Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Need Phonics Help

I couldn't figure out who to ask, so I'm asking all of you.

Maya has a really hard time distinguishing between /a/ and /i/ (she writes: I hope you hive a good day!) and between /o/ and /u/ (she would write: Let's have an Easter egg hont.)
We have been working on auditory processing training, but because of her Liberian background, she just can't hear the difference between those pairs of sounds.
This morning she got really discouraged and it broke my heart. I'm at a loss.

If you have any ideas at all, I'm open!


Renee said...

Oooh poor dear. Eben does this with his Ghanaian accent too. When he brings me his writing I ask him to read it aloud to me sounding out the words. He is learning to catch his mistakes, but it seems it just takes time.

When I first taught him to read we went through an old book "Teaching Johnny to Read" and went through it every day. Heavy phonics but again the accent still comes into play when he is writing.

I don't think I helped much..just babbling.

Ginger said...

Maya isn't able to catch her mistakes. When I say: you said hont, I said hunt; she says: What's the difference?
She can't hear it at all.

debhmom3 said...

We purchased a program for my son who was struggling to read called Rocket Phonics. It is pricey, but it helps by giving visual ways to remember the distinction between different vowels sounds. I still don't know exactly how it works, but it is working. I was getting discouraged because both my girls picked up reading and spelling so easily and nothing was working for him. If you want to know more, let me know and I could scan a few pages and email them.

Ginger said...


Yes please!!

MamaMahnken said...

How is she at memorizing? Do you think it would maybe work to just learn to spell word families with something like Sequential Spelling, memorizing/learning that certain words are spelled certain ways, regardless of how they sound to her? I have had some success with this with Arianna, who, despite being born and raised in the USofA has had similar troubles. Though, in the girls' defense English isn't the most phonetic or intuitive language out there! Anyhow, doubt this helps, but I thought I would throw it out there :)

Melodie said...

I have not heard of this specific situation before, but in analyzing the words I realized a few things.

First of all, your average Liberian child never uses the word "have". Instead of saying "I don't have any," one would say "I ehn (ain't) get enay (any)." So learning the world "have" is knew altogether and she has no foundation with which to base any part of learning that word. Off the top of my head the only common Liberian word that uses the same "a" sound that "have" has is the world "can't" ("can" is ironically pronounced more like "ken"). If she knows how to spell "can't" without a problem, maybe you could use that word as a reference when she needs to spell
"have" correctly.

Concerning the other word, and really, any situation where she can't hear the difference in sounds, some people just can't. My mom has never really learned to speak the Liberian English because she can't hear what they are doing to say the things they say. Even as a missionary kid I missed some things and it took me some time to figure out. (Like you say "bag" different than you say "bagel", even though they start the exact same way. For the longest time I couldn't hear the difference in the "a" pronounced at the beginning of these two words.)

My main suggestion is just to give her time and maybe try another phonics curriculum. Even if she never gets it, we are living in a computer age, which means there is spellcheck.

And remember how far she has already come :-).