>A Response to J’s Question

>Thank you so much for writing in with your questions. We really appreciate any feedback from parents and your questions are familiar ones. We are so happy that you are doing this with your daughter and are so proactive.

There are a couple of things that we thought of with your current situation. First of all, you have a very common situation of having an older sibling learning letter names at school. We get that question quite frequently. While letter names are inescapable, it is really your emphasis on the sounds that will draw your daughter back to the importance of them. You can talk to your son about the importance of sounds in reading and that your daughter is too young to understand both right now. Ask him to talk about the sounds instead of the letters with her. Re-emphasizing the sounds when he or she states the letter name will reinforce it. For example, if either see a letter and say it’s name, such as a “M”, you can respond, “Yes, that’s mmmm”.

The other thing you mentioned was that she was having trouble producing the /e/ and /’i/ differently. While your daughter may be producing the rest of the Souns she has learned, it isn’t necessary that she be able to articulate them correctly, no matter what her age or developmental level until she is beginning to decode outloud. For now, it is entirely about her comprehension and differentiation of the different letters and their sounds. If you place emphasis on her identifying (showing you the object that you named) rather than her naming it outloud, you should be able to redirect her to more success and therefore encourage her continued play with Souns.

It is normal that children’s interests will wane over time but if you continue to keep Souns in her life and environment, without it being a testing situation, and emphasize natural play situations, you will be able to continue reinforcing Souns. With my own children, if I feel like the interest is waning, I will sometimes just make sure the Souns got spilled and ask them to clean them up by stating, “Go get the sss under the chair” and “Can you bring the aahh to Mommy?” Even if she isn’t interested in Souns per se, she will always be interested in your attention. And, of course, sounds are everywhere. There are many opportunities to talk about the letter’s sounds when you see them on trucks on the road or napkins at a restaurant. Also, depending on your daughter’s level, you can play sound games in the car or wherever, asking, “what sounds do you hear in “pop” etc.. or “what else starts with ssss?”

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