Once upon a time ….. everyone read to their kids … everyday!

We all know many stories begin with these words, “Once upon a time.” My story, though, is a little different, and quite frankly, surprising. Let me begin with a little introduction. When I was a teenager, I developed a strange lump in my right leg. Many years later it was diagnosed, by doctors in Johns Hopkins Hospital, as a hemangioma. (It just means there are extra blood vessels in my leg creating poor circulation. I have never been interested in the field of science, or medicine, and this post is not about anything medical. I promise!)

Through the years, though, blood clots have formed in that leg several times. One fall, I needed a re-eval to be sure the clot from the previous year had completely dissolved. A Doppler study uses sound waves to measure and detect any such masses, much like the process of searching to find lost ships at sea. As the tech began, he and I started to chat. He learned that I was a Pre-K teacher (2007) and that my role was to help prepare children to enter Kindergarten “ready to learn,” the following fall. When he asked me about the “one thing” that would help his young children, I said, “Read aloud to them.”

“Really?” he responded. “By the time my wife and I get home in the evenings, eat dinner, get the kids in the tub, and in the bed, we are wiped out.”

This comment made me very sad.

Here is the point of this blog:  As an educator of preschool children, for the past seven years,  I’m concerned that some parents are not reading to their young children as often as parents did years ago.

May I just encourage you to read to, and with, your children …. often?

Believe me, I understand when people say, “I’m just so busy.” Man, oh man, I get crazy busy myself!

However, when we think about young children learning pre-reading skills, and even getting excited about and interested in learning to read by themselves, reading to them is such a vital, and rich learning opportunity. There are so many ways to use that time to help children improve cognitive skills, learn new vocabulary, make predictions, and draw conclusions, and even learn to express their own thoughts and feelings. I always enjoy reading with different voices for each character too. Children love it, when we make it fun!!  (Perhaps, I should blog more on this another day.)

As educators we are encouraged to create print rich environments in our classrooms, but parents can do this at home too in many ways. There are many, many great books written for children and local librarians can be quite helpful in finding excellent literature for children. (And, those books are free!)

My story, as an idealist, would begin, “Once upon a time there was a land where every family read books to their children every evening, even as they got older.”

And, the end of the book would read, “They grew up reading (and learning about strange medical conditions all by themselves) happily ever after.”

Please note I am passionate about this issue, and I would love for you to consider buying my book. It was a pleasure to create it, and the children in my preschool have enjoyed it for several years. If you are interested in a book patterned after The Cat in the Hat, check it out. I have a sequel, too, which I hope to publish soon. Happy reading!

http://blur.by/1aKjADN      BCB Cat in Tub Image for Bookwire from Blurb




I’m dreaming of … writing many children’s books

Ever since I started this blog, my intent has been to write about hearing loss to inform and educate people about the challenges of the hearing impaired. I’ve also heard myself saying, “Someday I’ll write a book, too.” To date, I have written about 4 chapters of that book for adults, and I have finished another one for young children. Wouldn’t it be great for parents, and educators, to have a conversation starter (my new book), to help young children begin to understand that my hearing aids really aren’t ear buds to listen to music? (Talk about “shaking my head!”)  I am patiently waiting for my second children’s picture book to be copyrighted.

In the meantime, my first children’s picture book, is back on a website and available for sale. I guess you could call it my debut into becoming an author. The title of that book is The Cat in theTub by Ms Barb, Bub, and this is how it developed over about 5 years:

BCB Cat in Tub Image for Bookwire from Blurb

I have been teaching at a private preschool for over 6 years, working with 4 year old children getting them ready to enter Kindergarten the next academic year. Every March, we teach a Literature unit. I enjoy teaching the children about nursery rhymes, and of course, we celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Who doesn’t love The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, right?  (I have even dressed up in costume and visited them, as “The Cat in the Hat.” It’s a lot of fun!)

