Friday, December 11, 2009

EoE spells Mom

My amazing co-teacher shared with me today about a student in another school. This little girl, when asked to write 'mom', wrote 'EoE'. Of course, I looked at this completely at a loss.

She then went on to tell me that the little girl's name is Emma. Think about that for a minute.

Next, she told me that Emma confuses the letters E and M. (Not a typical problem for kids.) Again, think about it.

When Emma says her name, what does she hear? The first sound she hears is the 'm' sound. She knows that her name begins with the letter 'E'. Therefore E must make the 'm' sound.

So, EoE spells mom. Amazing, isn't it? So many of the confusions kids face make perfect sense when one can find the entire context. Kids are highly logical. There are almost always really good reasons for what they think. We, as teachers and parents, become the detectives trying to find those reasons in order to correct misconceptions.

7 comments:

Teacher Tom said...

I love this. The English language is incredibly challenging. I sometimes wonder that anyone learns to write it.

teach5 said...

I've come to think that many kids learn the "shape" of a letter first, no matter it's orientation. It then becomes problematic for those shapes that are similar. Rotate the E, you get M. For some of them this is a hurdle more than for others. And you are right, understanding on our part is key.

teach5 said...

Emma with the M sound makes sense too. I don't know WHY I was commenting on blogs at 3 AM......

Jenny said...

teach5: I think your comment about the rotation issue is a good one, too, though. Several years ago I found a new alphabet that I thought was fabulous (I was a fifth grade teacher then). It is The Turn-Around Upside Down Alphabet Book by Lisa Campbell Ernst. I thought it was so clever and such a creative idea for kids to explore. Our Reading Recovery teachers had a completely different response. Because they see so many kids with issues of directionality and such they felt that the book would be exceptionally confusing to primary kids. It was really interesting.

Launa Hall said...

Interesting how consonants are so much easier for young children to hear than vowels. To determine whether this child is hearing an E as an M because of her name, or if she's trying to write an M but confusing the directionality as teach5 suggested, it would be interesting to see her write her own name. That might shed some light.

Scott Wiley said...

I always get insight from kids when they write and talk about their writing. Hearing their thought processes and how they are making the letter-sound connections helps us understanding how our crazy language gets interpreting by little minds.

And the orientation issue is definitely part of the process. I've seen kids print letters in all sorts of directions and call it the same.

English-Polish military said...

My daughter (Polish) confused E with S when she started learning English. Dr House series is to be blamed for that. We watched a lot of Dr House and she was exposed to "house" written. At the same time she heard many times how it was pronouced. To our surprise one day she announced that she knows letter "S", actually drawing "E."