“Play is the work of the child.” – Jo Ann Gramlich


Play is an essential part of learning and growth. Children are naturally inclined to explore and experience the world and parents stand as the most powerful reinforcers of their educational process. As the new normal hits, parents are worried about how this impacts their children’s learning process. In this week’s episode, Jo Ann Gramlich shares some expert advice on strengthening family connections, building effective & natural communication, honing children’s language skills, and making learning fun and informative. Parenting is the toughest but most satisfying job. Make your tasks easier with these tools, tips, and advice. Don’t miss out on today’s conversation!


Listen to the podcast here:


01:17 Finding Connections
11:54 Communicating Naturally
16:37 Parent-Child Special Bond
23:08 Tips For Increasing Language Skills
28:03 Communication Delays
34:02 Ideal Book
38:02 Learning Can Be Fun


Teach your children to master their expectations through fun learning and good communication. Tune in as @myexpectation and @JoAnnGramlich discuss facts, tools, and tips for better parenting.… Share on X





16:54 “Natural bonding is so important to develop self-esteem and self-confidence… Language and reading components are key predictors that come along with the interactions.” – Jo Ann Gramlich 

17:16 “Play is the work of the child.” – Jo Ann Gramlich 

26:37 “Take the time to listen to them (children) and respond.”  – Jo Ann Gramlich 

37:09 “The majority of learning between birth and five takes place within the daily routines… Exposure is key.” – Jo Ann Gramlich 

38:58 “Life’s experiences are the greatest teachers that we have.” – Art Costello



Meet Jo Ann:

Jo Ann Gramlich is a Speech-Language Pathologist who provides evaluation and remediation services for children with communication disorders in the Buffalo Public School District of Western New York.  She also provides speech-language therapy for children in early intervention and preschool programs. In addition, Jo Ann presents and speaks at both parent and parent educator training, group workshops, organizational and community events, and state conferences. This allows her the opportunity to connect with parents, caregivers, educators, and professionals from various agencies to help bring awareness of the importance of early intervention and language development for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. She wrote Talk, Play, and Read With Me Mommy, a wonderful resource for parents of young children. This book provides parents with stimulating and interactive activities and games that are developmentally appropriate.




Art Costello: Welcome to the Shower Epiphanies Podcast. Today, my guest is Jo Ann Gramlich and she is a speech pathologist, how would you say that Jo Ann?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Speech pathologists, speech-language pathologist.

Art Costello: Speech-language pathologist.

Jo Ann Gramlich: It’s a lot to say.

Art Costello: It is a lot to say for an old guy late in the day, but anyway, she is really simply spectacular. Her book is called “Talk, Play, and Read with Me Mommy.” I read it this past couple of days and it just really lit me on fire because so much about how we live in this world is based on the language that we use, but Jo Ann goes deeper, she goes into how it starts in your childhood and how we can nourish it and grow it. And I want her to tell us her story, how she got into this speech-language pathologist.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, thank you so much for having me on your show. I really appreciate it. So I am from Buffalo, New York, and I’ve lived here all my life. Once I graduated from high school, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. So I worked downtown in the offices in Buffalo, New York, there were offices and the general theme was where are you working now? Where are you working now? Because I could not connect to the scene at all. I was constantly job hopping and learning about myself as I was going, at the same time, my brothers and sisters were having children so I was developing relationships with them in a fun and loving way. And I realized as far as maybe job number six, number seven, wow, this is definitely not for me. I have got to figure out what I’m going to do. And I was getting frustrated. Of course, I like to work. I have a good work ethic, but I just couldn’t connect. So as I was approaching my final job where I was at, I also was seeking out, decided with the experiences with my niece and nephews that, wow, I can really connect with them easily, and this is a lot of fun, and I liked the creative aspects of all the interactions. You know, the sleepovers, taking them out and different little field trips for them, all kinds of great experiences. And they can tell me all about them too because they haven’t forgotten, we did so much together. Of course they’re older now, but we have a lot of stories.

