“Huh,” said Meri.
“Excellent,” I said nodding my head.
“Ah,” she continued. I nodded again encouraging her.
“Tuh,” she concluded.
“Brilliant!” I leapt up and gave my three and a half year old a big hug, “Daddy is very proud of you!”
She beamed back at me, “Daddy is very proud of me!” she parroted, revelling in both the attention and the praise.
As some of you may have guessed, Meri’s great achievement was spelling out the word ‘hat’ all on her own. Now, that may not seem a great deal to some of you but that was a huge deal to her long suffering father who has been trying to teach her phonics for the last year. To be clear, we haven’t been hot-housing her but simply encouraging and supporting her whenever she shows an interest. Right up until this week, she has understood and recognised lots of individual sounds and letters but has shown a complete inability to put them together to read or spell words. However, I could sense her inching closer every day.
Clive James once said that when learning a new language he savoured the moment at which suddenly he could read. One minute he had to work hard to piece it together, the next minute it was impossible not to read what was in front of him. I suspect that little Meri is about to have that moment.
She won’t recognise it or understand its significance but I will. Not only will it be the reward for the effort that we’ve put into teaching her but it is another great milestone for my little girl (who by the way is growing up far too quickly for my liking). Most important of all it will open up whole new vistas for her. One day, she will be able to explore Rivendell with Frodo, be bemused with Arthur Dent on an alien spaceship and discover a magical island with Prospero.
Who knows, she might even be dumb enough to read these blogs…
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