A student who struggles with alphabet letters

Discussion in 'ESL/ELL' started by sjanew15, Nov 2, 2016.

  1. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2016

    I have one student in particular who is really struggling with learning her alphabet letters this year. She came to school speaking broken English and has since learned a handful of sight words and a handful of alphabet letters. She has since stopped progressing. I use alphabet chants with puppets (the puppets are the exact same as the pictures on my word wall). I have done letter sorts, we read books where the students find the letter we are studying in the book. I also have her write the letter in sand, on a tracing mat, and on other more sensory materials. Her progress varies day by day. She speaks exclusively Spanish at home and seems to forget everything she learned when she goes home. What can I do to boost her knowledge of alphabet letters and sounds?
     
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  3. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Nov 20, 2016

    That is interesting. Spanish speakers have nearly the same alphabet with many of the same sounds as English. Is she literate in her first language? Can you use her knowledge of different sight words at all? Perhaps help her segment them by letter sound until she starts to connect the idea that certain letters make the same sounds?

    I have a girl who speaks Arabic struggling with this as well. She had very little formal schooling before she came to us. I do a letter of the week with her, complete with worksheets that include finding the letter, printing it (uppercase and lowercase), and naming the pictures that start with the letter. I help her write the words. We also do a sound sort (usually sound at the beginning of the word and in the middle or end) and reading simple books focused on that letter. I have an alphabet poster we use frequently and a desk topper with the printed alphabet, and I make her write letters correctly once we have learned them. It isn't perfect, and she doesn't remember everything, but she is getting there. Newcomers with little or no educational background tend to take a longer time learning the letters and alphabet.
     
  4. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Devotee

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    Nov 20, 2016

    Do you have the magnetic or foam letters? Just keep working at phonemic awareness for individual letters and then have her put them together and blend the sounds, using nonsense words too. Give her a Phonics Screener (you can find them online) to pinpoint where the exact areas of need really are. And go from there.
    It will be a lot of explicit instruction and DAILY practice until it clicks. There is no one sure fire way to quick success. It'll be a slow process that needs to be tackled everyday. I had it with my ELL's too.
    Good luck.
     
  5. ChildWhisperer

    ChildWhisperer Habitué

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    Nov 20, 2016

    Do her parents know English? Perhaps you can ask them to work with her at home as well.
     
  6. sjanew15

    sjanew15 Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2016

    I do explicit instruction daily. She's been moved to tier three RTI instruction (but in a way where she learns like the general education kids, just more explicitly). We move very slowly. I started by teaching her the letters in her name and we are now branching out to learn other letters. She still can't hear sounds in a word, but she can hear them in isolated settings or when we do reading/phonics activities, which is a big step up. On the first day of the week, I introduce the alphabet letter. Day two, we review the letter and introduce the letter sound. Day three, we sort words that have the target letter and sound in them. She says "yes" or "no" if it matches or doesn't match the sound. After that, we write sentences that use words from the books we have been reading that have the target letter sounds in them. If she is ready afterward, we move on to new letters and words.

    Mom does not speak English but dad does. They are currently teaching her both Spanish and English at home. Dad said he was going to deploy soon, but I guess those plans got put on hold because he shows up to all our meetings and says he isn't leaving any time soon.

    I spoke to the special education teacher and the literacy coach and we are holding stakeholder meetings about once every two months to chart this child's progress. So far she has gone from zero alphabet letters up to about five site words and 8 alphabet letters in about a month/month and a half. Dad has jumped right on board with the learning process and is helping her with stuff at home. I'm also sending home materials in both Spanish and English (flashcards, books, alphabet resources, etc), which have been helping tremendously. Dad is also very crafty, so he built her an alphabet wall in her bed room.
     

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