How would you pronounce the following word?
Can you recognize that word? It is an English word given to us by Liz Dunnon. You can hear it in a You Tube video here: (You can hear it under skill 2 between minutes 1.48 and 3.05 in the video.)
Unfortunately this is how letter sounds are presented to kids by many schools here in Malaysia as well as in countries speaking English as their main language. The letter c does not say cuh and the letter t does not say tuh. What happens to kids (the roughly 20% of kids who are prone to shutting down) who are taught that these are the letter sounds? They SHUT-DOWN. I have written an article on this about one of my first students who refused to say the word fox. You may read that article here:
To read an alphabet based writing system kids must be taught the sound/s associated with the letters. Letter sound knowledge is vital to both phonic decoding and sight word learning.
We should not add a vowel sound to consonants, like done by Liz, when you model the letter sounds in isolation. When you add vowel sounds to consonants in isolation it disrupts the process of oral blending when kids sound out words.
When we teach kids the sounds of alphabets in isolation we must teach them the correct pronunciation. This will prevent kids from shutting down.
The letter sound for m is not muh/mer but mmmm (the sound stretched out). Similarly for many of the letters like f (fff and not ‘fuh/fer’), n (nnnn and not ‘nuh/ner’, l (lll and not luh/ler , s (sss and not sur) etc.
There are consonants that require more thought and practice to sound them out properly. They are the hard c (k sound), soft g (J sound), hard g, h, j, k, q, r, w, x and y. Do not place an uh after the consonant sound.
Please look for a good site to learn the correct phonemes of letters to ensure kids, who are prone to shutting down, will not shut-down.
The above article was prompted by listening to Liz Dunnon’s Dyslexia Daily blog.
Liz Dunnon says that English language is a little tricky. I say, it is very tricky. This is further aggravated by teachers like Liz teaching sounds/phonemes of alphabets wrongly. This is the nightmare faced by dyslexics. Liz and I had communicated a few years ago and I had told her about this problem. Either she has forgotten or does not give it the importance it needs.
I have written her an e-mail after listening to her video on 29.7.15. I attach my e-mail to her. I have yet to receive a response and neither has she pulled down that video.
My e-mail to Liz Dunnon on 29.7.2015:
Please check the pronunciation of the individual letters 'c' and 't'.
Both of these are wrong and this is the kind of teaching that gives dyslexic kids problem.
I am dead against teachers teaching this kind of wrong stuff which results in kids shutting down.
I wrote another e-mail on 2nd August as follows:
Good morning Liz,
I hope you will please take down the video on the 8 reading skills. Amend the pronunciation of individual letters and then publish it again.
If teachers teaching dyslexic kids see and implement it then kids are going to be more confused.
Wish you well,