reading

TSC Review: ‘Two Thousand Kisses A Day’ by L.R. Knost

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Writing about Reading Apps: Goodnight Moon and Dr. David Walsh

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/181275901.html?refer=y

READING AS RITUAL

An Article by: DAVID WALSH

Don’t let an app stop parents from reading books to their children.

“Goodnight kittens, and goodnight mittens”

“Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.”

These are but a few of the melodic and soothing verses that stir warm childhood memories for millions around the world. “Goodnight Moon” isn’t a book. It’s a ritual.

My three children, all now parents themselves, swear they remember listening to me or my wife read this children’s classic before getting tucked in for the night. While these may not be literal memories, because their brains were too young, they are a testament to the emotional power the book has had for 65 years.

My four grandchildren all include “Goodnight Moon” as one of their “required” books at naptime. I’ve noticed that each snuggles a little closer as the red balloon hanging above the bed disappears from some pages only to reappear later.

Reading aloud is one of the most important — and enjoyable — parenting and grandparenting activities we can share with our children. Science tells us it’s the first building block for literacy. Babies love the soothing sounds of a familiar voice reading. Even when they prefer “eating” their books, they are beginning to make the mental connection we want. They’re associating reading with comfort, security and enjoyment. That link is a great foundation for raising readers. As a masterpiece like “Goodnight Moon” proves, it also creates emotional memories that last a lifetime.

That’s the reason I was appalled to read that there is now an app that downloads the story onto a smartphone or tablet computer (“Say goodnight to boredom of ‘Goodnight Moon,'” Nov. 27).

The purpose of the app is to rescue parents from the boredom of reading the book to their children. Boring? Let’s remember that the book is not written for parents. It’s for children, and there is a wealth of information to pique their interest. For example, there are more than 20 details that change from page to page. A 3-year-old can tell you that the socks disappear from the drying rack when the mittens are wished “goodnight,” but they reappear later.

What this app, should anyone actually pay $4.95 for it, really would do is to rob children of an invaluable experience. Children need to hear a human voice and sit in a human lap. It would be sad indeed if some bored parents let their children “snuggle up” with an iPad as they drift off to sleep.

* * *

David Walsh is a Minneapolis psychologist and author of the books “Smart Parenting, Smarter Kids,” “Why do They Act That Way?, and “No: Why Kids–Of All Ages–Need to Hear It and Why Parents Can Say It.”

http://drdavewalsh.com/

 

Early Delivery (Prior to 38 weeks) May Lead to Delays in Reading and Math

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my first OB wanted to do a C-section at 36 weeks because of a previous uterine surgery. I bascially ended up going against her advice and delivering full term. You can read about it here. My daughter appeared at 42 weeks exactly so a 36 week delivery would have been six weeks earlier. The article below caught my eye and what I read was shocking! Academic acheivement scores in math and writing are lower for children born at 37 weeks versus 38-41?

Incredible. Read on.

Christina

Kids born just 2 weeks early have lower reading and math scores

https://singlemomontherun.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php
(accessed July 10, 2012)

Compiled by , Deseret News

Published: Monday, July 9 2012 11:12 a.m. MDT

Children born just two weeks early exhibit lower academic performance in reading and math, according to a new study published this month in Pediatrics.

“The evidence from this study would suggest that elective induction of birth should be approached cautiously,” said lead study author Dr. Kimberly Noble, assistant professor of pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “The data suggest that children born at 37 or 38 weeks may have problems with reduced school achievement later on.” Noble encourages parents to be cautious before choosing an early birth for non-medical reasons.

Past research has indicated that babies born before 37 weeks are more likely to have difficulties in the academic sphere, Noble said. The widely held assumption that the development of babies between 37 and 41 weeks is indistinguishable may be inaccurate, she wrote.

“The study looked at data from more than 128,000 births of single babies born between 37 and 41 weeks, the span considered full term,” U.S. News reported. “When the children reached third grade, the researchers examined their scores on standardized tests to see if their delivery date suggested a difference in learning ability. They concluded that it did.”

Led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the study is “among the first to look at academic achievement among children considered full term,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The math and reading scores of children born technically at full-term — 37 to 38 weeks’ gestation — lagged slightly behind their peers born just a little later, at 39, 40 or 41 weeks.”

Children born at 37 weeks had a 23 percent increased risk of moderate reading impairment compared to those born at the full 41 weeks. Of those children, 11.8 percent “born in week 37 had a mild reading impairment compared with average children their age versus 10.4 percent of children born in weeks 40 and 41, while 2.3 percent of kids born at week 37 had a severe reading impairment compared with 1.8 percent of those born in weeks 40 and 41,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

Experts have been unable to determine the exact cause of these academic struggles. “Perhaps there is something about the uterine environment that supports brain development in a favorable way in the last month of pregnancy and perhaps gets disrupted by earlier birth,” said Noble.

“While Noble acknowledges that her study could not determine why the babies were born before 39 weeks — such as whether the moms had voluntarily decided to induce labor, or whether an underlying medical condition prompted the earlier birth — the findings add to the evidence that the traditional definition of full-term pregnancy may need revision,” Time reported.

“The results should help both mothers and doctors appreciate that not all ‘term’ infants are the same,” she says, especially when it comes to cognitive outcomes later in life; those couple of weeks between 37 and 39 weeks may make a bigger difference than previously thought. “As with many other good things in life, therefore, delaying delivery may be worth the wait,” she added.

Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.

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Vaginal Birth After Cesarean – Make an Informed Choice
Skin-to-Skin Contact Following a Cesarean

Summer Viritual Reading Club: Join the Fun and Help Your Child Succeed in School!

Did you know that reading to your chidlren is the best thing that you can do for their education? Kids that are read to consistently by their parents do better in school and on tests of math and English than children who did not have that experience.

