Verbal Twins

I hope you all had a good summer and a positive transition to school!  Here is an activity for you and your child if s/he is auditory and likes to talk.  This will be a listening/speaking game.  It is called, “Verbal Twins.”

First, here are some Visual twins to show your child.

ID-10065955Image by David Castillo Dominici,
Free Digital Photos.net

Now, introduce your child to twin words:  they sound alike, but are different.  If you have some picture books to use, show your child that the sounds are the same, but the pictures are not.


I and EYE



Here are two more subtle ones, if your child gets the hang of it.

CAN  “I CAN” do it.”            “Look at this CAN of tomatoes.”

“It’s hard to BEAT a BEET.”


Tell me what’s new with you, at liseand@aol.com

Onward and Upward

I have  been moving onward and upward, and have enrolled in a distance educational doctorate program.  It’s at NorthCentral University, and hard work, but rewarding.  I’ll be continuing my blog, but have to cut back a bit.  My thesis will explore creative learning as a counterbalance to all the “Teaching to the Test” activity.  Please keep me posted about your activities.  I miss you all!




Little Village


Life is full of patterns.  When a baby first learns to talk, he or she creates sounds that often have a pattern, such as “Ba Ba Ba – Ma Ma Ma  – DAH!  Poems make patterns with rhymes and rhythms and children’s nursery rhymes do the same, in a simpler way.

“Mary had a little lamb,

Mary had a little lamb

Its fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.”

Here we have two auditory patterns:  the repetition of the letter “l” and the rhyme of”snow” and “go.”



Below that, is an audio/visual pattern.  Writing music is a different code.  You can explain some basics to your child.  “Up” in the picture is a higher note than “down.”  If you have a piano or other instrument you can demonstrate this.  Also, see if you can point out the musical pattern of this Adagio by Mozart.  It consists of a long note  followed by several notes that move downward.

Here is another visual pattern.   Point out the variations in the thickness of the lines that make up this cross.RIGHT ENDED CROSS


And here is a nice restful spot for you and your child.  See if you can recognize this sideways image from our logo.



ç 2014 Lise Liepmann.  Contact me: liseand@aol.com or google my name, Lise Liepmann.




Play and Learn

Here is a segment of an outstanding article posted by the Creative Learning Center located at 160 Avenue of the Commons in Shrewsbury, NJ.  It was written by Bonnie Pauska, on 11/10/13.  The title is “Why is it important for children to be involved in the arts?”

“Art, music, drama and dance are some of the best ways to promote literacy and brain development in early childhood education.  The right hemisphere of our brain is activated when we participate in creative and intuitive activities.  Arts offer young children open-ended playful types of activities with an emphasis on “hands-on” active learning.  While engaged in art experiences, all the domains of learning are being developed, from cognitive to social-emotional to fine motor and multi-sensory skills.

Here’s a fun art project…We call it Fluffy Goop.

1)  Have an adult pour about 1/2 cup white glue into a small bowl.

2)  Let (the) child add shaving cream on top until it mounds slightly.

3)  Encourage (the) child to mix it up by whipping the glue and shaving cream with a spoon until it’s smooth and thick.

4) (He or she) may add food coloring or powdered paint …to the mixture.

5)(The child) can spoon the goop onto paper or cardboard and spread it around with a brush or fingers.

6)(The child) may want to add sequins, beads, feathers or other items to the mixture.”

Think of all the skills (the) child will develop through this activity!  Measurement, sequencing, sensory skills, eye-hand coordination, self-expression, new vocabulary and listening skills, (as well as) the joy of creativity and the satisfaction of mastery.”


Here is a child enjoying  some edible goop!

ID-10055293 boy eating                                                                 Image:  Boy Eating Cream Puff – Free Digital Photo.net, Stuart Miles

I’ll be the Mommy.

Let’s switch roles a minute and see what happens when your child, three-year-old Patrick, is the Mommy.

Patrick:  OK, Mommy/Patrick, what was the most fun in school today?

Mommy/Patrick:  Recess.

Patrick:  Come on, don’t be silly..

