Hilltown Families


Learning a second language is a fun and exciting challenge for the brain. Since learning a second language is easiest during early childhood, language learning can be the perfect intergenerational pursuit for parents who want to expand their knowledge. Fluency in more than one language opens up career opportunities, as well as the ability to converse easily with a greater number of people, both at home and when traveling. But with over 3000 languages, how do you pick which one to learn?

Learning about Jewish culture and history often leads parents and children to conversations about their own family’s history, culture, and traditions. In celebration of Passover, families can connect to Jewish culture or personal Jewish heritage by speaking Yiddish!

Summertime requires a lot of organization. Some kids flourish with the structure of schedules, while others enjoy that bit of looseness in planning in order for some creativity to bud and grow. It’s never a bad thing to just take a time out and to do something a bit different on a consistent basis. It freshens things up and adds a constructive brand of spontaneity.

This month in “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills,” Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, speech-language pathologist Kahy Puckett has some great suggestions for introducing innovative language activities that require just a few minutes of commitment daily. Read on to learn how to harness this with some clever language activities that are completely manageable while maintaining a hectic schedule.

Being a newcomer to the world requires a lot of guidance, development and mentorship. In this month’s column, “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills,” Kathy looks and how she works with her new puppy, Cricket, and how handling her behavior takes the same kind of patience and caring she finds when working with young children.

How to build sustainable summer plans? Having buy-in at the summer planning phase from your children leads to a smoother and more enriching experience for everyone. By letting your children into the decision-making process you empower them and give them part-ownership in family activities. This month in “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills,” Kathy encourages families to allow children to contribute to their summer plans so they feel invested in outings and trips. In return, you just might be rewarded with their engagement and sweeter summer memories!

“We don’t learn in a straight ascending line,” writes Kathy this month in her column, “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills.” As the end of the school year looms on the horizon and emotions intensify with students, Kathy recommends trying to bring learning to a deep level with learned language skills in many setting beyond the therapy room. Patience and encouragement is key as kids move forward, slide back, and then move forward again.

“Memory effects every aspect of our learning,” writes Kathy this month in “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills.” “When working with children with memory difficulties, I tend to think about two aspects of long term memory: the information going in and getting stored, and the process of finding it and retrieving it so it can be used. Some things that help storage and recall include…

The Bridge to Summer None of us are great with change. The beginning of summer is a transition time for our kids and it helps to acknowledge that moving from the routines of the fall, winter, and spring to summer is a time of change. Going on trips, visiting relatives, going to camp or taking swimming lessons are very different from school. To really understand how our kids may feel, I immediately… Read More

Writing Skills: Putting Language Down on Paper I’m not an expert on writing skills, but I often find myself working with children who have difficulty getting ideas on paper. I start by reviewing the variety of skills and processes involved in writing. First, a writer must gather ideas, take notes from readings, and make choices about which ideas are important enough to include in the writing. Then they need to organize these… Read More

Apps that Increase Children’s Vocabulary I once had a teen client who had the most amazing ideas and insights. He was one of those kids who really cared about people and thought about things deeply. I always considered it a gift to work with him. So why did he need speech and language services? Unfortunately, he had a very small repertoire of vocabulary words and he couldn’t access the very reading material… Read More

Narratives: What did you do today? Have you ever tried to find out about your children’s daily experiences? Well, of course, teenagers rarely want to share their day with an adult, but younger children do. For some kids this is one of the hardest things to do. Why is that? It seems like such a simple thing to do! Well, let’s think about it. Telling a story pulls all kinds of language… Read More

Grammarsizes When kids are little, we enjoy the quirky ways they express their ideas. We hear them say funny, ungrammatical things, and it delights us to hear them grapple with the English language. These errors show a developing repertoire of grammatical forms. When they say “mans” and “falled,” they show an understanding of the underlying rules of English grammar. They’ve listened to language around them enough to simplify and use morphological rules… Read More

Speech Articulation It’s holiday vacation time and family time! Hooray! This is a good time to check out our children’s communication skills. But how is a parent to know what is typical? Children go through steps to learn to articulate speech sounds just like the steps children take to develop motor skills for learning to walk (crawling, standing, walking while holding on to furniture, taking steps independently) or learning to write cursive… Read More

The Language of Emotion I work with children who can’t communicate their feelings easily. Some children who can’t speak at all give up on using subtle behaviors because they’re ignored or misunderstood by others. They may use extreme behaviors to get others’ attention. If these children are taught effective ways to express their feelings, negative behaviors often diminish or even disappear. Our feelings always come out, one way or another! As a… Read More

Social Skills: Time to Share! There’s a buzz about social skills these days. There’s such a tendency for all of us to be so involved with technology that we have less time for face-to-face social experiences. A few years ago, I read all of my grandfather’s diaries, from the turn of the century until the 1970s. I was amazed at his social life as a teacher in New York City! Every night… Read More

Apps for Back-to-School Now that we are all back to school, I thought it would be fun to talk about educational activities on the iPad or iPhone to support children’s learning at school. This year, I have switched my speech and language materials from books and software programs to apps for my iPad, in order to be more mobile and spontaneous with my therapies (Of course, I love that the kids are… Read More

In our column, “Time to Talk: Supporting Children’s Language Skills,” speech language pathologist Kathy Puckett shares six pre-reading activities parents can do with their young children…

Five Speech and Language Games for Travel Since it’s summer and lots of families are on the move, I wanted to suggest a few language games to parents that support the development of language and reading skills. Why language games? I think of children playing games like I think of baby animals playing. It all looks like lots of fun, but built into language play are skills for survival and success in… Read More

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