As a northern child, I found the idea of southern children confusing their vowel sounds kind of amusing. You know the "pin", "pan", and "pen" all sounding the same, when to me they were distinctly different.
My Anna girl is a girl of the South. She loves her greeits (grits). And today she was stumped by that adorable southern accent of hers (she's really the only one in our immediate family that has one, Daddy's wore off in college speech classes long ago). She was on the "st" in "stop" page in her phonics book, and got stuck on a word. She asked, "Mom, what is s-t-i-l-l ?" I replied teasingly, " 'still', as in are you still reading that page?" "Oh!", she returned, "I thought it was 'steal' like you steal something!" After many attempts she proudly nailed an "i" in Indian sound right in the middle of "still."
I know it's going to improve her reading, but I kind of hope that she doesn't lose that drawl.