Mommy/Patrick:  You told me you learned about families.  Are these pictures like our family?

Patrick:  I don’t know.

Mommy:   Look at these families of flowers.


First, you pick the last name.

Patrick:  Nice.

Mommy:  Shall we call it the Nice Family?  How do you know they are brothers and sisters?

Patrick:  Because they all look some alike, but not exactly.

Mommy:  Good!  Words can do that too.

Patrick:  How?

Mommy:  Here’s a “word family” with the last name “AT.” ” Sat.  Cat.  Mat.

Patrick:  The cat sat on the mat.

Mommy:  Very good.  Shall we write it down?

Patrick:  Next time.  Here’s another one.  “Fun.  Bun.  Sun.”

Mommy:  Next time we’ll write that one too.  Give me one more.

Patrick:  Ho.  Ho.  Ho.

Mommy:  It has to make sense.  Bee, See.

Patrick:  I can see the bee.  Wheee!

Mommy:  Good!  Later we can do some more, if you want.

Patrick:  OK.  I like it.

Note:  Patrick is beginning to combine words so they have a meaning.  It’s easier if the words match the sounds.




© 2014 Lise Liepmann All rights reserved

 Contact me:  liseand@aol.com   or google my name:  Lise Liepmann






More About Words


Some young children are afraid to write their own books.  Several kindergarten children asked me, “What should I do if I make a mistake?”  Here’s the answer.  We all make mistakes and it doesn’t matter how old you are.  Here is a mistake printed in some copies of the book called “Babar.”  Ask your son, let’s call him Johnny, if he can point to the text as you read it aloud.

Jean de Brunhoff

by Jean de Brunhoff

Mom: (reading from the book)  The Story of Babar, the Little Elephant

“In the great forest, a little elephant was born.  His name was Babar.  His mother loved him dearly and used to rock him to sleep with her trunk, singing to him softly in the while.”  To  correct the mistake, the writer should say “singing to him softly all the while,” not “singing to him softly in the while.”

Johnny:  Do I need to start over?

Mom:  No, what many writers do is put a number next to the mistake, and then put the same number on another blank page and write the correction.  Suppose I write for you, “My mane is Johnny” instead of “My name is Johnny.”  On your first page, you write “My mane is Johnny” and next to it you write ” #1.  On your correction page, you write #1, “My name is Johnny.”  and then you put the corrected page in your book next to the other pages.  And guess what?  You wrote a word with  another meaning.  Do you know what mane is?  It means the hair on a horse’s neck.

Johnny:  Really?

Mom:  Really.  And here is another one.  You could call it a twin word.

Johnny:  What is it?

Mom:  Bear, Bare.  Bear, the animal, Bare, with no clothes.  Can you think of another twin?

Johnny:  It’s hard.

Mom:  Here’s a good twin.  “Brake” on your bike, and “Break” a toy.

Johnny:  Tell me some more.

Mom:  OK.  But you try to give me the meanings.  Beat and Beet.

Johnny:  Boom, Boom.  Drum.

Mom:  And the twin is a food you don’t like.  A beet.

Johnny:  Ick.

Mom: Heal someone who is sick, like a doctor.  And…

Johnny:  I got a twin!  Heel on your shoe.

Mom:  Great!  Now I have one just for you.  “Sun.”  You are my son, and you shine for me like the sun in the sky.

Johnny gives her a hug.


© 2014 Lise Liepmann All rights reserved

 Contact me:  liseand@aol.com   or google my name:  Lise Liepmann







Speaking and Writing

Last time, we played with Patrick as he learned to connect speaking and seeing, in a book.  Now we can connect a child’s speaking with what he or she want to write down.   Here is Jeanette, doing just that.

girl writing and speaking

MOM:  How was school today?

JEANETTE:  I wish I had a brother or sister.

MOM:  Wow!!

JEANETTE:  Then I’d have someone to play with at home.

MOM:  OK.  Which do you want first?

JEANETTE:  A sister.  So I could teach her things.

MOM:  What’s her name?  Can we call her Anna?

