help please with ea words - teaching dyslexic DD

(57 Posts)
betterwhenthesunshines Mon 04-Feb-13 19:25:52

DD is 8, in Yr 3 and has a dyslexia diagnosis. We are helping her a lot at home and things are improving although still extremely variable. Her reading especially has improved (EasyRead system) and she no longer panics and can consistently sound out new words, is reading more fluently and she now seems to have a good phonic grounding.

However it hasn't yet transferred to her spelling which is still a tricky area. Any tips for when the -ea- sound makes the short 'e':
bread, spread, head, lead (as opposed to the simple bed, fed, led, shed)

and when the long 'ea'
reach, teach, speak, creak, knead, bead

and when the 'ee'
need, greed

lead tricky one this "My pencil has lead in it"
"My dog has a lead" "I led the horse to water"
Should she just be trying to learn the different words in different scenarios, or is there any rhyme or reason? Any 'rules'?

PS I don't really want a lecture on why English spelling should be changed Masha grin just some tips about the best way to help her!

mrz Sat 09-Feb-13 08:47:54

I'm afraid there aren't any rules or tricks to help the OPs child right now as has been said previously Euphemia

Euphemia Sat 09-Feb-13 09:28:25

That was my point, Mrz - what the OP needs is sensible, relevant advice on the teaching of reading, not a lesson on the history/vagaries of the English language, which is what certain posters always jump to on these threads.

maizieD Sat 09-Feb-13 12:20:03

not a lesson on the history/vagaries of the English language, which is what certain posters always jump to on these threads.

I just scroll down quickly past those with averted eyes grin

ML0808 Wed 20-Feb-13 08:23:52

I just stumbled across this site because I had been Googling for ea words to help my own dyslexic child with his homework. Obviously this wasn't exactly what I was looking for, but I felt compelled to drop you a line and say that while all the mothers on here seem well intentioned, they don't seem to be of much help to you. I think you should be directing these sorts of problems towards one of the sites set up to help parents of dyslexic children. Then you can get some advice that's actually useful and, when needed, a shoulder to cry on (we all have our hard days). You Tube also has some wonderful tutorials from teachers and parents of dyslexic students on how best to teach new words and sounds. As for your original question, my advice (for what it's worth) is to just take it one word and one test at a time. It's really too hard to teach them every word within a sound group. Let her get her sounds right, and let her spell phonetically so that she's getting her words down on paper. Then maybe go through and explain which sounds need to be swapped for similar sounds. My approach with my nine year old son was to tell him that English doesn't make sense, and that some words are just spelt differently. It's no big deal and it's not his fault if he's written the wrong sound down. That's what it sounded like, and it was a really good try. Focusing on the stupidity of the English language seems to alleviate the anxiety and feelings of failure. Then I just deal with his words one spelling list at a time. I'm not sure where you live, but I discovered a Multilit program that is being run at Macquarie University (in Sydney) that might interest you. It's had great success in catching children up to their peers in about 6 months, but it costs $6000. It seems pretty steep, but if I don't have to stress about this stuff any more, or pay for a tutor in High School, it'll be worth it. I hope that I've been of some help to you. But if not, just remember, she'll get there eventually. As long as you keep her confidence intact, the rest will fall into place in it's own time.

betterwhenthesunshines Sun 24-Feb-13 12:29:13

ML0808 Thank you for replying. Good tip about You tube.

You're absolutely right about letting them know that often English spelling doesn't make sense. Ithink that's one of the problems with the way in which synthetic phonics is (sometimes) taught. ie "here is 'a', it makes this sound (short 'a')" and then a few months later they are being told about long vowels, not to mention awful, august, argue etc

I've tried to lift the pressure and more often now just say "here you use xx to make this sound".

Feenie Sun 24-Feb-13 12:49:01

but I felt compelled to drop you a line and say that while all the mothers on here seem well intentioned, they don't seem to be of much help to you

How patronising! Several posters here are very skilled and experienced teachers, as well as well intentioned mothers.

mrz Sun 24-Feb-13 12:52:53

I think it is important to understand the basic concepts

that letters are spellings of sounds: written language representing spoken language

that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters

that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound 'ee', spelt as <ee> in 'tree', can be represented as <e> in 'he', <ea> in 'leaf', <ey> in 'key', and so on

that many spellings can represent more than one sound: <ea> can be the sound 'e' in 'head', 'a-e' in 'break', or 'ee' in 'seat'

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