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7 year old having trouble with short and long vowels.

Posted by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:36 PM
  • 6 Replies

I have tried everything to help him but he's not retaining the information.  I can give him a list of words and say "circle the ones with short vowel sound" and he just goes blank and doesn't even know what I mean.  Any tips or ideas?  We are going to get off it for a bit and focus on reading instead but i will have to get back to this sooner or later.

by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 11:36 PM
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by on Jun. 18, 2013 at 6:26 AM

Make a game of it....with whole brain teaching, children learn faster, and retain more. Ring Around The Phonics is a language arts game that I often use. 

by on Jun. 18, 2013 at 6:32 AM

Explain to him that the vowels are very unique letters, how vowels are very much needed to make words, they have two sounds:  one short and one long, amd the long vowels say their names, always.  Then proceed to teach him the short vowel sounds.  Good luck! 

by on Jun. 18, 2013 at 12:58 PM

I agree with making a game of it!

by Group Admin on Jun. 18, 2013 at 1:10 PM
1 mom liked this

 Make a game of it!

In addition to saying pick the long vowel sound, say let's find the vowels that say their name!

by Sonja on Jun. 19, 2013 at 5:54 PM
Along with making a game of it, put an action to each vowel found so that the particular vowel foun,d can be remembered by association with the action that is used/implemented.
by Bronze Member on Jun. 20, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Does he pronounce words/sounds correctly?  I'm assuming he's able to read the words that you are giving him? Or are you expecting him to identify the sounds by the rules?  

A lot of the time when children (and adults) have problems with vowel sounds it's because they aren't saying the sounds correctly. If that's the case you can work on correcting his speech and then move to vowels in words.  One thing you can also try is to connect this to the physical rather than to the visual and/or aural.  If he knows that when he makes the long "a" sound his mouth is not fully open and his tongue is at the bottom of his mouth, touching is front teeth, he may be able to make the connection that way. 

If you are expecting him to identify by "rule", rather than asking him "long" and "short," start with simply circling all of the vowels in the word.  Then work through the rules, one rule at a time.  If he can't remember and identify which letters are vowels this isn't going to work. 

One other suggestion: although it's expensive, my kids generally liked "The Phonics Game."  It's more for older children, but at seven, it might be of help for your son; it is actually is relatively entertaining to play. 

And, I'll get on my favorite hobby horse here:  right now it seems that most people believe that phonics is the only way to learn to read.  IMO, there are at least three different skills associated with fluent reading:  decoding, whole word/shape identification (and before anyone says anything about whole word anything, think for a second-- do you really look at any word that you know "letter-by-letter"?  Of course not.  After a certain point, it's shape), and finally, prediction (if a passage is talking about a cat named Sam, and you see "the cat, " your brain is going to expect "Sam" to be likely to follow).   All of these are critical to reading.  We expect to progress with decoding being first.  BUT, some children don't do it this way.  I've taught all four of my children to read.  Two of them did decoding first.  One suddenly started reading -- clearly through "see-say" by looking at letter shapes, and one, amazingly, kept trying to do prediction.  All of them ultimately learned all of the skills (they are all necessary), and all of them are excellent readers, but they seemed to  be "hard-wired" to favor one skill over the others, at least initially.   The point is this: if you try to force a skill that a child isn't ready for with the idea that they have to learn to read a certain way, you are going to potentially teach your child that he is a "bad reader" (as happened to my friend's "see-say" son, who just didn't "get" phonics).  It's better to "go with the flow" teach him to read based on the skill(s) he has, and then work on the other skills when he's ready.  It sounds like you are doing that, but it's good to remember that not everyone learns the same way, and when we're home schooling we have the luxury of allowing that. 



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