So while that was going on, I decided to pursue college, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do. I did check out the classical teaching in the classroom and I just get a feel for it. It would be a lot of children at once and I felt like maybe I wanted something a little more specialized. And at the same time, people were telling me about speech pathology, which I really didn’t ever hear of it. So I decided to check out the catalogs at the schools and lo and behold, it had a lot of diversification at the end of the rainbow per se. Once you graduated, there were lots of different opportunities for your career and it was very diversified. So I felt like it would allow me to connect with individuals and small groups with these kids, and it would allow me to tap in to their creative abilities at the same time. So I decided to pursue speech-language pathology, and let’s see? So from there, I did go to college and I went to Buffalo State College locally here, and I finished it quickly, like in three years because I knew I just really want to get out and get a job. And then I did my master’s along the way while I was working my full time job doing my masters, that’s where it all began. Once I graduated from college with the master’s, I did my master’s project, we did the research on parent involvement. And of course, the parent involvement showed that the more parent involvement, the more support the child was going to get. And he was going to advance his skills and be able to be dismissed from speech. So that myself and another friend were able to go to Boston to present our paper at the ESHA Conference. So that’s where it all began as far as this parent involvement and my thoughts about teaching the children.

Once I graduated, it was a lot of work of course, I finished all the coursework and all of a sudden I thought to myself, wow, that’s it, school’s over, all this work, and I’m done, and I just can’t because I have to do more work. So I’m just the type that has to keep busy. I like to be challenged and kind of self-taught. So lo and behold, this postcard comes in the mail and it’s this postcard that says the Children’s Institute of Literature in Connecticut. Now back at this time, we’re talking in the late 90’s, there wasn’t a lot of computer work going on just yet. So it was more of a correspondence course of writing, fiction and nonfiction articles and I would have to send the correspondence through the mail. So I went back and forth and it kind of geared me to, I did enjoy doing the fiction work because I like the creativity of that, but I also enjoyed the nonfiction because I really like taking facts from different books and pulling it all together and creating articles that somebody could benefit from. So that’s where the parenting articles I had. Maybe half a dozen parenting articles I wrote were published locally in prominent magazines throughout the States. So after that, I was also working for the Buffalo schools, and I also was working for ACNC, presently still doing this. So the main theme with the little ones, the parents that I worked with after school which I personally work with now was, how can I get my child to talk? And it just dawned to me thinking, I was going to try, I knew I was going to tackle a book project. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do at first so I did tackle up a project. It was going to be theory and as I was writing, I was like, well, this is quite boring for me. I can’t do it anymore. I needed an outlet that was going to be fun and I thought that I need something that’s going to help a parent. They don’t have time to read, research literature, et cetera. They want to dive in and get to do it because everybody’s so busy and it’s the same with me. And I thought, well, something quick and easy so they can understand what I’m doing with their children for half an hour after school that they could easily do in the home with their own children.

I did some research with the books, the activity books that were presently on the market. I went to Barnes & Noble and I thought, well, these activity books are very heavy, 200 to 500 activities. And by the time you find that perfect one, Johnny is already gone because they’re bumblebee modes at that point. Kids can’t sit still, they want to get ready, set, go, but they were so lengthy. I decided, you know, I came up with this concept that made me, I could find something that was less overwhelming, more compact that apparently be able to take it wherever they go, you know, in a diaper bag or to the beach so they could stimulate their kids. There’s so many times you see when, for example, you’re at the doctor’s office and little Susie is getting yelled at because she can’t sit still. It’s not her fault because she’s not supposed to be able to sit still, they’re at that age where they want to play and move and learn. So I thought, well, I’ll create a book that was, again, something they could carry and something they could quickly glance at and say, this is the perfect activity for my child right here enough. So the majority of the activities within the book are set up that you could use or engage them, engage your child during your daily routines. So now, of course, we have from birth to five. The majority of learning takes place within the home during daily routine. So you have your play time, story time, bath time, dress time, snack time, mealtime. So the premise of the book is based on the learning opportunities during daily routines. I broke the book down into three chapters, infant, toddler, and preschool activities. So another benefit of it, it’s almost like three books in one, because for example, five little monkeys are in the first chapter, I believe it’s birth through 11 months. And everybody loves the five little monkeys finger play songs so it’s an activity that you’re not only doing hand gestures with your little infant at seven months, but you could also expand on it to work with the toddler or preschooler by simply adding different objects. So I have these finger play puppets that I do with the little ones, you can add barreled monkeys, everybody remembers those. You could add color sheets, and then you could also add, there’s a lot of games. I just got one for Christmas, from one of the parents, it’s called five little monkeys jumping on the bed. So many different things.

