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Can’t hear vowel sounds


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We just started phonics with my daughter. She can say and remember the sound each vowel makes, but if I ask her what vowel she hears in a word m, she just can’t hear it. Should we just keep practicing or should I move on and maybe she will catch on? Any tips for helping her out?

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How old is she? If she is younger than 6 or 7 years old, I would just keep practicing. Medial sounds, which tend to be the vowels, are the hardest for most children.

Have her stretch out the words, exaggeratedly so.

rrrrrrraaaaaaaatttttttt

Can she hear the vowel that way? Can she segment words? For example can she tell you the sounds in the word rat? Have her jump for each sound in a word or clap. You can play this as a word game when you are in the car or waiting in line somewhere. 

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You're going to need to build it up. As @sweet2ndchance said, medial is hard. So you're going to build v-c, c-v, vcv, etc. till eventually she can do cvc. This is where LIPS is the bomb, highly recommend. 

If she's very young (3-5), then focus on games. We had a cute one called Vowel Owls that you can find around. Also you can/should have her hearing tested just to make very sure there isn't an audiological explanation. I took my ds to an audiologist just before his dyslexia was diagnosed. Some universities will do it low cost or free if they have audiology programs.

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2 hours ago, sweet2ndchance said:

How old is she? If she is younger than 6 or 7 years old, I would just keep practicing. Medial sounds, which tend to be the vowels, are the hardest for most children.

Have her stretch out the words, exaggeratedly so.

rrrrrrraaaaaaaatttttttt

Can she hear the vowel that way? Can she segment words? For example can she tell you the sounds in the word rat? Have her jump for each sound in a word or clap. You can play this as a word game when you are in the car or waiting in line somewhere. 

She is about to turn 6. She doesn’t know the r or t sound yet. We are using abeka and they do the 5 short vowel sounds first. No, she can’t figure that short a is the vowel sound she hears, she just guesses one of the vowels. She seems to do on on hearing short I compared to the others. We are only on lesson 15 or so, so this is all brand new to her. 

 

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Is she able to hear the initial sound of a word? Initial sounds are easiest to hear. 

I would start doing those vowel questions a little differently. I would start with just telling her the answer. For example "maaaaat has the /a/ sound in the middle." Do that for a little bit, my kids are younger when I do this so after a while they just start telling me words they see and say "rug has the /b/ sound." After they start telling me words they see and say (right or wrong) then I start to ask them for the middle sounds.  If they are wrong immediately tell them the right answer forming that complete sentence "doooot has the /o/ sound in the middle".  If they are right then "Yes, doooot has the  /o/ sound in the middle." (When my kids are trying to learn these sounds I try not cloud the answer with too much you're right or you're wrong statements, so what they hear and think about are the sounds. I save the big praises for the end of the questioning.)

Another activity I've found helpful is to have my son sort stuff according to sound. We are working on the long vowels right now and I did an activity with him sorting pictures that have a middle short /a/ sound and long /a/ sound. (skate, cat, mat, chair, etc) The book for this activity is called "Words Their Way".

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40 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

At 5 years old, I wouldn't worry at all. Just keep practicing. If she still can't do it at all when she is about 7.5yo or so, then I would worry.

Ok. I’m not super worried, I just wanted to make the right move of either pressing on or not.  I think I’ll go a little further in the lessons and see if it clicks and if not, maybe give a rest for a while. I used abeka with my boys and I don’t recall them struggling, so I just wasn’t sure if I needed something else to help her or if it was normal.

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They are easier to hear in initial sounds. My chart teaches with initial sounds:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LChartsCombined.pdf

I would switch to the old Open Court while working on learning short sounds. It starts with long vowels and has very explicit teaching of sounds. There are videos showing sounds, then Blue workbook, then gold workbook.

http://wigowsky.com/school/opencourt/opencourt.htm

I would use videos like this to help hear and see vowel sounds, it shows a side view of mouth and tongue and lips while you hear the sound, there are a ton more like it on YouTube, search phonetics and vowels for more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7jQ8FELbIo&t=37s

 

 

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Are you expecting her to say the letter name? Or just say what sound she hears?

Have her say it VERY slowly with you - you can move your hand from side to side to show her how long to make the sounds. MMMMMAAAAAP. Then ask what sound she hears in the beginning. Say it again, what sound does she hear in the middle?

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I am in no way suggesting that trouble with vowels = dyslexia, but I will say that "not hearing vowels" or being able to sound them out was a symptom of my daughter's dysphonetic dyslexia. However, we did not consider it to be an issue to pursue until she was about 8.5. It's worth doing a quick search to read a little about it, though! 

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My almost 5 year old has trouble hearing /i/ vs /e/ (short sounds), and my 7 year old does too, to a lesser extent. Where we live, these are generally said very similarly. I literally had no idea that pin and pen weren't homophones everywhere until high school, and it took me hard work to distinguish the sounds once I discovered it. I don't know where you live, but it may be a good idea to consider if local accent makes it harder. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/6/2021 at 7:39 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Hmmm, I've never done things in this order. I find that kids can sound things out way before they can do this kind of backtracking... at least, my kids can. 

I'm a little late to the conversation but wanted to tell our experience with this in case it helps.

Yeah, we didn't do a lot of this either. One of my kids is stealth dyslexic though, and this became a problem later. We thought the way he sort of made a generic vowel sound at times was related to his speech issues, but it wasn't! However, it didn't hold him up from learning to sound things out. In fact, sounding out words is what clued him in that he should be hearing differences and wasn't.

Cue the auditory processing diagnosis. He had a very unusual APD profile, but the audiologist was able to fix this. LIPS would've been super overkill when he was little, and I don't know if it would've fixed it since it was an APD issue (he had other APD quirks that were worked on as well). We didn't have access to APD therapy until he was much, much older (CAPDOTS and Buffalo Model).

Anyway, his symptoms showed up as thinking that thin/then/than were all the same word--he used context to figure it out. He didn't know they were different words until he saw them in print. He thought we were playing a joke on him. 

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