Posted by: Nancy | July 25, 2007

You’ve GOT to be kidding me…

I bought some of those learn to read books a few days ago (for Ruby not me – haha).  I had a set several months ago but with moving, I can only find a few of them.  So I figured I’d get one of the other sets and start over.  Plus, that way I can see if she is actually reading and not just memorizing the story, ya know? 


She KNOWS the letter sounds backwards and forwards.  If I ask her to sound out a word, she does it perfectly.  But when I have her go from sounding the word out to putting the sounds together quicker to form the word, she automatically looks at the picture and just starts throwing out guesses.  She doesn’t even connect that the letter sounds actually form the word. 

So I looked online (like I do) and apparently for many years in our state they did a “whole language” approach where they encourage the kids to guess at the words or even skip the words to see if they can frickin’ frackin’ “figure out” what the word might be.  MIGHT.

Are you kidding me?????  

The word is HAT.  HAT.  Not chapeau.  Not fedora.  HAT.  There are no other frickin ways to spell HAT.  Hhhh-Aaaa-Tttt.  Hat.  Don’t teach the kids to look at the picture and guess.  It’s HAT.  H. A. T.  Hat. 

So tonight.  I was trying to teach Ruby and encourage her that everything is hard until you know how to do it.  We’re just going to take it one word at a time.   Don’t worry about it.  Mom’s here to help. 

Now sound it out.  Hhhh…  Aaaaa….  Tttt…..  Good.  Oh my gosh!  That perfect.  You know all that?  Now put those sounds together.   What word does Hhh..Aaa..Ttt.. make?  (eyes go up to the picture)  Fan!  No sweetie.  Hh..Aa..Tt..  Sun!  No.  Let’s look again..  (defeated distraction – what’s that on your nose mommy?)  Let’s read this word.  (looking at her fingers)  It’s okay, we’re just learning.  You’ll get it.  Let’s sound it out.  You’re good at that.  Hh.Aa.Tt.  Hh..At..  At!!  No sweetie not at, but you’re very close.  (Squirming…)  At is a.t.  See, this part is at.  You’re almost there.  Now listen to the first sound.  What’s that first sound?  Hh..  Right.  Now the second part, a.t. says at.  So what do you think that says?  (Looks at picture – no, for the love of God NOOOO!!!!)  Sun!


And for this we sent her to preschool…????

I think I’m going to get some flashcards.  

I remember my mom telling me about why she decided to teach me to read before I started school.  The public schools there had a similar teaching concept back in the 70’s.  The concept was that kids could read by remembering the shape of the word.  I don’t know if they did this when anyone else was going to school, but do you remember how you had to draw around the shape of a word?  Well, the concept was that if you could memorize the shape of the word, you could read the word.   My mom was SOOOO not buyin’ it.   At all. 

My mom teaching me how to actually READ the words vs. my husband being taught to read with these concepts shows how well it works.  My husband is very smart, but doesn’t know (nor care about) the difference between the word “peasant” and the word “pheasant”.   I blame that on the schools we went to (we went to the same schools from 7th grade on).  The teachers always let the math-smart kids slide on everything else.  On the other hand, I can accurately spell (and say) the word choledochoduodenoscopy.  And sphygmomanometer.  And psychiatry.  And the different spellings and usages of there, their and they’re. 

I swear if kindergarten does this same “guessing” B.S.  I’m going to be so upset.  I already have a husband who is grammar and spelling illiterate.  I’m not going to look the other way and end up with a child who spells “fan” H-A-T. 

I’m sure they’re gonna love me at kindergarten  —   What do you mean they’re supposed to guess at what H-A-T spells?  Sun is NOT a good guess.  I don’t care if you’re trying to build up her self esteem.  Are you hippies or something?   You’re using the wrong usage of their.  It should be there.  As in – “Is there wheat in that fingerpaint?” 







  1. I am going through this right now too. The guessing drives me crazy and I unfortunately lose my patience a bit too quickly. It was so much easier when I could just read “Green Eggs and Ham” in 2 minutes and get it over with. Now everything takes 15 minutes of painful sounding it out. This is why I am not cut out for homeschooling.

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