When you teach small children how to read it’s very important that they learn the phonetic sound that a letter makes even more so than the actual letter name. Once they’ve mastered recognising the letter sounds you can move onto letter blends (two or more letters combined together into one sound), along with recognising some basic sight words (words that just have to memorised as-is because they don’t sound anything like they’re written) and before you know it they’re able to read small sentences. Although admittedly most of these early sentences normally involves cats sitting on mats in some shape or form.
One day I was introducing the word ‘at‘ to my class. I wrote it on the board and then made an elongated ‘ā‘ sound swiftly followed up with an over emphasised and abrupt ‘t!’
One of the enthused kids jumped up from his seat “Teacher! Nine ten!”
“Uh!” I said.
“Teacher, teacher! Nine Ten!”
“Erm, yes. Eh, very good well done, ok now sit down.”
“Teacher, at, nine, ten!”
“Ahh!” as it dawned on me what he was actually trying to tell me. “No, ‘eight’ is a different word but very well done for trying.”
Mā shā’ Allāh!