So you see, you can expand, you can modify to meet all the children’s needs. And that’s what the book’s all about. You’re going to work at the level of your child, then it’s set up like a recipe book where, again, ready, set, go. It simply tells you what you need. You know what daily routine you’ll be able to, the objective and the goal, what daily routine and activity can be played. And then it also includes dialogue and quick and easy strategies for your child to use and learn language. And then also included in it, again, I mentioned strategies and techniques that allow your child to use and learn language all throughout the day, and there’s a whole list of them in the back of the book. They’re not overwhelming, they’re very simple and can be easily understood. And then the book also comes with a developmental that allows parents to have an idea between that expanding period of birth to five years old, what’s going on at the different levels. And again, it’s just a guide because every child acquires language at a different rate, but a lot of these skills are going to occur, it just depends on when the child is able to master them. So because so many people are always saying to me: “Well, what is my child supposed to do at two years?” “Oh, what is my child supposed to be doing at three years old?” So now, they can take a quick peek at the book and see the listing of different skills that they’re supposed to acquire.

Art Costello: That was one of the things that I really, really loved about the book. It was so practical. It means it is a real practical guide that is easily read and understandable and absolutely with ease, you’re able to implement all of the things that you say in there. And I thought back to raising my children years and years ago, we could get into this a little bit later because I want to hear more about your thoughts on everything. It’s changed in the world, the way that we communicate has changed so much over the last 20 years with computers and kids sitting in front of electronics instead of hearing parents read to them or do things. I mean, every time that I go to a friend’s house, I see the parents break out an iPad, or a game board, or something for their little toddlers to play with.

Jo Ann Gramlich: I know, I see it at homes too. My book also, I have to admit, my book also comes in the Ebook format, but it’s very fun, it’s very colorful. It has sound effects, animation, and audio recording spots on it. But the point of it is it’s kind of a, it’s the same idea of the soft cover book, but it’s a backdrop. So people have an idea how to set up the activity the same as the book, the soft cover book, but the kids definitely gravitate towards it, which is a good thing. It’s very visually stimulating. As far as the kids nowadays who go on these iPads, and tablets, et cetera, computers, you really need to discipline them with the screen time because these kids, they have a hard time disconnecting with them. They get very upset and frustrated if you take it away so when that’s happening, you need to realize that your child is getting exposed to that too often and you need to set boundaries, maybe 20 minutes a day, maybe 15 minutes a day depending how old your child is because the natural interactions are definitely more valuable. I believe having a child just sitting in front of a TV, or like you said, the tablet, the iPad. Yeah, communicating, talking naturally is really going to be your best bet with a child.

Art Costello: Yeah. When I was in college, I worked at a mental health facility, the doctor that I worked directly for was Dr. Stuart Brown. And his research for his MD, and PhD, and everything, his psychiatry licensing and all that was around PLAY. He’s now the director of the National Institute for Play. But what he found in his research was that children who do not play, and read, and get down on the floor, well, he was looking at mass murderers and serial killers, and we were interviewing those types of people. What the one common factor that they had in their life across the board was they did not play and their parents did not play with them. So when we’re looking at some of the events that are going on in the world right now, and with the shootings at the schools and everything, I just wonder about how much has it affected by the lack of the parent actually engaging with the child at a young age, because we all know that a child’s most formative years are from birth to five years old.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Correct.

Art Costello: Almost all their foundation is created in that area. And if we are sticking the electronic devices in front of kids, and they’re getting lewd to them, and they’re not getting the human interaction and realistic play playing with others, playing with your parents and getting down on the floor, and reading. I mean, I have to say I got down on my house floor with my kids and we read book after book, after book. My granddaughter, her and I have read books from the time she’s little. One of my most cherished moments with her is when she’s got a book out and we had this giant schnauzer weigh 155 pounds named Chloe. Chloe’s laying there and [inaudible] was about two and a half and she says: “Chloe, I read you. Chloe. I read you.” And Chloe would look at the book and [inaudible] would flip the pages over and read the words off the pages.

