From the eyes of a 5 year old…

Soooo…. teaching my daughter how to read has been a whirlwind! She is doing great, but still struggles. She has reached that age where she has to question everything. She recently learned in school the silent “e” at the end of words, so when we are reading she points out that an “e” is silent.

We were reading smaller learning to read books, but I thought it would be fun to try a bigger book – with pictures of course – just to make sure she is actually learning to read and not just memorizing the words and the stories.

We started to read Beauty and the Beast, a Disney classic, and yes also one of our favorite movies to watch together. I of course know the words, because they are all similar to the movie, but for her it is something new – and challenging!

However reading just a page or two each night has posed many questions… Mommy why do you say it like that? Mommy why didn’t you say that letter?… etc. and I have come to my own conclusion that English is the most confusing and stupid language! I feel confident in saying this, as I have spoken English my whole life… I learned Spanish in high school, Greek and Hebrew in College, and I have learned and still am in the process of learning Arabic… but in English there are so many words with silent letters or combination of words that make no sense!

Some examples:

  1. ph = f ~ ph in a word is pronounced like an “f”
  2. ps = s-eye ~ in a word is pronounced like s-eye
  3. gn = n ~ the g is completely silent

Also our brains are programed to correct words that are wrong and replace them with the correct ones… here is an example I found online:

Tihs is a smaple snetecne to tset yuor brian’s abiltiy to corrcet mitskaes!

Scientists believe that the brain’s ability to make sense out of misspelled words — and to do so automatically and so quickly — stems from the fact that most proficient readers don’t read words one letter at a time. Instead, most readers recognize entire words at once by seeing the first and last letters of the word and combining that information with other important information, such as the length, shape and content of the word.

So, as long as the first and last letters are correct and the other letters that make up the word are there — even if they’re mixed up — our brains can make sense of them quickly. This allows us to read quickly and efficiently without getting slowed down or tripped up by misspellings.

AND THEN THERE IS THE DUAL SPELLING AND MEANING WORDS… MY FAVORITE!!! Just to name a few…

  • to know something ~ knew / new ~ never used or worn
  • separate and distinct ~ discrete / discreet ~ careful not to attract attention
  • type of bear ~ grizzly / grisly ~ gruesome or revolting
  • having two parts ~ dual / duel ~ contest between two participants
  • time of day ~ night / knight ~ person of noble birth

And then there are the pronouns, adverbs, adjectives… which I always misconstrue. And don’t get me started on the letter following rules… like “i before e, except after c”….Are there other languages out there with this same problem or is it just English? And if so… then why? Why does a written language have to be so convoluted and complicated?

Allah help me when I really have to help with English homework!!!

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