I Am Not a Cat

“I am a cat.”

“I am not a rat.”

“The little fat cat sat on the fat rat.”

The fact that we can use language, especially written language, is a miracle.  Period.

The poet Howard Nemerov, in his “September, the First Day of School,” described written language–“the alphabet, the integers”– as 

Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff

So arbitrary, so peremptory,

That worlds invisible and visible

Bow down before it…  

I’ve always loved that description, just as I love the poem.

This morning I watched as my oldest granddaughter, the subject of many of my writings, labored through some of the phrases I’d printed on a paper for her to read. She’s juuusst about got her letters and sounds down (that pesky b-d reversal, and for some reason h and k are giving her fits this week), and we’re working on sight words and consonant-vowel-consonant words.

But she’s doing it.  She’s reading. She, like countless others before her, is learning to make meaning out of those squiggles covering a piece of paper.

She’s doing it.

 

9 Comments

  1. Learning to read is a miracle, especially since the English language has so many oddities! I sat for hours with my middle son (now 20) in the spare bedroom working on phonetics when he was in second grade. It paid off. He reads well and had great comprehension but it took a lot of work to get there! It’s nice you have time to work with your granddaughter these days! I hope you both enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your son was fortunate to have you there for him, and I’m feeling fortunate to be able to be there for my granddaughters. This time we have is a silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud, and we are enjoying it!

      Liked by 1 person

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