Language Development

Language Development: Why is my child having trouble learning his ABC’s?

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Most parents look forward with a bit of trepidation to their children learning to read. It’s a big step, and there is perhaps no other skill more important to your child’s development than reading.

So when your child finds learning to read difficult, it can be as devastating to you as it is to your child.

There are several reasons why your child might have trouble learning their alphabet. Of course all children are different, and you might find that your child’s reading difficulties are caused by more than thing on this list. However, be assured that your child will learn to read eventually.

Weak auditory memory

A strong auditory memory is what allows your child to remember what they hear. If your child’s auditory memory is weak, they’ll have trouble remembering that the m in man is the same sound as the m in map.

Recognizing initial sounds is one of the first steps in most phonics programs, so if your child has this problem, you’ll probably notice even before your child starts kindergarten.

Weak auditory – visual language association

This sounds complicated, but it really means that your child has trouble putting together an auditory piece of info with a visual one. Practically, that means that they can’t seem to associate the sound m with the letter m.

This was a minor problem for one son of mine, and a huge problem with a second. The second son also had a weak auditory memory on top of it, which made things that much harder.

Weak visual discrimination skills

In order for your child to read well, they need to be able to tell one letter from another. A child who has weak visual discrimination skills, finds this difficult to do. They may simply need glasses , which is easy to fix.

Believe it or not, this happens more frequently than parents realize, which is why I always insist kids get an eye exam before I do an evaluation. It’s not always easy to tell when a child needs glasses, especially if they’re young.

Weak visual closure skills

Visual closure is the skill that lets children put the whole picture together from the parts. So for example, let’s say you’re building a toy airplane for your daughter. A child with visual closure issues would have trouble looking at the pieces on the table and recognizing that you’re building an airplane.

Practically, if your child has weak visual closure skills, she might be able to read a word like hat, but when given the individual letters, won’t be able to make the word hat from them.

This problem is harder to see if your child’s teacher relies heavily on sight words. However in most classes, all alphabet learning involves building words, so your child would have trouble as soon as they start putting words together.

Weak auditory closure

This is similar to visual closure, except it involves sounds. So your child would have trouble blending words together(c-a-t). This can also become doubly complicated if your child also has even a mild weakness in auditory memory: by the time they get to the last letter, they might have forgotten what the initial letters were, and so be unable to read the word.

These may seem overwhelming, but don’t worry! I’ll be writing posts later on with specific activities that you can use to help your child overcome these weaknesses.

 

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2 Comments
  • Rachel Oct 15,2011 at 11:23 pm

    Some kids do pick it up; I have one that was slower in picking it up and now reads beautifully.

    Still, I’m a worry wart, and prefer to take action sooner rather than later. But thank goodness you’re homeschooling, so she can go at her own pace! I’ll post some more activities within the next few weeks.

  • Laughwithusblog Oct 15,2011 at 3:31 pm

    My kindergartener is actually having more trouble in this area than I thought she would. I keep reviewing, but try not to push her. She is a young five and for some I think it just clicks when they are a little older. I don’t want her to get frustrated. I’m looking forward to your activities.

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