Sunday, December 03, 2006

We spell: "dinosaur," "Spiderman" and "phooie"

Maia first wrote her name for me on March 6th of this year--four months shy of her 4th birthday.

She has an interest in letters and numbers ("drawing letters" and "drawing numbers", she calls it), and her progress in the last 9 months has been fast and seems to be accelerating.

We play a spelling game that I used to initiate but that she now starts as often as I do. "What does ____ start with," she'll say.

We will say the word together, and if she can't hear the initial phoneme, I will truncate it till it gets down to a sound she can identify. Then she'll write it on her dry erase board or a piece of paper, and we'll move to the next sound. Sometimes, I give these to her--silent "e"s, dipthongs, that sort of thing--but she generally hears interior consonants and the final sounds.

On October 25, 2006, she wanted to write all of the names of her classmates, and this is what we came up with.

The little "a"s look a little less like spermatazoa, but she doesn't always respect the convention of putting letters in the same word next to each other on the same line. For example, the "Miss" after "Emma" continues on with "Manu" several lines below (Miss Manu is one of her teachers), and the "in" in "Franklin" and "dy" in "Melody" are on the lines above and below the initial letters of those names.

Recently, she's gone beyond writing her classmates' names and into common nouns.

These were from November 29th. She wrote "bus" and "cat" herself. The rest, she wrote as we sounded out the words. "Backpack" comes from Dora--she loves that show and has actually seemed to learn some things from it. The end of "chair" got a little lost--but she had the idea.

Yesterday and today, she has gone from writing to reading. Yesterday morning, it was the box for the Spiderman DVD. She wanted to know what it said, and she sounded out the first part of it. And then she got the rest of it in a flash--"Spi" "der" "man" she said, pointing at the syllables.

"Why it's got a line?" she wanted to know, and we talked a little bit about hypens, not too successfully.

This morning, it was "Dinosaur." She wanted to play dinosaur, and I asked her to read the word on the container. "Duh," she said for the "d", then added the "in" and guessed at the rest of it: "dinosaur," she said.

Pretty amazing, from writing her name in March to reading "dinosaur" 9 months later.

A couple of days ago, I was working at my desk, and she was at hers, which is next to mine.

"Phooie," I said about something that had gone wrong.

"What's 'phooie' start with," she said, making a joke.

John, Sunday, December 3, 2006


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