Reading - Letter name confusion

God's Creation From A to Z: A Complete Kindergarten Curriculum
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Reading - Letter name confusion

Unread post by Shauna » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:00 pm

DD is doing MFW K. She knows her alphabet and can ususally identify the letters by name and some by sound. Problems arise when we cover a letters sound. It throws her off and she becomes confused about the letter's name.

Here is an example. I show her the flashcard of the letter "S". She yells out "S". I am confident she knows it, so we move on. The next day we are doing our letter "s" envelope. She says the word spoon. She thinks to herself and sounds out /s/. Then she smiles and says, "Mommy! Spoon starts with "C". She guesses "C" because it begins with an "S" sound. Then she guesses "F" because the letter starts with short e, prounounced "ef", just like "es" Her little brain is working very hard, but it is just not giving her the right answers.

Is there something else I can do to help her clarify these issues...something that will turn the light bulb on and keep it on? this just going to require lots of repitition? Please help!!!

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Unread post by Mom2MnS » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:21 pm

Hi Shauna :) We found a wonderful dvd by Leap Frog - the "Letter Factory". My dd watched it twice and had most of the letter sounds! It is really a cute movie, too. We found it at for $9 or so. I think you can also get it directly from Leap Frog.
Have a blessed day! WLIC, Quinne


Unread post by cbollin » Wed Sep 06, 2006 1:31 pm


Here are some things I did with my children along the way.

1. We worked on identifying the sounds around us. I’d start with a picture of different animals and things and ask the child to tell me not just the name, but what sound does it make. A cow says “mooooo” A toaster oven goes “ding”. Some items had more than one sounds The dog says “bow bow” or “bark bark”. That’s good too because some letters have more than one sound.

2. Then we carried over the exercise to the letter. This is the letter S. It says “/ssss/”. Let’s pretend to be a snake. “ssssss” goes the snake. All the while holding the flashcard and/or a textured letter S in front of us.

3. Both student and I would say the name on the picture cards together. Very slowly to emphasize the beginning sound. Spoon would become sssssssssssspoon. Then I would not ask what letter is making that sound, but rather I would ask what sound do you hear at the beginning of the word? If the child struggled to identify it, then I would give 2 choices /sssss/ or something that didn’t sound close. Then I would have 2 (or more as lesson progressed) flashcards in front of the child. At that point I would ask child to point to the letter card that says the same sound as /ssssss/ Again, I would choose letters that didn’t sound the same at all. Maybe sun and moon cards. If necessary, during the first week, I would not do it with 2 cards. Just the one right card. You can always add later.

Maybe some of those ideas will be helpful. I also like various computer games along the way for extra exercises too. :)


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Unread post by Lucy » Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:43 pm

Great ideas from Crystal.

I agree about the sound identification being more important than the letter name at this point.

One thing that may be helpful to is having her trace the textured letter while she is saying the sound. This is called sound writing and I did it with my daughter in first grade. Since your daughter may need the sense of touch to learn this may help. If she makes the mistake of calling it the wrong name gentley corrent her by doing as Crystal mentioned by saying the name and then repeating the sound. So as she is tracing a letter have her say S says"SSSSS". Have her do it several times. This will also help with letter formation. You can do this same activity but have her write the letter in the air with very large arm movements. This taps in to the needs to move learner.

Also if it is not sticking take a break for a while and come back in a month or so. I had to do this with my daughter and she reads today! Yeah!!

Peace and grace to you,

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.

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Unread post by peavey » Wed Sep 06, 2006 8:36 pm

I am not a "certified" teacher, but my advice is to not even worry about the letter names for now. My son was similar in that he had a VERY hard time figuring out the letter names, but he got he sounds right away.

At first it bothered me (didn't help that he was 5 and his 2 year old cousing knew all the letter names). However, when I realized that the name of the letter had really no correlation to reading, it made me feel so much better.

As your daughter gets older, she will figure it out. IMHO, just work on the sounds right now.

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Unread post by tkbbrl6 » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:11 am

I have to preface this with I did not know about MFW when I did K with my other dc - but plan to use it with the littlest one in the future. Here's my take on it :

First - know that there are a lot of kids who have a hard time at 4-6 or even 7 learning both the letter name, letter sound, shape of the letter and key words to identify it- that's why there are a number of programs out there that will recommend that you leave off learning the letter name for some kids. The sound is really the most important skill to begin reading - not that the know the name of a letter. They need to recongize the shape of the letter and what sound you say when you see that shape.

Second - some ideas that I've tried with various kids with success. I found clip art letters that had a picture throughout the letter shape that started with that sound. For example - A has apples on it, B had butterflies, etc. You could even make your own if you want to use something like WordArt and make a large outlined letter and then either place clip art of the keyword from MFW or make copies of the keyword pic and cut out and place within the letter shape. Then I took other clipart pictures of items that began with the sounds we were working on. My ds would make a puppet out of each letter and picture by gluing the cut-outs onto popcicle sticks and then he'd do a puppet show saying the names of the items as he told about them. For example - the alligator wanted to eat the antelope but the antelope tricked him by feeding him apples instead (I let him make them up). We didn't focus on the name of the letter just the sound and being able to recongnize the shape as the letter that "made" the sound "-". This also helped him when he had difficulty remembering some of the sounds - he'd remember pictures. For example "W" and "M" were confusing - so he'd remember that "M" was the shape of a mountain and made the sound that you hear at the beginning of the word mountain and "W" had water falling off of it into pools at the bottom so "W" made the sound that he heard at the beginning of water.

We also used a small chalkboard and would just do drills with him writing the letters (sometimes we did them out on the sidewalk too) and he would practice writing - then tracing with his finger - saying the sound and then later the name of the letter and the sound. You can do th esame thing with shavin cream, pudding, sand, salt, make felt letters, etc.

We've also used reading rods, magentic letters, textured letters tracing them or clipping them together saying the sounds and words that begin with the sound. Printed off WordARt letters that we're enlarged and the dc glued stickers, clip art pics, pics from catalogs, etc. that started with the sound - or things like dots on D, dinosaurs on D, dogs on D, eggshells on E, elephants on E, etc. to help them remember.

Now - there are some programs that recommend drilling every day for 5-10 mins just going through the flashcards saying with your dc the name of the letter, the sound, and the keyword. You do this over and over until they have mastered the name, sound and keyword. You do them in order for the beginning and then work to doing them out of order or pointing to them out of order on a wall. They also recommend leaving the cards or letter line up in the room so that the dc can refer to them if needed. Then you move to manipulative like textured puzzled letters, reading rods, or magnetic tiles. Eventually you build words once they know the sounds by placing the flashcards, magnet tiles, etc. together one sound at a time to arrive at a word.
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