“Play is the work of the child.” - Jo Ann Gramlich Share on X

Jo Ann Gramlich: Exactly. That’s the fun part. I mean, so when you were talking, I was thinking, so I work with a lot of children in the Buffalo schools. Of course, they have delays, language delays, and I find some of them are angry children. And like you mentioned that natural bonding is so important to develop self esteem and self confidence. And again, the language and the reading components are key predictors that come along with the interactions. So yeah, it’s very important and very crucial to naturally engage with a child and to help them enjoy the laughter and fun. And because basically, like you said, play is the work of a child. They need to know how to play, they need to use their imagination when they’re engaging with other children at these young ages, it allows them to build their social skills, attending skills, vocabulary skills, brain development, brain growth so much that really allows them to be who they’re supposed to be.

“Natural bonding is so important to develop self-esteem and self-confidence… Language and reading components are key predictors that come along with the interactions.” - Jo Ann Gramlich Share on X

Art Costello: Yeah. You know, one of the things that I’m just going to do before the good Lord takes me home is I want to write a book for children to learn how to master their expectations because all my research has been in the use of expectations for the betterment of mankind. And I believe that if we can teach children how to manage their expectations at three, four, five, six years old, seven years old, their lives will really transform. And that’s where you come in because the language plays so much part for kids to understand.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Right.

Art Costello: And expectations are not a complex entity. They’re very basic to every human being and it is so simple, but yet it’s so effective when we know how to manage our expectations. When we learn that it’s not the expectations of others that grow us, it’s the core expectations that we have. So there’s so many things to teach, but you cannot teach if you cannot speak.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Right. And what’s enlightening about working with children with communication delays or disorders is that, what’s really special is working with a child just to see how they progress, how they end up having a voice. It really boosts their self esteem, like I said, self confidence to be able to communicate is so important. A lot of the kids come in very timid, and shy, and are afraid to talk. I mean, myself, of course I work with other speech therapists or speech pathologists at school. And that’s what our job is, we’re trying to help these kids use their own voice and be competent in their own voice, which is so important as opposed to, like you said, the screen time that just doesn’t allow you to communicate when you’re staring at a device for hours and hours. You see the frustration of the children because they want to communicate but they can’t. It’s not only communicating, it’s other skills that are affected. Also, like I said, the social skills too.

Art Costello: Yeah, I mean, not only the social skills, but the actual learning skills.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Yeah.

Art Costello: I mean, we’ve all heard the stories about, now, you can go to a fast food restaurant and if you give somebody a 20, and you hand them a quarter along with the 20 to make it all even, they can’t figure it out.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Exactly. Yeah, it is. There’s so many, I mean, it taps into so many areas of the children’s lives, and they need the skill base to go forward. Starting in kindergarten, they’re expected to begin reading, communicating more complex sentences, comprehending more advanced materials, stories, answering questions, understanding their special concepts and linguistic concepts. And it is expected by kindergarten just to have those basic skills. So therefore, if you don’t have a good foundation with your language skills, the kids are gonna struggle. And like we said, they’re going to be frustrated, they’re going to act out because there’s so many expectations for them to succeed.

Art Costello: I’m going to shift the gears a little bit, I love to come up with these odd questions.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Okay.

Art Costello: It’s easy, but I’m interested in hearing your answer. Does your book, do you think help the child more, or the parent more?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, actually it helps both more.

Art Costello: I was hoping you’d say that.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Oh, yeah. Definitely the child is acquiring the language skills to engage in activities, but at the same time, the parent and the child are developing a special bond. So it’s a win, win situation because that’s what it’s all about. These kids need to feel secure, confident, and bringing the parent or the caregiver together with the child is all about the bonding. It really is. And the language, I don’t want to say that one is primary or secondary, they’re both important. So that’s why it’s a win, win situation to get the kids communicating and then enjoying the comfort of their parents at the same time, or caregivers.

Art Costello: You’re right in my wheelhouse. I was hoping you were going to say that because when I read it, I thought this is so great for parents, but yet it’s so great for the child too. And the benefits are so great. What are your top five tips?

Jo Ann Gramlich: For increasing their language skills?