Are you looking for something to do this summer with your kids while they are out of school?

This looks like such a fun idea!

Here’s the info from Inspiriation Laboratories, a blog about creativity and play for children.

My son and I love to read.  We enjoy finding new books and reading favorites over and over again.  Many of the activities we do are inspired by the books we read.  This summer we are joining a group of bloggers for a virtual book club.  Each month we will share books and activities from a different children’s author.

The Summer Virtual Book Club for Kids begins with Mo Willems as the featured author.

I must confess that I have only read a couple of his books and I have yet to read any of them with my son…so I am very excited about this!

Would you like to join us?

  1. Choose a book by Mo Willems.  {Have your kids help you pick a new one or choose your favorite to read.}
  2. Be inspired by the book and complete a related activity {project, craft, recipe, etc.}.
  3. On Monday, June 18th, come here to share your book and activities at our Mo Willems Blog Hop.

To get inspired, I’ve compiled a list of books by Mo Willems.  So many from which to choose!!

1. Don’t let the Pidgeon Drive the Bus!

2. Knuffle Bunny

3. We are in a Book!

4. Cat the Cat, Who is that?

5. Don’t let the Pigeon Stay up Late!

That’s just five of them. If you want to see the rest go to Inspiration Laboratories or to any other online bookstore, in person bookstore or library!

Can an iTunes App Teach your Child to Speak? Parenting Magazine Thinks So

I was breezing through the March 2012 issue of Parenting Magazine and an article by Amy Beal entitled “Talking Points: The Latest News from the American Academy of Pediatrics” caught my eye. The article is informative enough and gives some good advice on children who may start speaking at a later than average age. Embedded in the article is a brief sentence on advice to parents when there is a concern. The advice is “The best way to encourage speech: talk and read to your child yourself – a lot.” I’m doubtful most parents make it that far into the article.

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This brief sentence buried in the fine print is the best advice that can be given. Children learn to speak by hearing other adults speak and by modeling of speach. The only way children are going to learn to speak is by hearing other people speak. Speaking slowly, mimicking what the child is saying, reinforcing speech through positive reinforcement: these are all ways to help children produce speech. Here’s a good piece on ways to teach your baby language naturally on iVillage published in 2011. (Baby talk: 8 easy and fun ways to improve you baby’s language skills.) The tips include: talking to your baby, respond to your baby’s cries,  have “conversations with your baby,” talk naturally to your baby, extend her language and describe what you see her doing, sing songs, read books, etc. You’ll notice that technology didn’t make its way into the tips.

READING BOOKS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR CHILD’S LANGUAGE SKILLS.

Reading to your child is the greatest predictor of academic success later in life. The more children are read to as young children, the better they do in school later. Make time in your day to read to your child.

As proof of this point, I was just reading in a sociology textbook about children who were not exposed to language for the first several years of their lives. One was the case of a girl who was locked in the attic with her deaf mother for the first six years of her life. Sociologists use this case as an example of understanding that language is not something that will be acquired simply by being born – it must be learned from the environment and particularly from the child’s caregivers.

My Outrage? iPhone as Speech Therapist.

This brief article was an okay overview of speech delays. What outraged me about the page in the magazine was the little “speech bubble” in the upper right hand corner that has a baby pointing to it. The little bubble says “Speech Therapy! Parents are raving about the First Words app. ($2: itunes.com). It is bright, it will capture the reader’s eye and it may be the only thing a reader sees and takes away from this page.

I almost had a heart attack when I saw this bubble. Why on earth is Parenting Magazine promoting an iTunes app to teach your baby to speak, especially given the information that was just provided that tells readers that babies learn to speak from other humans?

Let’s take a look at the many problems in this brief little advertising gimmick:

What is a parent more likely to do? Read the whole article in small print or read the speech bubble that tells you an iTunes app will teach your child to speak?

  1. Is it just me or isn’t it slightly irresponsible for Parenting Magazine to promote a $2.00 iTunes app as “Speech Therapy.”
  2. Apps are super popular, right? If you were a parent of a child with a slight delay in speech, wouldn’t you pick up your iPhone and download the app? What parent wouldn’t? (Well, I wouldn’t but that’s just me and hopefully some other mothers and fathers out there.) The majority would though, I’d bet. I’ve seen a lot of parents  grasp at any straw they can when it comes to a developmental issue with their child.
  3. Doesn’t the green bubble directly contradict what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends? The article and what we know about speech development recommends that parents and other humans teach children to speak, not phones. Any time spent that the child spends looking at an iPhone or some other electronic device is time that is not spent face-to-face with a human being.
  4. Speech therapists are probably not using things like iPhone apps to teach children to learn to speak. When I was observing speech therapists who were working with young children I did not see any electronic devices. (Granted that was 10 years ago, but I doubt things have changed that much, especially when it comes to small children, birth to three.)

As a society we need to separate out the sexy allure of technology from parenting in ways that are natural and proven to be effective. There’s an unethical blending of the two that occurs, particularly in the media.

Years of experience show us that the media is the strongest influence over how a society develops and identifies itself. Let us not be consumed and swayed by that.

If we as consumers of the media fall pray to such irresponsible advertising, especially when it comes to our most precious commodity – our children – then I am very worried about the future. Please act responsibly and be an informed and discriminating consumer of the media. There is no panacea for things like speech delay and speech acquisition. If a $2.00 iTunes app could solve the problems of child speech delays then there would be no need for speech therapists and there would be very few children with speech delays.

It’s a gimmick and it leads parents to believe that technology is the answer…even when it’s not.

Furthermore, wouldn’t you rather teach your child to speak than a telephone app?

I know I would.

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