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Jenn in CA

Ideas for helping with vowel-L and blends

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Hi. My 9yodd is going thru Barton (just finishing level 4, yay!!!) and she has a hard time spelling/sounding vowel-L. Like "sail". She'll say "SAY-UHL", and gets all confused. Or, the syllable "pro" (today was "proclaim"), she'll get confused about the R sound and think it's ER, so today she wanted to write PERO. I reminded her it's only one syllable. I guess that would work for "sail" too. 

 

Anyone have any handy tips for these?? She's pretty weak in phonemic awareness, we're definitely working on that.

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Yeah, hopefully she figured it out. It's a pretty common issue because of the way /A/ is formed in the mouth. Going through the vowel circle from LIPS (which you can find by googling) would help. There's a jaw drop and retraction, which is two steps for production but considered one sound. Common error. Also you can clap faster and just train them. 

 

But yeah, common error, hopefully they worked it out. If no, stop giving multiple m&ms for sounds and only give one. I don't know, I'm joking. Or start using m&ms and reward her for getting it right. Or cover a page with /A/ words and place m&ms on each word and let her eat them as she reads each one correctly. 

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The m&ms is a good idea! Reminding her that it's only one syllable has helped. In general it is still fuzzy in her mind though. Maybe working on some of that pattern every day will help. I'm always looking for a little catchy phrase for a hint/to aid in guided discovery.

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(229) Pinterest  Here's a link with the LIPS vowel chart. This is not just made up, out of the blue, by the LIPS people. It's actually normal stuff about speech production that anybody who has taken a beginning linguistics class or anything will know. So anyways, you want to help her with a more multi-sensory approach. Let her *feel* it and touch it and see it and hear it, kwim? Not just one method, not just repetition.

 

So if you start with the circle, start at the left with the /E/ sounds and work your way around. She can put her hand under her jaw and feel her jaw drop as she says them. She can hold a mirror and see that starting at the left and working down, her lips are retracted. With my ds, I called them Smilies. Then you get to the bottom, with sounds like /a/, where the jaw is dropped, neither rounding nor retraction of the lips, and the mouth is open. 

 

Now you start working up the back of the circle and you realize your jaw is going back up but that your lips are ROUNDED. Call them anything you want (rounded, roundies, whatever). I forget what we called them. 

 

Now you understand jaw dropping and retraction and rounding of the lips. Next you have the way the tongue comes up, so on the chart it shows "crazy r's" and lists R=controlled vowels. I called them Pirates and put a pirate playmobile figure.

 

Now that you understand all that, you're finally ready for Sliders. Look at the left, where it says sliders. Start saying them, using a mirror, using your hand under your jaw, noticing where your jaw is (dropping or up) and whether your lips are retracted or rounded, and what your tongue is doing. So, for instance, it lists /U/. Say this, like in the word "you" and you'll notice, as you slow it down, that this one sound slides, with the mouth beginning with retracted lips, jaw up, and sliding the lips to rounded, still jaw up. This is a big change! There was movement, and we can recognize this and call them sliders.

 

So /A/ is going to start with the jaw dropped, basically an /e/ sound, and it's going to SLIDE to a retracted, basically an /E/, position. When they taught my ds to motor plan the sound, they literally taught it in steps like that, slowing it down. And what SLPs know, what they know for motor planning, is they same thing you're teaching dyslexics with LIPS. You didn't happen to do LIPS apparently, so you don't have that info. Now you do. :)

 

So go multi-sensory. Let her feel it, see it, understand it. It might not be enough just to expect her to get it by hearing it over and over.

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