The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 4, 2013

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The Mankato Free Press

---- — HED: Building a bigger, better vocabulary

In this week's early childhood education showcase, Mankato's READY! for Kindergarten program offers insight and advice for building your child's vocabulary:

Target skill: Child can accurately repeat sounds heard in words. Child is working toward a 5,000 word vocabulary.

Spotlight on research: Before learning to read, children must be aware of the various sounds within words. This includes basic listening skills, the acquisition of vocabulary and the ability to imitate basic sentence structure. Phonics is the relationships between letters and the sounds of spoken language.

Infants and toddlers: Talk, talk, talk to your babies and toddlers. Narrating your day will help your child to name things in the environment, understand the routines of their day and begin to imitate your sounds. When toddlers start imitating your sounds help them to accurately repeat what you say.

Preschoolers: Name items in the grocery store to add to vocabulary and practice recognizing beginning and ending sounds or play copy-cat with your child using nonsense words. Choose books that focus on sounds such as Dr. Seuss stories or poetry. Songs, rhymes and stories all lead to increased vocabulary. Board games give children a great opportunity to learn new words, how to follow directions and practice letters and numbers as well.

HED: Virtual pillbox tracks meds For dementia patients

Balance, an iPhone app ($3.99), was released last month by the New York-based National Alzheimer Center as a way to track dosages of medications used to treat Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, which can affect a person's memory and behavior.

A virtual pillbox, the app lists medications, dosages and the time of day each treatment should be taken. Users can mark a check box when a pill has been swallowed, making the app a useful tool for a caregiver to communicate with a patient or doctor and for multiple caregivers to communicate with each other. The app includes a schedule that alerts users to dose times and doctor's appointments.

The app also allows caregivers to track a patient's physical, behavioral and emotional changes, manage doctor's notes, find caregiving tips and read articles relating to the disease.