Art Costello: Sure.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Okay. So when they’re at that infant age, of course, you’re stimulating your senses. You want to make the good eye contact, smile and make expressions with your baby. And then of course, they’re gonna smile back and then you can also take objects to just about inches away from their eyes to make sure they have good eye-gaze. And then of course, they’re listening for sound sources. So just little rattles, bells, cups and spoons just to make sure because that’s the way they’re communicating through their senses. So for example, a toddler, we would be expecting to, their strategies for example, parallel talk, your child might be pushing a toy car, a vehicle, and what do we call it? Hot wheels car or something on the floor by himself, playing, pretend play with the cars and vehicles, whatever else he has. So instead of just letting him sit there looking at it and seeing it, you could say, Oh, Bobby, I like the way you’re pushing the car. Your car has four wheels, it’s going to go really fast. So you’re providing that language and they can just describe the car, the different descriptors of the vehicle itself, and talk about other vehicles that go faster, slow. So you see, that’s the parallel talk, just communicating. While they’re playing also, self-talk for example, Katie is in the kitchen and the doorbell ringing instead of just going to get the doorbell, this is called self-talk where you could say, Oh, the doorbell’s ringing, I’m going to answer that. Oh, the dog is so hungry, I think I’m going to put some food in his ball, just so they understand that words go with objects and events.

And then also talking at a level that your child is at and then speaking clearly and slowly. And then of course, removing all distractions when you’re communicating with your little ones so they can understand what you have to say and process the information so they can learn the new words. And a biggie is repeat, repeat, repeat. Little kids need to hear and do things repetitively to get these words in a repertoire. So if you’re talking about a game, or jump roping, or something just make sure you say we’re jumping, we’re jumping up, up and down. Just exploding those words, making the children understand these words, I’m doing a lesson right now with the kids after school and in school, we’re doing Arctic animals, polar bears, walrus, whales, what else? Seals, penguins. I think if I have to say all at once where I’m like, Oh, my gosh. Because we’ve been doing it for a month, but the kids, I mean, they’re using words like insulation, traction, these are kindergartners. And then the preschoolers, blubber North Pole, Arctic ocean. And it’s all because I’m exposing them to the language, they’re repeating it back to me. We’re building the phrases, the sentences, and then before you know it, they got it. And you see that light bulb, look on there, aha, got it. And they’re smiling and they can act out the animals. So again, repeat, repeat, repeat, and talk. Don’t be afraid to use two and three syllable words with your kids. If they have trouble producing it, stop and model it at a slower rate. These kids, they’re sponges and they want to learn. They really, really want to learn. And they’re really inquisitive. So just take the time to listen to them and respond. So those are probably the biggies.

“Take the time to listen to them (children) and respond.” - Jo Ann Gramlich Share on X

Art Costello: Have you noticed a difference in the social economic range for children? I guess I can put it this way. Is it harder for low income children than it is for higher middle class and wealthy families? Is it more difficult for those children?

Jo Ann Gramlich: To acquire language?

Art Costello: To acquire proper language.

Jo Ann Gramlich: So the majority, well, I shouldn’t say all of the kids on my caseload at my school. Of course after school I have to qualify to get speech language services, speech therapy services. They do have communication delays, but there’s all kinds of different factors that affect their ability to learn, but they can learn. So they’re already a little bit behind because they didn’t have the exposure or experiences between that birth and five. I can’t assume everything, but something didn’t happen between birth and five. So when they come to me, each child is different. Let’s say for example, after school they might come in at two years old, they’re supposed to have at least 50 to 200 words. And generally if I start seeing them in age two, if it’s an expressive language delay, they probably have one or two words. So it’s a really hard call because it could be an environmental issue, it could be a medical issue that’s affecting their ability to acquire the language, or it could be genetic in that sense. But with my school job, a lot of the kids are in the lower socioeconomic status home so they’re, I believe it’s environmental. Like we said, a lot of the parents may not know exactly what they’re supposed to do so the children do come in with delayed speech and language skills. But once we start stimulating their little brains, they do catch on. I mean, I do hear a lot of the grammar issues where they’re substituting, omitting, verb, tenses, and leaving off the prepositional phrases or articles, but I’m modeling, and I’m repeating, and we’re building on their sentences and eventually they do get it. But it’s different if you’re comparing a child who does have all these positive experiences with people talking to them regularly and comparing them to somebody who might not. Yes, there’s a delay, but can they acquire the language? Yes, but it’s all an individual basis, I would say,

Art Costello: One of the things that I cringe over now is in Texas, we’re seeing a very large influx of California people moving to the Austin area. I’ve noticed that some of the kids who have lived in Texas for quite a while have picked up some of the California vernacular. They don’t say like, when they say that the word mountain, they don’t say, they say mountain (with accent).

