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h and f confusion


AnneGG
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My kinder is struggling to differentiate between lowercase h and f while reading. I have done several letter recognition reinforcement activities and he has nailed them all. Every time he reads, he reverts back. The exception being ch/sh/th, no confusion. Fl/fr is being read as hl/hr which doesn’t make sense to him (obviously!) so then he guesses the word or skips it. He’s been reading a lot of books on his own lately for fun and he has also picked up the habit of guessing and reading pictures.  
 

Any advice? Should we just keep chugging along and hope it works itself out? Should we relax until he’s worked through it? 

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That seems like me like an odd quirk that, if it were happening with my kids, I would expect to work itself out suddenly. I would approach it by doing a few review words at the beginning of each lesson, making sure that there were h and f words mixed in, but probably not point it out too much, but otherwise going on with lessons, maybe a little more slowly than normal. When there's 2 things my kids get mixed up on, like left vs right, whether it's a cul-de-sac or a potato sack, etc, if I try to address it directly it backfires. The kid gets it in their head that there's a problem, and now both words jump in their heads and they can't remember which is right. Instead, if they started pronouncing "head" with a f, I'd gently and immediately correct. With enough practice and exposure, plus a few nights good sleep, it'll likely click again. 

Do check vision if you think that's possibly the issue.

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I'm intrigued that this child is already reading the ch/sh/th digraphs and fl/fr blends.  Does he get mixed up between, say, hat and fat? Hit and fit?  Hill and fill?  Hall and fall?  Or is this a new confusion that has come in?  If it's a new problem, I would probably give it a few weeks and expect it to work itself out, especially given that he nails it when you're drilling.  Perhaps he's recently made a sudden leap in fluency and is starting to read whole words at a time instead of sound by sound.

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12 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

 Does he get mixed up between, say, hat and fat? Hit and fit?  Hill and fill?  Hall and fall?  

Yes to all of the above. He has always had an issue with h/f when reading.
 

He rarely sounds out cvc words anymore. I think that is more due to seeing cat/hat/sat so many times that he just memorized them. He likes to read and be read too. He read Dig Dogs Dig to me tonight. I’m sure that was way beyond his level, the cvc style title deceived me. I wonder if reading text that is not decodable with what he already knows is part of the issue? Isn’t whole word reading bad? 
 

The digraphs haven’t been formally taught yet in our curriculum but I pointed them out several times. “Help me type chips on the list” or whatever. I probably shouldn’t have done that.

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4 minutes ago, AnneGG said:

Yes to all of the above. He has always had an issue with h/f when reading.
 

He rarely sounds out cvc words anymore. I think that is more due to seeing cat/hat/sat so many times that he just memorized them. He likes to read and be read too. He read Dig Dogs Dig to me tonight. I’m sure that was way beyond his level, the cvc style title deceived me. I wonder if reading text that is not decodable with what he already knows is part of the issue? Isn’t whole word reading bad? 
 

The digraphs haven’t been formally taught yet in our curriculum but I pointed them out several times. “Help me type chips on the list” or whatever. I probably shouldn’t have done that.

I had the same issue with b versus d with DD4. The issue was that she was NOT decoding most of the words -- she'd just fill in whether it was a b or a d using the rest of the word or the context. 

Our solution was reading nonsense words. Like this, although obviously at your son's level: 

 

1. Auntion foonia spilly stoodies.   

2. Rade toffle aiffen sploutin.  

3. Boption mousen tiada relled. 

4. Ephen treeng totin floot. 

 

She really had to pay attention to what the letter was for these, since there were no context clues and no picture clues 😉 . It took her a while, but she got the hang of it. 

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7 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

I had the same issue with b versus d with DD4. The issue was that she was NOT decoding most of the words -- she'd just fill in whether it was a b or a d using the rest of the word or the context. 

Our solution was reading nonsense words. Like this, although obviously at your son's level: 

 

1. Auntion foonia spilly stoodies.   

2. Rade toffle aiffen sploutin.  

3. Boption mousen tiada relled. 

4. Ephen treeng totin floot.  

Thanks! I will try this. 

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13 minutes ago, AnneGG said:

Thanks! I will try this. 

Let me know if it helps! I wrote my own and printed them out; that way, I could address whatever phonogram she was having trouble with. (That wasn't the last time she got stuck on a phonogram.) These were actually some we did a few weeks ago... she's pretty close to being done with reading instruction, as you can see. These were very effective for her.

DD8 never needed anything of the sort -- she just absorbed symbolic language like a sponge... 

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My dyslexic kid just provided insight to this ..... if you take a lowercase “h” and add a “sweep” to the top, you end up with a “y”. Then if you erase the right leg of the “h”, you end up with a “f”. Voila!!🙄😬😆

So I’m no help as to how to remediate the issue, but at least this might give you insight as to why the confusion exists. 