About 4 years ago, my director came into my class one Friday morning to show me a photograph on her camera of an adorable gray tabby. “Would you be interested in adopting her?” You guessed it, I brought her home that night. My family and I quickly learned that this kitty was “especially silly,” as she enjoyed playing with all sorts of “interesting things” around the house. Ever since she was very little she’d play with water. First, I had to buy her a weighed dog dish, so she’d stop knocking over the water bowl. And, she’d play with rubber bands (don’t worry they were the thick ones) and drop them into her water bowl, just so she could enjoy fishing them back out of there! Then, she discovered how fun it was to “visit mom” while she (Yes, me!) was taking a bath. Oh my goodness! I began taking photographs of her shinnanagins in the bathroom, and I made the comment, “I don’t have ‘The cat in the hat,’ I have ‘The cat in the tub.’ And from there the idea just grew. As I played with rhyming text, and made several drafts of the book, my students really encouraged me to get it copyrighted, and self-published. I’m so glad I did!! Their joy ever since they have bought a copy of the book, (and before) has been worth all the hard work to publish it. You know the saying, “It is more blessed to give, than to receive?” It is really true! Many adorable responses!!

Interestingly, yesterday I had an opportunity to travel to New York City and I visited this exhibit in the New York Public Library:


 An educator I have always enjoyed sharing good literature with children, and now my dream is to create books that enrich vocabulary as well as entertain children, as their literacy skills develop. I pray more and more families realize how important it is to make time in their schedule to read to their children on a daily basis. Believe me, as a parent I know how busy life gets, but we always took time to read to our son.

A young adult friend of mine recently wrote this, when she saw the link to this exhibit on my Facebook page:

 “Yes children’s books and reading to children matter a lot! I read because my parents spent a lot of time reading to me. They would hold the book and let me see and follow along. When reading Hop on Pop it finally clicked that those symbol things matched the words I was hearing. It was a great moment! fast-forward a few decades and I have 1,000+ books I love so much I carried them across the continent!” 

Interested in purchasing a copy of my book?


Follow more updates on Barb’s Books at https://www.facebook.com/BarbCollinsBooks

Looky!! Looky!!

Can you SEE what I SEE?

IMG_1717    IMG_1718

Who wants to be the first to call me on my new Caption Call telephone? Whatever you say will be transformed into captions…..YEAH!! I’ll be able to SEE what you are saying!!

I will be using the phone again!!

And, because of my hearing loss, I was eligible to get it FOR FREE!!!!

I needed my audiologist to sign some paperwork saying that I, indeed, have a significant loss, and completed some other paperwork on their website, and one thing lead to another and ….now “she is here!”

I also needed to provide ID, and make an appointment for the tech to come set it up, and show me how it works.


Mishaps … when something isn’t heard correctly

A woman asked a baker, “Please place a photo of my daughter on a graduation cake, and put a cap on her head.” (This is my summary of what the woman probably said.)

Before I share the link, let me explain about voiced sounds and unvoiced sounds.

If were you to pronounce the sounds of these letters you’d notice all you are doing is producing air from your lips: Try it, say the sounds each letter makes. Ready?
Say these sounds: S F H P

(We haven’t even begun trying blends such as SH, or WH …)

So why is it hard to discriminate between Cap and Cat? P is a silent UNVOICED sound …. but T is a VOICED sound. I wonder if the woman called the baker on the telephone, if she was very busy, or if she had a hearing loss. Of course, you might think why didn’t she put two and two together? After all, the baker was to write “Congratulations” on the cake.

Maybe she thought the woman just published a book about her cat!! After all that’s what I just did, and I’d love the cake!! (Just don’t tell my Weight Watcher friends!)


Situations I never put myself in …..

We all know that some women avoid going to certain places by themselves, especially at night, for obvious reasons.

As a hearing impaired person, there are some things I just never do because I know I would have a difficult time hearing anyone in that environment.

Yesterday, a dear friend came to pick me up to give me a ride to a restaurant, because my son had my car for the day. Eight of us were getting together for tea and conversation, and in my mind, to celebrate the start of summer. Yeah, I love getting together with the gals!

As she pulled up next to me, the first thing I noticed were both front windows were down and the sunroof was wide open. Hey, I have a sunroof on my car too, and I completely understand how delightful it is to enjoy fresh air on a day when the temperature is in the low 80′s. Just lovely, especially when I am by myself, and I don’t want to listen to a CD or anything on the radio.

When I sat down in the passenger seat and we said our ‘Hellos,” I heard another voice, coming from an electronic device. It was her GPS, and it was moderately loud. As we start driving away, I can tell my ears will be competing with the sound of traffic, the rush of wind outside the car windows, the GPS, and my girlfriend’s voice. “Be patient,” I tell myself, “You can manage. Just remember to speak up about your needs if you have trouble hearing her. She’s a nice person, and she’ll understand.”