JEANETTE:  I’ll show you.  (Jeanette draws a picture of a banana, using a yellow crayon from her pencil box.)

MOMThat’s Anna?

JEANETTE:  Yes, Mom.  It’s Anna Banana.  (Both laugh)

MOM:  Actually, I think Anna Banana is a real person, but you can use the  banana name if you want.  Draw me another picture.

JEANETTE:  I’m going to do her again in green. (She picks up a green pencil from her pencil box and draws a green banana on a piece of  blank paper as she says “Anna Banana.  Anna Banana.  Anna Banana.”)

MOM:  Good. Do you want her to talk back to you?

JEANETTE:  Can she do that?

MOM:  Yes, if we help her.  (Mom turns to Jeannette and speaks in a soft voice)  Jeanette.  Will you be my big sister?

JEANETTE:  That will be fun!  What would you like to play?

MOM: (speaking as Anna)  We could play “Head/Body/Legs”  Shall I start?

Jeanette nods her head. 

MOM:  (as Anna.  She takes another clean piece of paper and a purple pencil from Jeanette’s pencil box and draws a big, funny head, which she hides from Jeanette.  She fold it over and hands it to Jeanette.  Then as Anna, Mom says

I drew the head.  Now, you do the body, but don’t let me see it.

JEANETTE:  (picks up a blue pencil, and draws a big fat body, folds it over and hands it to Mom)  Here you go. ( Mom draws some long legs with a black pencil, folds the paper and then hands it back to Jeanette, who unfolds it and bursts out laughing.)  We DID it!!

MOM:  Let’s write down what we just did. (Mom writes as they speak.) You were using your colored pencils…

JEANETTE:  And I made “Anna” as a green banana.

MOM: Then, we played “Head/Body/Legs and we used other colors.

JEANETTE:  Purple, Blue, and Black. What goes on the cover?

MOM:  (taking another piece of blank paper and the black pencil.)   Shall we call it “Jeanette and Anna Banana”?

JEANETTE:  No, let’s call it “Jeanette Plays With Anna Banana.”(Mom writes this title on the blank paper, clips it to the other papers, and hands it to Jeanette)

MOM:  Here’s the book we wrote.

JEANETTE:  Is that how they make books?

MOM:  Sometimes.

JEANETTE:  Yay!!!!  We made a book! Note:  Jeanette has learned that a book can show something that the author did that was fun to remember.


© 2014 Lise Liepmann All rights reserved

 Contact me:  liseand@aol.com   or Google my name:  Lise Liepmann


Photo © Darja Vorontsova | Dreamstime.com

Speak and See 2

Last time we talked about the alphabet song, and that the keys on our computer are not in alphabetical order.  There is a similar difference in hearing and speaking words.  They are two different processes, and a Pre-School child needs to be familiar with each of them.  Some children will do this easily, and others may  need a little help.  As a parent, you can help your child feel at ease with this important process.  Here is your two-year-old son, Patrick, talking to the cat.

Patrick:  Meow, Meow, Meow.

Mom:  You sound just like the kitty,  What other sounds does she make?

Patrick:  Prrr.  Prrr.  Prrr.

Mom: Good!  How would you say, “Prrr.  Prrr” in words?

Patrick:  Your fur is soft.  It feels good.

Mom:  Terrific.  Your  kitty feels good and so do you!  What about if you step on her tail and she says, “Eeeaw.”  What is she saying?

Patrick:  “Don’t do that.  You hurt me.”

Mom:  You see that?  You two are talking in Kitty’s language.  You could also stroke her and write down what you said.

Patrick: (As he strokes the cat.)  How do I write it down?

Mom  (She writes with a pencil on a blank piece of paper, and speaks as she writes.)  Like this: Prrr.  Prrr.  Prrr.

Patrick: Let me try that.  (She hands him the paper and pencil.  She guides his hand as he writes awkwardly.)  Prrr, Prrr, Prrr.

Mom:  We can practice.  The good thing is, anyone who can read will be able to say that to Kitty.  Take your paper, and say it out loud.

(Patrick points to each word in the book as he  says it)

Patrick:  Prrr, Prrr, Prrr.

