Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pronoun Problems

We've been waging a battle with Samantha for the last 4 or so years.  The Battle of the Pronouns.  Or, more precisely, the battle for correct pronoun usage.  To most of us, pronouns come naturally.  I am me, you are you, she is her, and he is him (I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together...I am the eggman, I am the eggman, I am the walrus...). But, when you really break the concept of teaching the concept down into its most basic, fundamental parts, the literal parts, it's confusing as all-get-out.  Really confusing. 

Me:  Me (*pointing to me*).  You (*pointing to Samantha*).

Samantha:  Me (*pointing to me*).  You (*pointing to herself*).

Right?  Take it literally and you get some pretty backwards results. 

Her, him, she, he, yours, mine, *the* (as in "we're going in *the* car, as opposed to *my* car)...

Sammi has gotten so much better with this, but something that I thought would work itself out with time continues to resurface time and time again. 

After reading her a story at night and tucking her in and turning off her light, she always asks me to lie down with her.  

Samantha:  Lie down with you?

Me (correcting):  Lie down with *me.*

Samantha (making the correction):  Lie down with me?

Me:  Sure, baby.

When reading or watching TV, she'll come over to me, saying, "I sit on my lap?"  instead of "your" lap...

You get the picture. 

But how to teach the correct picture?  Repetition, repetition, repetition.  Again, it's gotten much, much better, but we have to frequently correct her.  She mirrors the correct phrase every time, so I know she's hearing it.  She'll get there, I'm certain.  But I do find the mechanics of speech and comprehension pretty fascinating, seeing all the little moving parts that make up the English language as it comes out of our mouths. 

I remember when she was just under 2 years old, worrying about how she'd be able to make associations, like a drawing of a cat vs. a photo of a cat.  A cartoon cat vs. a real-looking cat.  Making the mental jump that regardless of form, they're all still cats.  I'd read somewhere that this can be more difficult for our kids sometimes when they're babies.  But she got it every time.  She pointed to a cartoon cat and said "do do" (her word for cat at the time).  She'd point to a photo of a cat and say "do do."  So that fear of teaching the more conceptual lessons was, well, lessened. I feel like this pronoun issue is kind of the same sort of thing - it's making the mental jump that something can be the same as another in a different form (as in me vs. you, depending on who's saying it).  I suspect that teaching the concept of the earth and our place on a globe will be much the same, as well.  How do you make that mental jump from round, hard plastic ball with some colored shapes and bumpy bits on it to where we live, where we're standing right now, where we've visited.  Likewise, how do we make that jump to teaching our place in the universe by standing outside at night, viewing the infinite expanse of the stars in the sky?  I've put these last two lessons off for another time. 

Or another teacher.  So, so glad for school and the people so much better-equipped than I to teach.


Lisa said...

Repeation is my exsistance these days so I know exactly where you are coming from. It is funny my 3 year old speech is amazingly correct. She had a firm grasp on pronouns at 2 - and I feel sure its because that was year we focused on correcting Cate's pronoun and past tense usage.
Cate is OK with pronouns now but she is horrible with numbers. I think we've counted from 12 - 19 about 1000 times. She repeats correctly but let her do it on her own and its a big jumble.

Zoey's mom, Heather said...

She will get it. I know she will. After all, she is Samantha and that girl can do anything.

By the way, LOVED all the butterfly pictures. And you know, your girl, very similar to a butterfly. Continuously changing and morphing and busting out of that coccon daily and spreading those beautiful wings. All in her time.

Rochelle said...

Very soon there will be an update to this post saying how she has it!
The English language is so full of confusing things.

Becky said...

Oh yes skill we work on all the time! I know exactly what you are talking about! :)

Christina Allred said...

She will definitely get this. She is such a good reader, that it will happen naturally.

Jenny said...

Oh it's so funny, I have raised four kids before Russell and never once thought about speech, or how to teach it, or how complicated it all is at first *sigh*...With Russell I am seeing that big time!!
We are just now getting the picture to real life thing...And slowly working on the "I" and "you"...Such a process isn't it?!
And I love that you blog about Sammi and her progress with this stuff, it is so interesting for those of us behind you to read :)