Then, she pulls out her cell phone and begins talking to a woman who is behind us a few miles, also driving to the same restaurant. She was giving her directions as the GPS was giving us directions. Now I realize, “This is normal for folks with good hearing, but I would never do it!”

You understand, its no-one’s fault, nor was I upset in anyway. I just want family members, and friends, of the hearing impaired to understand that some situations like that are a tad difficult for those of us that have trouble hearing.

When she got off the phone, I told her I was taking notes for my bog, and we shared a good giggle over the whole thing. It was absolutely what she needed to do, especially since the GPS had a blast taking us around Robin’s barn! And, on the way back home, she did ask if it would help to shut the windows and turn on the AC, and we had a good chat.

See, I told you she was understanding!!

Lesson? I need to keep speaking up for my needs!!

There is hope!

Remember me, the hearing impaired lady trying to post anything related to hearing loss? Please forgive me for being “otherwise distracted.” Let’s just say that life has been very busy, just like your life I’m sure.

Anyway, I just wanted to share this story I just heard on the morning news show I watched today, about a surgery to help a three year old deaf boy hear:


I may need to research what this surgery involves, but the look on the boy’s face is really good to see!

Another ….. “unexpected adventure”

I surprised my guys with tickets to go see the movie The Hobbit. There we were on Christmas night, walking into the theater. Well, they walked in to the lobby to consider buying popcorn but I went right up to the box office because I wanted to get one of those “listening devices.” (Didn’t I just say this in the car? Okay, maybe I forgot the reminder on the way in the theater.) Anyway, after a few attempts of conservation with the lady behind the glass, (that’s always fun…trying to talk with someone with those echoing microphone through glass) she called a manager and I waited inside the lobby next to the back door of the box office. There must have been about 35 or so people milling about getting refreshments, and making their way to various theaters. My guys met me inside and decided they’d rather get good seats, before getting anything to eat. The manager showed up fairly soon. “Would you like the head phones, or the glasses?” I remembered, “Oh that’s right! With the glasses I can see captions right?” He gave me a nod and some quick instructions because the last time I used those, they didn’t work. (Let me digress for a quick second. I’m thinking about giving feedback about these little machines. From my perspective, it doesn’t make sense that you can only tell if the devices work once the movie starts. I mean if the commercials and the trailers stream across the big screen for eons, and you can’t take a “test run” with them BEFORE the movie starts, that means I have to walk out of the theater to find someone to help me figure out why it doesn’t work, and possibly wait for him to get me another one, while I miss the movie I just paid a lot of money to see!!) In this case, though, I opted to try the glasses again and went on my way to join my guys in the theater.  You’d think, easy now, right? This is when the fun started!

I gave the guy my ticket, he ripped it in half, and said, “To the right.” So, I went happily to the right in great anticipation of seeing the Shire once again! However, the theaters were numbered 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14. I started muttering to myself, “That guy didn’t know what he was talking about! My ticket said # 5 on it!” “Okay, I’m good,” I tell myself, “Just go down the other hallway.” Except when I get to theater number 5, it’s bad. I walked in looking for arms waving at me as if to say “We’re over here, love!” Nothing!! No-one to greet me! Hhhhmmm? Looking at the screen, I see Billy Crystal having a conversation with someone. This was no trailer. Once back in the hallway, I grabbed a woman passing by me and asked her. “Can you help me?” Thank God for folks who are good-natured. We both agree … The Hobbit, theater 5, is actually printed on the ticket. Excellent! We can rule out alzheimers!! Just then I realized I could use my cell phone, and text the guys. Of course, it was turned off because they want you to turn it off during the movie. Just as I started to text my DH, my phone vibrated. My son’s text read, “It’s actually theater NINE.”   OOOOHHHHHH!

Lessons learned?

1.  Once you figure them out, those glasses with the captions are very cool! (As I mentioned, above it would be nice to have a test run to make sure they are in good operating order {and to get used to how they work} before the movie begins).

2. Maybe they need listening devices so I can hear the guy ripping the tickets. The words FIVE and NINE sound so much alike. If he said,” Its theater NINE now, go to the right.” I never heard him say it! And maybe, just maybe I needed to walk back up to him (and trust I’d hear him instead of acting like Independent Ina), and ask, “Why did you say ‘Go to the right’?