Continuation of a previous post.
I asked a quiet studious student (who always used the SRA reading cards) if the music bothered her. She didn't understand what I said (I spoke in English; I figured, well, this IS an English class). She got out her pocket electronic dictionary and waited for me to repeat it. The problem was "bother". She typed in "boarder". "No, bo, bo, short sound". She tried again "board". It took a couple of minutes before she hit on "bo". "Good, now, bother, th, the, the, the. How do you write that sound?" Again, more puzzlement. "Z? D?" Even tho I said no, she still insisted on these two sounds. This was what she was hearing. I pointed to my mouth and made sure she was watching my face when I spoke. Still the penny did not drop. Was it possible she just didn't know? At length, getting bored, I pointed to a big "the" written in the text of the SRA card she was using. "Aha!" OK. She typed the word correctly, read its meaning, and, finally, some 5 minutes after I'd asked the question, gave me her answer: "No."
Maybe we need to go back to phonics?