21 April 2011

When Spitting on Mommy is OK

"Say it, don't spray it" poorly translated?

Today my five-year-old and I worked on pronunciation. She had practiced writing "Nathan," her brother's name, and then writing "th" a few times to get the pair in her little brain.

"They're partners," I told her, telling her how to mark the space between the pairs of letters on the page with her left forefinger. "They have to stand together."

She's always says "sanks" instead of "thanks" and "fink" instead of "think" so we practiced a while on placing her tongue under her teeth to make the /th sound. I was a little surprised to see that if I gently held her top and bottom lip still she could still say "Nathan" perfectly. This was helpful because she wanted to use her bottom lip to say the /f sound.

I could see that she had to think about where to put her tongue. She obviously had a habit of forming it with the /s or /f sound instead. She was actually pretty excited to be rewarded with praise and clapping for something as elementary as saying a word right.

Just in case you were having similar problems at your house, I ran out of words with /th pretty quickly after "the" and "thimble." "Nathan" seemed to be an extra challenge because the /th ws in the middle of the word. (plus Nathan was getting frustrated at us saying his name so many times!) So here's a tiny list: thin, think, that, then, thumb, thank, Thanksgiving, Thursday.

My son was sent to a speech therapist a few years ago. It was through Easter Seals. She quizzed him and said he was super intelligent- of course- and actually cut a few quizzes short because he nailed them so well. Anyway, she said he needed help with /th and /r. She gave me a five-second tutorial on how to tutor him on pronouncing the words right, but I figured just saying them right myself gives me a clue.... we didn't take him in for "therapy." I'm sure there's a time and place for it, definitely. But he was young, and my husband said he said the same things at that age. So we've let it sit, and today, he came up and told this to Lily as she spit "th's" at me (literally):

"Lily, pretend you're going to bite your tongue, but at the last second, pull it back!"


Here's a great article on Teaching Pronunciation. It has a lot of links at the bottom.

I'm so pleased you are reading Higher Education! Click on the post title to leave a comment.Teresa (Tracy) Dear

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