Mom:  That’s very good, Patrick.

Patrick:  But I said it from the book.

Mom:  That’s one way to read.  We can do some more tomorrow.

boy seeing and reading

Note:  Patrick is exploring sound as communication, and has made the connection between speaking and the printed word.

Picture from Dreamstime.com

© 2014 Lise Liepmann All rights reserved

 Contact me:  liseand@aol.com  

            Or google my name:  Lise Liepmann



Beyond the Alphabet Song – Speak and See 1mom_son_read_3828070_2_H

Many parents are proud that their children “know all their letters “ at two years old, but the English language has many exceptions, especially with the pronunciation of long and short vowels.  You can say “a” as in “ate” or “a” as in “at”. You can say “e” as in “elephant” or “e” as in “eat.”  A child needs to be aware of the meaning, the sound, and the look of the letter on the page.  Here is a little vignette between a three-year-old called Bruce and his mother.

Mom:  Hon – do you remember the “Alphabet Song?”

Bruce:  Of course.  We sing it every day in school, about 100 times.  It gets boring.

Mom:  Well, sing it one more time.  I want to show you something.

 Bruce sings – Mom joins in.



Q R S; T U V

W;X;Y and Z

Bruce:  Why is “LMNOP” so fast?

Mom:  So it will fit with the music.

Comment:  This is a correct answer, but it has to do with the meter of the song, and nothing to do with speaking or seeing the letters.

Bruce:  Now I know my ABC’s.  Next time, won’t you sing with me?”  Only you did sing with me.

Mom:  Let me show you something.  It’s about sounds.    Look at these words.  (She hands him a paper with this sentence on it in big letters.)


Bruce: You know I can’t read, Mom.

Mom:  Listen to me, Brucie.  (She reads the sentence slowly and clearly)  annie ate an ant.  Yuck!!!

Bruce:  Yuck!  Yuck!  Yuck!

Mom:  Now say this after me.  What do you notice?

annie – an –  ant.  Do any of them sound the same?

Bruce:  Yeah.  I hear “a” (sound  as in “annie)  And a different one. “a”  (sound as in  “ate.”)

Mom:  Do they look the same?

Bruce:  These look the same!!! (He points to the “a” letter in “annie” and the “a” letter in “an”.”  Is the “a” for “annie” or for “ant”?

Mom:  For both of them.

Comment:  Another source of confusion.  Why should the “a” that Bruce sees have different sounds?  Mom may have to explain this as well.

Mom:  And here’s another one.  (She points to the “a” letter in “ant.”)

Bruce:  Mom, you’re so smart!

Mom:  No, Bruce, you’re the smart one!

Comment:  Again, the English pronunciation has many exceptions.  Take the Letter “o”  in this sentence. “The otter ate the cookie.  Uh Oh!” Once again, Bruce just has to learn this, and not through his ear and eye.  So the  alphabet song can teach him the letters of the alphabet, but the sound and the look of the letter are a different process.  When a child learns to read, he has to master this process,  just as he will learn that the arrangement of letters on his computer keyboard is derived from a tactile process that is not the same as the letters of the alphabet in the “Alphabet Song.”


© 2013 Lise Liepmann All rights reserved

 Contact me:  liseand@aol.com   or google my name:  Lise Liepmann


Learning from "Baby Languages"

Look at  Yoda vs. Piaget: Creativity and Recipes  by J.K.Holland

This article was printed in the publication, ” Inside Pre-K.”  The author, J.K. Holland, is a master teacher who is also a professional artist.

J. K. Holland states that sometimes he sees his role as Yoda for the pre-k set.  “Trust yourself, Luke.  Use your creativity.”  He goes on to discuss the  difficulties that discourage young children from using their natural creativity.  These include put-downs by friends so the children think:  ” I want to fit in with my friends and none of them are creative, I should probably not be creative either.”

Holland references Piaget, who differentiated between the pre-operational stage of child development and the later stage of concrete operations.  He writes that a child who sees 4 apples as only 4 apples is denying the fact that 4 apples can be cut in half and…

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