Jo Ann Gramlich: Say it again.

Art Costello: Mountain.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Mountain.

Art Costello: They don’t say mountain. You know, like mount-ain, you have a mount-ain to climb the same mount-ain. Or if they say, thank you, it goes, thank you. It goes, longer thank you. It’s really weird. I know if I don’t know how much you watch TV, I’m not a TV watcher, but I occasionally see my wife watching. There’s this blonde girl from California that has a very popular home rebuilding show or remodeling show, and she’s really slaughtered the English language with pronunciation. And that’s my concern is that we’re now having, because of the effect of TV, and the internet and all of this, they’re altering the way that English language is spoken. That concerns me because you know, a mountain is a mountain, not a mount-ain. We even heard it on our Austin newscast, the newscasters not pronouncing the words correctly. And we wrote to them and said, it’s mountain, not mount-ain.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Actually, I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do tune into the news of course because I want to know what’s going on. I find that a lot of the newscasters must’ve overcome some speech difficulties because I can sort of hear because I’m tuned in when people are talking. For example, I feel like president Obama had a little whistle on his S. Whenever I hear him, I would hear a little whistle at the end of an S. And there’s a gentleman on the channel 2, can’t think of his name right now, but I could tell that he had little bit of a tongue thrust. It’s very exciting to know that, I know a pastor who said he was a [inaudible] when he was younger, that they’ve overcome their speech difficulty and now are in the public eye, public speaking. That’s really exciting when you hear that people might have had challenges as they were growing up. But getting back to what you were saying, yeah, I do believe that. Like you said, the internet, the TV watching and video gaming definitely takes away from communication skills, and building, expanding on their skill base.

Art Costello: My son actually had a speech impediment as a child, he had S or S sounds on the end of his words. We sent him to a speech pathologist and they actually fixed it.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Oh, good.

Art Costello: He’s 45 now, and he does not have it. As he had it since he was probably six years old, seven years old.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Oh, that’s good.

Art Costello: Yeah, it is. It really is.

Jo Ann Gramlich: I know because, again, it definitely, when once these kids, I mean, a lot of the kids that I work with. When I go into kindergarten classrooms, even if they’re not expected to go to speech, they want to come to speech. Like we’re making learning fun so they’re gaining the skill base along with playing a fun theme that’s why it’s exciting to work with the children.

Art Costello: That leads into my next thought about your book. Your book really does make it fun. What kind of feedback are you getting from parents? Just general feedback.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, I recently sent the book in the mail to a woman in Canada and she sent me an email saying, she said: “Wow, I didn’t expect a party in a package.” Because I had some ducks and frogs along with the book, and it’s very colorful. I think the front of the cover right off the bat, it’s very inviting because it is a rainbow of color and all the things that little kids would want to get their hands on are toys. But overall, the general consensus is just like you said in the beginning that it’s very practical, filled with a lot of practical advice, step-by-step formation format, and very hands on and easy to use. It’s not difficult at all. So yeah, it’s been a positive experience. I’ve never heard anybody once say, Oh, my gosh, no way with this book. But everybody I know so far, some of the teachers, I’ve given a lot of them away because I love to give them away, it’s such a useful tool. Everybody’s always so happy and the thought is that people forget about the easy activities that are in the book that we’ve done through the years and they forget about how easy it is to just begin and engage your child. So that was the point of it. Just to have fun, jump in, have your child learn, and it’s fun for the kids and the adults.

Art Costello: Yeah. After I finished reading it, I thought this would be the ideal book for every school to have many copies in, even for older children to read. I loved it. I loved it.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Thank You.

Art Costello: When I got your book, I enjoyed the way you package it with the little duck.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Oh, yeah.

