Where have all the vowels gone?

21st March 2003 at 00:00
This verse may help you consider the merits or demerits of ideas discussed in the article. First, read it through. Now consider what processes you think you used to read it.

Next, ask children to read it. Ask fluent readers and also children still getting to grips with words. Then ask them how they did it? What they found difficult about it? What was wrong with it? I found the children's answers fascinating.

Samantha, six, an emergent reader at the stage of reading "says" as "yes", was able to negotiate some though not all of the missing vowels in cvc (consonantvowelconsonant) words.

Daniel, six, read the verse ponderously but correctly. According to Daniel, the problem was, "too many letters in this word", pointing to 'aroo' of 'kangaroo', the only word he'd stumbled over. Other missing letters hadn't troubled him.

Daisy, six, was magnificent and, like many, read it without a blink of a hesitation. "So, what was difficult about it or wrong with it, Daisy?" No mention of missing letters. Daisy tried gently to point out that the syntax could have been better, it needed "more ands".

Vispan, seven, who read, "no" as "on", and "as" with the vowel missing as "so" initially, negotiated most of the missing vowel words and didn't see them as a problem.

Alastair, seven, who simply flew through it, analysed his working methodology big time. "I tried the word with different letters in the middle, and when I got to the one that made sense, I thought, that's the right word."

If you've a moment, why not try it. I hope it raises some issues for you.

th*s poor d*g *s v*ry th*n, th*t r*ch c*t *s v*ry f*t, c*t *s eat*ng s*x b*g f*sh look *nto h*s s*pper d*sh.

th*s poor d*g *s going to g*t, th*t r*ch f*t c*t's s*pper y*t, d*g says, "h*llo, l*ttle m*ss" asks th*t f*t c*t for a k*ss.

c*t says, "no, I don't k*ss d*gs, k*ngaroos, snakes, *nts or fr*gs" d*g says, "look c*t, c*n you see one b*g bl*ck bird *p th*t tree?"

c*t says, "y*s", forg*ts h*s s*pper, climbs the tree goes *p, *nd *pper, d*g says, "nice one!" gr*bs the d*sh starts to eat the s*x b*g f*sh.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?

Subscribe

To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers

Comments

Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
 
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today