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Tapestry

Not Able To Rhyme


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I have a boy in my class who has EAL and also has some sound formation difficulties (long wait for speech therapy). His English is improving and can communicate well in his home language and in English.

 

However, we have discovered he is not able to identify rhyming words. He can't hear them nor generate any new ones. My very keen TA wants all the answers for this and I must admit I am at a loss. We recently did a unit on rhyme and rhythm in literacy but he was away - other children who found it challenging then have now 'clicked' and can identify and generate rhyming words.

 

Any ideas and answers??

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What age child? You mention doing a unit so I am guessing year one?

 

How long has this child been learning/accessing English?

 

To be honest, Id be looking at what level of English his speaking skills are at compared to his home language. I would also wonder if the speech sounds he is struggling with relate to his being an EAL child. So, does he have difficulty saying certain sounds in his home language, or do those sounds actually exist in his home language? Sounds that are 'new' to children are often tricky to hear which then it follows they are tricky to say.

 

For me, there are many other aspects of speech I would looking for before I was too worried about whether or not he can hear and say rhymes. Children can often communicate well and follow instructions in another language but do not yet have the conceptual understanding to 'get' what you are asking, particularly if it isn't something familiar in his home language.

 

But I would also continue to do what you probably do already, lots of stories and songs with rhymes in them. Ask if there are well known rhymes in his home language maybe?

 

Another obvious thing to check is hearing, just in case there is anything amiss there which is being masked by other things.

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Goodness I have a year one class (all english as their first language) and I'd say a quarter of them can't generate a new rhyme themselves and about half 'mishear' rhymes on occasion (or don't hear them at all). So for example I might read something with leg and bed in and the children sometimes tell me they've noticed a rhyme but of course it doesn't rhyme. The ability range for these mistakes covers from the very bright level 2 children to those that are still working on the profile. I'm not at all worried about this. I once went on a course where they said that the time to start worrying about this is once the child gets past the age of 7. With an EAL child who also has pronunciation difficulties I suspect this wouldn't be something to worry about for a good while yet.

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I would think that this is normal!

 

Your EAL learner will be like a baby learning to speak for the first time, do babies identify rhyme easily?

 

He may be able to continue a rhyming string if you continue to practise this with him and provide him with the words he needs but I would not expect him to be able to generate rhyme for quite a while yet and this will depend a lot on the language experiences that he has in his mother tongue and his level of development within that.

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Thank you for all your replies which has helped me put things in perspective and think about this afresh. To be honest I had been quite relaxed about it but my TA seems to have a bee in her bonnet about it - not sure if this is coming from her expectations/benchmarks of her own son.

 

Must admit I hadn't thought about his hearing and now it makes sense! He is having difficulty in identifying sounds in words when writing.

 

In terms of EAL, he has had an EAL assessment last term and he had a high level of understanding in English and it was highlighted in the report that he does have difficulties in manipulating his tongue (which I have seen too). Mum was adament that it was because his front bottom teeth had been extracted, the SALT team disagreed, his teeth have emerged and still no change. Mum speaks English at home and he has been speaking English for at least 2 years - but it can be quite difficult to understand what he is saying because of the mix of sounds t is pronounced d.

 

On another note does anyone else have to plan the work the EAL support staff does for their children??

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On another note does anyone else have to plan the work the EAL support staff does for their children??

 

I think that would depend on the status and qualification of the person supporting. I would certainly expect to be imvolved both in what was being done and feedback of child's attainment etc. i would also expect them to observing and working within my classroom at least some of the time.

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