Art Costello: I thought that was genius, I thought it was great. It made me want to engage with the book more.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Yeah, because when I do events, I want the presentation to be fun and childlike. And then these go to the parents, it could be a great baby shower gift, it can be just a gift for a parent in general, especially new parents. Of course, a mom having a first baby. Ideally, I would love to get these in the hospitals for they give out care packages. I think it would be great even as a prenatal gift so parents have an idea. Because sometimes I do hear people say when they have their babies, after they leave the hospital, they’re like, really we’re going home. What do we do now? I don’t have children, but I’ve heard his theme. I’m thinking, well, it would be great to pre read the book to have an idea. At least the infant section. I forgot what else I was going to say. I’m sorry. There’s some other thought I forgot what I was going to say.

Art Costello: That happens to me all the time, at my age. What do you think is the biggest takeaway parents should have from the book?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, I know I said this earlier, a few things that they need to know or need to realize that the majority of learning between birth and five takes place within the daily routines. They’re really the primary parent and teacher for the children from birth to five. So that exposure is key and the learning is going to take place at home, on the go, when you’re visiting relatives, you’re going on a little day trip, just bring out the book and talk to your child. Talk, talk, talk, play, play, play, read, read, read, that’s what it’s all about. And then again, not only is your child going to acquire the language skills, you’re going to have so many memorable experiences and bonding moments with your child, which is so important. You can look back and say, remember when.

“The majority of learning between birth and five takes place within the daily routines… Exposure is key.” - Jo Ann Gramlich Share on X

Art Costello: Yeah. And feeding into my odd questions, here’s one for you. What did you learn writing the book?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, I guess the biggest thing I learned also was that when we think of, for example, like middle school, high school learning can be fun. It’s not always fun, it’s a little more complex, and a little more disciplined, et cetera. But at a young age, learning can be fun. So much fun, role playing, opening up your child’s imagination, dancing, singing, playing. Yeah, I just realized that making learning fun, and with the activities I do with the kids at school along with the activities in this book, I’m always bringing out objects, and figures, and pictures, everything to allow them to see it, talk about it here, acted out, engage them then they can communicate back to them. So it’s so fun. It’s a lot of fun just being able to create the environment to help your child learn.

Art Costello: Yeah. One of the things I believe is that life’s experiences are the greatest teachers that we have. And when we take that time to work with our children, teach and help them grow and they see that they feel it, I think it sticks with them the rest of their life. They become avid learners, it changes lives when you become an avid learner.

“Life's experiences are the greatest teachers that we have.” - Art Costello Share on X

Jo Ann Gramlich: Yeah. I agree. Today, I had a group of kids, they kind of had a little bit of a negative attitude when I went to the room to get them for speech. So as we do polar bear paws, and polar bear tails, we get in a straight line and get back to my room. I knew, I thought to myself, if I go down to their level with the attitude that they have and take the defensive attitude and try to shake them up that way, it’s not going to work because they’re already moody right now. So that we’re going to step this up and energize this activity. We had so much fun, and they went back and they told their teacher, I’m a new woman, I’m a new man, I’m so happy. So yeah, you really can transform your kids’ minds just being positive, energetic and having fun. That’s what we all need to do.

Art Costello: Yeah. And the thing about that is, that when you teach in that manner, we have teachers who are stoic and very disciplined, they follow the plan, the teaching plan. When you bring in this new vibrant energy into learning, particularly children, even with adults, I’ve noticed that when I speak to large groups because my material is pretty bland, but when you tell the stories about expectations and how they affected my life, how they’ve affected lives of people that I’ve worked with, you can really see people’s faces light up and it really starts to sink in and make an impact in them. And I think that that’s probably the biggest takeaway from it all, the engagement. The engagement is so important.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Yeah. And then for me also, what’s rewarding is the fact that I get to not only see a child confident in their own voice once they’re beginning to master their goals and speaking skills, I also get to help change the lives of these little friends. I mean, building relationships with the child and the parents, and knowing that I’m impacting their lives in a positive way is very rewarding day by day,

Art Costello: Yeah. Teachers and all shapes and forms have such an impact. I can tell you my second grade teacher, that’s almost 60 some years ago, maybe was my favorite teacher through all of my school. I can name the people that had huge impacts on me. In college, there was a professor, his name, but I can tell you the people, I mean, Paul King, my high school, social teacher whispered three words in my ear one day and it made all the difference in my life.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, that good. What were the three words?

