Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Confusion due to many sounds of letters

The second reason why many kids shut down from learning to read, is that teachers do not tell them at the onset that most letters of the English alphabet represent many sounds.

Having learned one sound of a letter and then when a second sound is introduced without the kid being informed that that same letter represents more than one sound, the kid shuts down. Kids predisposed to shutting down disengage from learning to read and are then wrongly classified as dyslexic.

Almost all my students could read in Malay but not in English.

In Malay, each letter represents only one sound other than the letter ‘E’ which represents two sounds.

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Today let us look at two vowels – ‘A’ and ‘E’.  

‘A’ represents the following sounds.

‘A’ as in able, alien, ace
‘A’ as in axe, ample, apple
‘A’ as in agree, ahead, allow
‘A’ as in arc, arm, art
‘A’ as in all, always, although

‘E’ represents the following sounds.

‘E’ as in eel, equal, evil
‘E’ as in earn, early, earth
‘E’ as in echo, elbow, elephant
‘E’ as in eight, eighteen, eighty
‘E’ as in either
‘E’ as in ewe

What I do at the onset when teaching children is to say that letters in English represent more than one sound. This then makes their minds receptive when I introduce another sound that that letter represents.

I do not list all the sounds at once. I point it out to them when the new sound is introduced.


Unknown said...

I appreciate your blog and experience working with dyslexic children. I differ in thought, though. Letters do not make sounds. Sounds (phonemes) are represented by letters (graphemes). That paradigm shift is really what made all the difference in my teaching struggling readers. Knowing the number of sounds, versus the number of letters, versus the number of ways to 'spell' the words and then explicitly teaching that system to our readers is imperative.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your comment. It will be nice to have a pseudonym I can refer you by.
What I am trying to impress upon readers is that many kids predisposed to shutting down do disengage from learning to read when a new sound of letter they have learned is introduced without them being told that there are many different phonemes to a letter.

You may want to refer to an article I posted at