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My 4yr old can´t do ABCs. Poss Dyslexia?

(13 Posts)
MoominPie22 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:25:57

We have tried all manner of ways to teach my 4yr old daughter her letters but she can´t even tell us the 1st 3 letters of the alphabet. We´re starting to get quite concerned it could be Dyslexia.

If we ask her to copy a letter, say a D, she will do it but it´s a mirror image. She´s copying it but backwards. She get´s quite frustrated and loses patience and I´m wondering if it´s cos she knows she can´t do it.

Now I´m thinking of other things that may be related like the fact she puts her shoes on the wrong way about 95% of the time despite us repeatedly teaching her which shoe goes on which foot. And she doesn´t appear to understand the concept of right and left either.

She´s very bright and quick in other areas and has a very good memory. And her behaviour is totally fine with no other concerns. I´m gonna get some advice in real life but I just wondered if anyone else has had experience of this. Neither me nor my husband has dyslexia and I´m aware there´s other kids her age who know the full alphabet so I´m really worried sad Thankyou in advance...

P.S she started school 2 months ago and she´s learning a 2nd language cos we´re British expats plus she´s seeing a Speech Therapist.

Paddypaws3 Tue 12-Jan-16 11:36:52

What do school say? If they're happy with her progress,I'm wouldn't be too concerned at this point (I'm an infant teacher, btw).

There will be others who know all of their letters and can say the alphabet but this does not mean that your dd is 'behind'. The fact that she's learning a second language perhaps might be slowing things down too.

Seeline Tue 12-Jan-16 11:50:02

Just being able to recite the alphabet means nothing if the child doesn't understand what the letters are for.
She's 4, give it time.
Encourage her to listen to sounds - perhaps start with her initial and then when reading to her see if she can spot the letter at the beginning of other words and see what the word sounds like together. Spotting on road signs, shop names etc can be fun.
Keep reading to her - lots. Do lots of singing together too - that helps with sound recognition.

CocktailQueen Tue 12-Jan-16 11:55:53

It's very young! She's 4! Kids will only know the alphabet if their parents have schooled them in it - and knowing it is pretty pointless at this stage imo.

Learning a second language will mean she's putting a lot of effort into that, so other things may take a back set for now. How are her motor skills and coordination generally? Colouring? Getting dressed? Threading bead? Riding a bike?

If all that is fine then don't worry about the mirror writing - it's v common till much older. And my 8yo d still puts his shoes on the wrong feet occasionally...

MoominPie22 Tue 12-Jan-16 20:10:18

Thanks for your responses, ladies. Actually I feel a bit better now, not just from what you guys said but we´ve started a new ¨Reward System¨ today with stickers on a chart. When she gets 5 stars I´ll take her to the cheap shop here and she can choose a little present. She´s done some letters and earned her 1st star since I´ve been out smile

My husband´s more patient then me so he´s gonna do the sitting down to learn ABCs on a night and I help teach her Dutch words. And like you say Seeline I´ll incorporate more letter learning when we´re out and about. Like an I Spy, spot the letter type game.

Paddy Yes you´re right. Certainly learning a 2nd language, as she´s in a Dutch school but we speak English at home, has slowed her down. But the good thing is she can understand and speak Dutch, although her pronunciation isn´t on par with a Dutch child her age obviously. Hence the speech therapist. I need to speak with her regular teacher still, as she´s off this week.

She´s 1 of 26 in the class and the only non-Dutch kid so I sometimes worry she´s not getting the attention she needs and is just left to get on with things.

Cocktail She´s great at all those things. I suppose I should just chill out a bit!blush It´s my husband that got me worried cos he was saying he knew the whole alphabet at age 3yrs, according to his parents! shock

Anyways, consistent learning in a fun way and observation I think. Thanks

Littlefish Tue 12-Jan-16 20:16:32

When you say "the alphabet", or "her ABCs" do you mean the letter name or the letter sound? If she was in the UK she would be focussing on the letter sound, eg. a makes the sound at the beginning of apple, not A as in ABC. Also, are you using lower case or capital letters? I would strongly suggest starting with lower case letters.

TeenAndTween Tue 12-Jan-16 20:20:46

Shoes. Some people draw 2 halves of a smiley face inside shoes so when they are the right way around the face is complete.

Not an expert, but with English you are recommended to teach the sound not the name, and lower case before upper case. Are you doing that? You certainly do not need to start with the alphabet names in order.

Considering how excellent the Dutch end up at English (I used to work for a Dutch electronics company) I doubt you have much to worry about longer term even if she doesn't learn to read in English yet.

I think that normally for bilingualism the rule is each parent speaks to their child in their own mother-tongue. If you don't mind my asking, are you Dutch or English? How do the Dutch learn to read - phonic based or some other system?

TeenAndTween Tue 12-Jan-16 20:21:12


Loveleopardprint Tue 12-Jan-16 20:30:01

Lots of children write letters back to front, put shoes on the wrong feet etc. Don't worry I am sure she is fine. Have you tried the alphabet song. Just learning letters can be quite abstract especially in two different languages. Give her time to settle at school.

shouldiblowthewhistle Tue 12-Jan-16 20:34:47

Leuk dat ze de mogelijkheid om het nederlands te leren!

I'd say keep a literacy rich environment - songs, stories, poetry, sound games, books, films, acting out stories/plays etc and don't worry until you have some real evidence that she has a learning difficulty i.e. is delayed in reading by age 6/7 or so. She's very young yet.

MoominPie22 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:51:36

Thanks everyone smile I appreciate your advice. Littlefish We´re actually doing both at home. We´re doing the sound, as in ¨apple¨ but also A, as in how it sounds in the alphabet. We´re also using capitals not lower case blush I had no idea it mattered...I think cos things like puzzles and jigsaws we have are in capital format and we didn´t want to use capitals and lower case together incase it confused her.

No worries we can change that but why does it matter, out of interest?

Teenandtween That´s such a great idea with the shoes, thankyou! Or I could do a smiley face on the soles in permanent marker if they´re light coloured. That´s sure to make all the difference. I don´t know how the Dutch do it at Basisschool but I´m gonna collar a teacher tomorrow to find out.

At home we also draw the letter ( in capitals currently but now I know, we can change to lower case ) and she copies underneath.

Loveleopard Yes I need to dust off the alphabet song plus there´s plenty of others on Youtube too.

shouldiblow haha quite! She´s way ahead of me though, just from being immersed in it so much more. The irony is I´m not bad at written exercises but I´m crap at listening and speaking in Dutch. She doesn´t know her ABCs but can converse very well, using the correct verbs and everything, with Dutchies grin I´m envious!

Nederlands is een moeilijke taal! Even the Dutch say so....confused

MoominPie22 Tue 12-Jan-16 21:54:24

Teen Oops forgot to say I´m English.

Spellcheck Thu 14-Jan-16 21:35:28

Please don't worry about teaching the alphabet, or letter names, at this age. It's the letter sounds (eg "ahh" for a, "buh" for b, etc). This helps them to blend the letters when they come to read words later on.
It's normal not to be able to do this at this age. It's totally normal to write letters backwards. And it's lower case because that is how it is in books. She sounds normal to me!
(Teacher and mother of 5)

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