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FSR book A - a vs an

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    FSR book A - a vs an

    I'm not sure if this is right place to post this question, but since I know my dd has difficulty with learning and especially the 'hearing' part, I'm putting it here. If I should move it to K-8 or to the homework section, please let me know.


    This week we started working on FSR book A after spending the year on fine motor skills, letter formation and phonemic awareness (especially location of sounds within words, front, back, middle). She is doing well so far and I expect much of book A to be review but good to cement blending and word families since she is really slow and still guesses at times with these. Now that her fine motor/letter formation has gotten good, she is able to write the letters and words which is very helpful for her for sounding them out. Strangely I think she might be a better speller than reader.

    In lesson 7 (p17), it has the student differentiating between using 'a' vs 'an' as an article. (Of course, it doesn't call them articles.) According to the teacher's manual you're not supposed to stress the rule about vowels vs consonants but answer if the student asks. The problem is that she really doesn't 'hear' the correct answer. I say it correctly in normal life so it's not like she hasn't had exposure. I ended up needing to tell her the rule and having her first decide if the word starting with a vowel sound or a consonant (she knows her letter sounds) and then choosing the one that goes (a vs an). She isn't one to innately pick up information. It needs to be stated explicitly and repeatedly.


    --My question is, how important is this distinction right now? Is it just something to mention and then move on or do I really need to get this cemented into her head now? If it's just familiarization than I'll move on and review as the opportunity presents itself. If I need to get this into her head than I'll be more deliberate in teaching the distinction. Should I really hold up the rest of the lessons to get 'a' vs 'an' understood? She can read them correctly as they come up.

    Another question, the teacher manual didn't mention saying 'a' by itself as /uh/ instead of /a/. Nobody walks around saying /a/ cow so it seems odd to me that it hadn't come up when we're teaching the distinction between 'a' vs 'an'.

    Thanks for your thoughts
    Katie

    ETA: She isn't unhappy to do this work. She even asked to do it first this morning.
    Last edited by CelticaDea; 03-20-2014, 12:55 PM.

    #2
    Katie,

    Your daughter has made good progress! And yes, you're posting on the right forum for this question, given your daughter's history. I think we have three implied questions here:

    1. Should I give her the a/an rule because she seems to need it, even though this is not indicated in the teacher's guide?
    2. Should I move forward in the FSR lessons, even though she has not yet mastered a/an?
    3. Should we explain that with a/an, we pronounce "a" as "uh"?

    Yes to all. Your instincts for your daughter are good, because you have worked so closely with her!

    Our special-needs children do not often assimilate unspoken guidelines as other children might, so a straightforward rule can be helpful.

    Along with the rule, you can give her some extra practice with the skill, even as you move forward in other lessons. For example, you might cut an index card in half -- one labeled "a," the other "an." Find 8 pictures (flash cards, draw your own, or cut out magazine photos). Half should begin with a vowel, half with a consonant. Present a photo (apple). Have her play her "a" or "an" card and say, "an apple." Correct her if she makes a mistake. Place correct cards in the winning pile. Continue until she has all 8 correct. Shuffle the cards and try again the next day. You can add such a game to the end of her phonics lesson.

    When she knows these well, you can turn the deck into Concentration, adding 6 a/an cards. After several sessions, you can tuck them away and review in another month or two.


    [We worked on irregular plurals (foot/feet, tooth/teeth) in a similarly structured way, even though most children mature into a developmental understanding that the plural of foot is not "foots." For my daughter, this needed to be taught.]

    As you know very well, we must often nudge forward many skills that other children grasp as if with no effort at all.


    Thanks-
    Cheryl


    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Cheryl,

      Thank you for the confirmation. Sometimes I can't tell if a skill that's usually easy is one I need to focus on for her or it's just something to mention but not learn yet. I'll keep reviewing this one but not hold up further progress.

      I was thinking of making cards to show and practice with but I hadn't come up with any good games. Thank you for the suggestions!


      While you're looking at adjustments for lesson plans for special needs, have you seen the comprehension workbooks that EPS makes to go with the red and blue readers that are currently in the Kindergarten lesson plans? I just got a copy and, for kids who struggle with story comprehension, they could be a good step toward being able to do story time treasures later. The exercises are very simple story recall and comprehension but could be useful for developing this skill.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by CelticaDea View Post
        While you're looking at adjustments for lesson plans for special needs, have you seen the comprehension workbooks that EPS makes to go with the red and blue readers that are currently in the Kindergarten lesson plans? I just got a copy and, for kids who struggle with story comprehension, they could be a good step toward being able to do story time treasures later. The exercises are very simple story recall and comprehension but could be useful for developing this skill.

        Great tip. Thanks!

        Looking forward to your feedback on the new curriculum packages -

        Cheryl

        Comment

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