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What happens when my child mixes up the sounds he sees and hears?

My son seems to mix up the sounds he sees and hears. Sometimes he sounds words out with the right sounds and then says the wrong word. Once he read the word "stump." He said each one of the sounds, sounding it out. Then when I prompted him to put it all together, he said, "stank." Why does he do that?

The trouble you are describing sounds like weak phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the ability to distinguish one sound from another in a word. A reader with fully developed phonemic awareness can think about the separate sounds in the word as well as the sounds blended together. Readers with weak phonemic awareness will have trouble sounding out words correctly and will sometimes have a hard time pronouncing difficult words. However, "phonemic awareness" has become a very trendy term in the reading world so people are starting to use it as a blanket term for reading troubles. Labels are less important than the symptoms he may be experiencing. You may wish to have him assessed so that you can determine his exact strengths and weakness in reading. Regardless of the label for the troubles he is experiencing, he is having a hard time sounding out words and needs support in that area.

Tags: phonemic awareness, reading problems, reading instruction

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