonstrate they can do things independently. In this tale, Mike sets out to prove he can do everything adults can do. While the pictures and story clearly demonstrate that is not the case, Mike gives his readers inspiration and confidence.

Recommended as a bedtime story or read-aloud book to encourage self-esteem for two to five-year-olds.

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