Mnemonic Weekly Tip: # 31          April 27, 2003
Multi-Vitamins and Food Supplements

Just a short clue from the road: coming to you from the The Mountain Plains Adult Education Conference in Reno, Nevada and the COABE (Commission On Adult Basic Education) Conference in Portland, Oregon.

The Problem
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Last week I received a request from a teacher for a clue to help one of her students.  This adult has difficulty differentiating between the words mist and missed.    Either this student has difficulty with right/left discrimination, making it hard for him to distinguish between words that are similar, or he is not able to distinguish between the subtle sounds in these words.   

The Mnemonic: 
Individuals who have what I call blurred hearing (an auditory perception problem) can use the structure of language to distinguish between mist and missed.  Lining up these two words and using them in sentences will help some individuals to distinguish between these words when reading or writing.

       to miss 

I missed the bus.    to mist
I misted the plants with water.

To help individuals with blurred hearing to distinguish between the two words when listening, pronounce them slowly and distinctly, emphasizing the t in mist and the ed in missed, using each one in a sentence to ensure the understanding of their meanings.  Have the person repeat the words with the same pronunciation.   Additionally, repeat each word in a moderate and a fast speed so that the individual hears the words the way he or she will normally hear those words in conversations.

For those students who have a right/left problem, you can weight the word mist.  Since one definition of mist means water droplets, you can use the shape of the letter t in mist making it look like a sprinkler.   If it is not the word with t, the sprinkler; it is the other word, missed.   

Richard Cooper, Ph.D. 4/29/03

     A number of teachers and students have asked to have the Mnemonic Clue of the Week sent to them each week. If you would like to receive this service, send your e-mail address to  
Multi-Vitamins and Food Supplements 

Richard Cooper, PhD.