Animated Literacy by Jim Stone M. Ed

Wonderful workshop

Kids finding meaning and having fun while learning to read, write and improve their oral language.

Animated LiteracyI attended this informative workshop on December 10th and 11th 2015. Jim Stone’s program provides creative ways to move children from the earliest stages of literacy to proficiency and independence in reading and writing. He demonstrated how to help children rise from simple, to increasingly complex language skills, by implementing the universal stages of language development. He provides a stimulating , fun and emotionally supportive environment. Techniques include use of books, storytelling, songs, gestures, drawing and sound manipulation activities. Children develop an awareness of the sounds that letters make, e.g. “What sound does “P” make?. They also develop word recognition, vocabulary, writing skills, listening and reading comprehension.

Stages of language development move from copying gestures and facial expressions, to cooing vowel sounds to babbling syllables to producing first words. The first words are “one- word “ sentences filled with meaning, movement and emotion. Once children have approximately 50 words in their vocabulary, two word phrases begin. Once children begin to use 3 word sentences, high frequency words such as “on “, “in”, “the” and “a”, emerge.

Gesturing and singing to connect letters to their sounds

Jim Stone’s “Animated Literacy” connects the sounds of speech to gestures that are introduced through stories, songs and about 45 “Animated Alphabet” characters.

The songs and stories are rich in emotion, movement and vocabulary. For example, children learn the “P” sound while gesturing painting with Polly Panda. They learn the “U” sound by pointing up to Uncle Upton. As each character is introduced, children are read high quality literature and informational text. As each sound and gesture are introduced, children are taught to substitute it for a sound in a key word in a pattern song. Five songs are included in the “Animated Literacy” program for sound substitution and manipulation activities. For example, in Are You Sleeping, the children sing “Ping Pong Ping” in place of “Ding Dong Ding” if they are learning the “P” sound.

Drawing and labelling to assist with reading

As soon as two sounds/ gestures have been introduced, the one word stage of written language development is modeled. For example, once the “P” and the “U” have been taught, children learn to connect sounds to letters in order to draw and label a “PUP”. Through the process of guided drawing and labelling, children connect both meaning and visual imagery to each new word and access their prior knowledge and experiences that relate to the picture. As with oral language development, once children are successful at reading and writing single words, two word phrases are modelled and encouraged. Kids are asked to describe their drawings and name actions that the objects in their drawings might be doing, thus, creating adjectives and verbs! For example, “little pup”, “tail wags”.

Jim Stone had us all gesturing , singing and drawing during the workshop. It was meaningful and fun ! Looking forward to incorporating his program with my clients.
Modifications to suit individual needs will be made. Contact me if your child is experiencing difficulty with oral language as well as with reading.


Does Your Child Stutter?

Does Your Child Stutter?Your child may have a stuttering problem if s/he has difficulty speaking and has a tendency to hesitate on, or repeat certain syllables, words, or phrases.

Alternatively, s/he may simply be going through a period of normal dysfluency that many children experience as they learn to speak.

The following chart illustrates some of the signs of normal dysfluencies vs. signs of true stuttering. The characteristics are similar, however, care is taken to distinguish between the two.

Normal Dysfluencies

Atypical Dysfluencies

1. Dysfluencies include:

  • hesitations
  • interjections (e.g. “um” “uh”)
  • revisions
  • unfinished words
  • phrase repetitions
  • easy part/whole word repetitions
1. Dysfluencies include:

  • numerous part/ whole word repetitions
  • sound prolongations (eg. “mmmmmyyy”)
  • temporary blocks (physical tension and a buildup of pressure, and no air or sound comes out).
2. Dysfluencies occur on:

  • short words
  • first word of a sentence
2. Dysfluencies occur on:

  • important words
  • throughout the sentence
3. Dysfluencies come and go. 3. Dysfluencies are present most of the time or appear suddenly.
4. Dysfluencies occur when the child:

  • is excited
  • is upset
4. Dyfluencies occur:

  • in specific situations
  • with certain people
  • on specific words or sounds
5. The child shows:

  • no awareness
  • no concern
  • no struggle behaviours
5. The child shows:

  • awareness
  • frustration
  • struggle behaviours
(information gathered from The Fluency Companion-/LinguiSystems 1994 and The Stuttering Foundation)