Watching the Gears Turn
Possibly the most interesting part of parenthood for me is the daily disabusement of my preconceptions.
Before having a child, I was fairly certain of many things. After having spent a few years at this, the only thing I know is that I’m just as likely to be wrong as right when it comes to my assumptions.
For instance – my child now has her letters pretty much down. Which means most of my day is filled with two types of questions: 1) the archetypal “why” question and 2) the “Mommy, what does X-x-x-x spell?” question.
The first one I was prepared for. I pretty much answer whatever whys I can, and those I can’t I either answer with an “I don’t know, let me find out” or an “okay, that’s enough why questions for now” (that second one usually happens somewhere around “but why don’t you know, Mommy?”)
The second one I didn’t really expect.
I kind of thought that learning to read was more a matter of memorizing letters, learning their sounds, then sounding them out. Not with my kiddo, apparently. She’s a ‘whole word’ kind of girl. Not for Buttercup the ‘sound it out’ or ‘phonics’ method. She sees words as whole entitities.
She also made an observation the other day that was something I didn’t notice until somewhere late in grammar school.
Going through the alphabet, she asked me why some letters start with their sound and some end with it.
Think about it. A, B, C, D, E, G, I, J, K, O, P, Q, T, V, Z when you say them out-loud all start with the sound they make. F, L, M, N, R, S, U, X, Y all end with a sound they make. H & W have nothing to do with their names soundwise.
This is because English is such a mish-mash of other linguistic roots.
The ancient greek alphabet has all of the letters starting with the sound they make. Makes it easier to learn what each one sounds like.
This is something that most of us native English speakers take for granted. We memorize the names, we memorize the sounds they make, we learn to read, we move on. Few of us take the time to analyze it. But apparently my 4 year old noticed.
That wasn’t something I expected. But it’s kind of neat. Because with every new thing she learns, I learn something new too. Bonus!!