Art Costello: I believe in you?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Oh, there you go. See? Those are big words.

Art Costello: He believed in me when no one else did. And I had no one else believing in me so it was very, very powerful.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Powerful, yes.

Art Costello: Yup. That’s the power of teaching, it really affects, it affects it. I mean, there’s no other way to put it.

Jo Ann Gramlich: I know, I had sixth graders last week, was it early this week? We are talking and a couple of kids are being ready to be dismissed from speech so I said to the other two, I said: “Are you guys ready to be dismissed?” “Never Miss Gramlich, we want to be with you forever.” Actually we’re doing a lesson right now, the blizzard of 77 which was years ago, but actually the anniversary was the 28th, which was yesterday. I believe it was 43 years ago. So anyways, I’m able to use my childhood experiences with them in relation to the articles or reading. And again, even though they’re sixth graders, we act it out. We act out the words, they’re up on their hands with snowflakes, and the winds, and the gusts, and they just love it. Used your imagination and tying in the more complex vocabulary for their lessons. But that’s what’s exciting, it’s fun.

Art Costello: And that’s the beauty of it. And with that being said, we’re nearing our time and I wanted to give you enough time for you to tell my audience where they can get a hold of you, where they can get the book? How they could get in contact with you, your social media account. Can you share all that with us?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Sure. Okay, so my official website is talkplayandread.com. The book is available, you can order the book online at the site, and the book can also be ordered at Amazon, barnesandnoble.com. And then I have posts on, of course, Facebook and social media, and that would be at Talk, Play, And Read With Me Mommy. I also have an account at Instagram and it’s at Jo Ann Gramlich, and then I also have an account at Twitter and it’s at Jo Ann Gramlich also.

Art Costello: Yeah. I’m gonna encourage you, the audience, I’ve read the book and it’s well worth getting, whether you’re a grandparent, a parent, a parent to be, or even if you’re a student in school, there’s so much in this that will help you learn to communicate.

Jo Ann Gramlich: And you know what else? A sibling can, let’s say a fifth grader, a sixth grader can read this to their little brother or sister too. Of course, a sibling could use it. And I also wanted to mention that I am presently working on Talk, Play, And Read With Me Daddy, I’m almost done.

Art Costello: Oh, wow.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Yes. I’m trying, it was supposed to be done last summer, but I was so busy with the ebook that I just didn’t have time to do it all. And I was thinking this past, around Christmas time, every time we get a break for school, like, yes, I’ll pick it up again and it hasn’t happened, but it’ll come when it’s supposed to come. It’s like three quarters done, so it should be fun. And the point behind that book is the mom and the dad could do the activities simultaneously together because it’s pretty similar to this book, Talk, Play, And Read With Me Mommy. But there are a couple extra bonus chapters of bonding activities with her dad, with the child. And then of course, depending on the dynamics of the family situation, a solo dad, single dad could use it, or mom and dad, or whatever the dynamic. So it should be fun, but it does put smiles on it whenever I mention it. When I’m at an event and it’s a male talking to me about the book, it puts a big smile on dad’s face. Like, yes, I got to do this and get this done.

Art Costello: That’s cool. That’s good. Any parting words you have for us?

Jo Ann Gramlich: Well, I really enjoyed our conversation and I guess I could say children are a lot of fun. Keep on talking, playing, and reading with your little ones and they will surprise you. They learn so much, they really do. They’re little sponges, so enjoy them because, Oh, my gosh, the time goes by so fast, they grew up so fast.

Art Costello: Amen to that. I know, it’s hard to believe. Mine are in their 40’s, and I have one that’s going to be 50.

Jo Ann Gramlich: Wow.

Art Costello: But anyway, everybody, I’m going to encourage you to go out and get Jo Ann’s work, and her book, and connect with her. And you know where you can get a hold of me, art@expectationtherapy.com, and expectationtherapy.com is my website. And with that being said, Heather White, could you take us out of here?






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