The Junganew: A Herd of Sounds series was born out of the realization that many children feel insecure about learning their sounds, especially if they are typically developing children who are aware of their errors. I knew this was my opportunity to help children feel safe, and so I used animals to create a "curriculum" of stories to facilitate the learning process. By focusing on specific features of animals, the child can understand sounds with a whole new visual perspective. For instance, the sound of "S" is represented by Miss Snake because snakes often hiss. The "TH" sound is represented by Theo the tree frog because frogs stick their tongues out to catch flies as we slightly stick out our own tongues to produce this sound. This technique continues with all the sounds of the English language. Other examples include the "M" sound represented by the elephant for children to focus on the nose as this is a nasal sound. The "F" is our bunny sound because bunnies have large front teeth that go over the bottom lip as we are required to do to produce this sound. Each sound highlights a new character. Each habitat within the world of Junganew is also represented by the target sound in the specific position of the word that the child needs to learn. For example, when teaching the sound of "S" the characters go on a journey to Sand Central Station, Cocoon Coliseum, and the Funhouse of Ferris. Additionally, the target sound is represented by a theme based story line where our main character learns to overcome his challenges with the help of his friends. The lessons help children learn to feel empowered. When we take familiar topics such as Show and Tell where children learn "they are a success when they try their best", and Theater Productions while learning to "think good thoughts for good things to happen", children feel safe, entertained, alert, and ready to learn.
I have had incredible success using this strategy with thousands of children. I have shared this technique with other clinicians who have reported great success as well. Little did I know that this technique would also facilitate children with dyslexia. Here's how it works... let's say a child needs to read the word "SIT". This can pose difficulties in terms of the visual perceptual skills of children with dyslexia. Yet, when each sound is associated with an animal such as Miss Snake, Vowel the Owl, and Titi the Squirrel (who makes the 't' sound when eating nuts), children can easily manipulate these animals to begin to spell and read.
Junganew focuses on a traditional articulation therapy approach fostering the standard core curriculum for preschool through 2nd grade.The sound is taught within a social context using language immersive activities to teach concepts such as phonological awareness, auditory memory, auditory discrimination, describing, listening for clues, morphological endings such as plurals, and much more. Therefore, rather than introducing a sound in an isolated lesson, it is incorporated as part of an inclusive language-filled environment for functional communication.
This project utilizes evidence based practice referencing the works of Charles Van Riper, Speech Language Pathologist, Fred Rogers' social emotional curriculum, Dr. Robert Mehlilo's research in Left Brain/Right Brain Interaction, and Paul Dennison's Brain Gym.
The first in the series is available in the App Store for iPad at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id951050844
For more information visit us at www.junganew.com
A Junganew trailer can be viewed at https://youtu.be/7GXs0GN9UKU