“Th” versus “d” and “f”

In past years, Peter has been replacing the “th” sound with the “d” or “f” sound. “That” was “dat,” and “Bethany” was “Befany.” I worked on teaching him the correct pronunciation, and he was finally able to make the “th” sound.

During a reading lesson where he was introduced to the word “the,” he finally understood and is now able to make the “th” sound on a regular basis. And boy was he proud to be able to do it after so much hard work!

Unfortunately, that was not the end of this learning process. Now he is replacing “d” sounds with “th” sounds. For example, instead of saying, “the dog,” he will say “the thog.”

I am working to help him understand that “dog” and “the” have different sounds, and he is always able to repeat it correctly after hearing me say it. I believe his problem is that, since he is not reading well yet, he does not know which words have a “d” sound and which have a “th” sound. To him, he learned a new sound and now has to replace all of what he used to pronounce with a “d” sound and replace it with a “th” sound.

It is just going to take time for him to learn the difference, and hopefully it will work itself out as he learns more and more words. Meanwhile, I will be patient and gently correct him. And I might do a few lessons focusing on “d” and “th” words. What do you think? Will it work itself out? Do you have a suggestion for dealing with this letter confusion?

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