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11 hours ago, domestic_engineer said:

My dyslexic kid just provided insight to this ..... if you take a lowercase “h” and add a “sweep” to the top, you end up with a “y”. Then if you erase the right leg of the “h”, you end up with a “f”. Voila!!🙄😬😆

So I’m no help as to how to remediate the issue, but at least this might give you insight as to why the confusion exists. 

Oh my gosh! I used to do stuff like that when I was a kid too. 

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I grabbed some nonsense word resources from TPT, but haven’t used anything yet.

I wrote down all the words he had trouble reading today and I thought I would continue to look for any other concerns over the next few days.
I’m having him go back to basic cvc reading for now, he’s not thrilled. Lol. 

He had a vision screen at the pedi and was fine. Perhaps he needs an actual eye exam. 

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7 hours ago, AnneGG said:

I grabbed some nonsense word resources from TPT, but haven’t used anything yet.

I wrote down all the words he had trouble reading today and I thought I would continue to look for any other concerns over the next few days.
I’m having him go back to basic cvc reading for now, he’s not thrilled. Lol. 

He had a vision screen at the pedi and was fine. Perhaps he needs an actual eye exam. 

So, when I was doing this with DD4, I actually let her keep reading the normal books she read, too. She got a lot of joy out of it, and while I wasn’t thrilled with the guessing, I didn’t want to take that pleasure away.

We did nonsense words for maybe 15 minutes a day, and the rest of the time, we did other books. I wasn’t sure whether this was encouraging the whole word reading too much, but at least for DD4, it worked well: she slowly added the extra phonograms into her repertoire.

By the way, I made my own nonsense words, so that I could actually work on the specific issues she had. She’s been reading independently for more than half a year now, and we’re STILL doing nonsense words for 15 minutes a day... recently, we’ve been working on -ai versus -ia and on -tion. Her own reading has also progressed at the same time — I spot check when I read to the two of them, and she can read longer and harder sentences than before.

Anyway, you may not need to backtrack entirely!! He might be fine if you just focus on the weaknesses but let him read other things, too. At least, I’d try that and see if you get improvements that way first.

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12 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

So, when I was doing this with DD4, I actually let her keep reading the normal books she read, too. She got a lot of joy out of it, and while I wasn’t thrilled with the guessing, I didn’t want to take that pleasure away.

We did nonsense words for maybe 15 minutes a day, and the rest of the time, we did other books. I wasn’t sure whether this was encouraging the whole word reading too much, but at least for DD4, it worked well: she slowly added the extra phonograms into her repertoire.

By the way, I made my own nonsense words, so that I could actually work on the specific issues she had. She’s been reading independently for more than half a year now, and we’re STILL doing nonsense words for 15 minutes a day... recently, we’ve been working on -ai versus -ia and on -tion. Her own reading has also progressed at the same time — I spot check when I read to the two of them, and she can read longer and harder sentences than before.

Anyway, you may not need to backtrack entirely!! He might be fine if you just focus on the weaknesses but let him read other things, too. At least, I’d try that and see if you get improvements that way first.

Thanks! This gave me an idea. Maybe we can do progressive phonics style reading where I read the difficult words and he reads at his level. That will keep things a little more controlled but still not Bob books. I need to commit to DIY the nonsense words. Ugh, I just need more time in my day.
 

I appreciate all the advice!

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1 minute ago, AnneGG said:

Thanks! This gave me an idea. Maybe we can do progressive phonics style reading where I read the difficult words and he reads at his level. That will keep things a little more controlled but still not Bob books. I need to commit to DIY the nonsense words. Ugh, I just need more time in my day.

Yeah, that's what we did. I just asked her for occasional words and sentences, being mindful of what she knew. We did a lot of buddy reading 🙂 . 

I've been making a week's worth of nonsense words on the weekends. They really aren't too bad to make, once you figure out the level and the phonograms you need to work on. I hope they work for you, because they work like nothing else with DD4. 

 

1 minute ago, AnneGG said:

I appreciate all the advice!

I really hope it helps!! Kids are all so different 🙂 . 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a stock of nonsense words for you!

A game that makes them, you can choose beginning and endings you need to work on.

http://thephonicspage.org/On Phonics/concentrationgam.html

My syllables lessons use nonsense words, you could work through the first 5 or 6 or 7, after that stop or give a bunch of help, they're designed for older children.

http://thephonicspage.org/On Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

I've never had a student who confused h and f, although they are visually similar. You can also use an all uppercase program for a while, write whatever you're studying on a whiteboard in uppercase or here is an uppercase version of Blend Phonics:

http://donpotter.net/pdf/blend_phonics_reader_caps.pdf

I would quickly work through all the phonics to sound out everything before letting him loose on books with patterns he has not yet been taught, that leads to guessing that is hard to overcome. Nonsense words and word lists help stop the guessing habit. Read interesting stories to him while working to get him to be able to sound out anything.

 

Edited by ElizabethB
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