Phonics Works, I Swear

“Here, I’ll help. Just cover the letters and sound it out.”lower

One brother helping another.

Was this kind gesture part of the school Home Reading program or unsolicited assistance with a favourite book?

Neither.

It’s baseball season and we were watching Daddy’s game when from a distance I heard this literacy coaching. From the park. On the slide.

“Okay, okay, ffff–uh–k.  Fff-uh–k.  FF-UH-K!” chirped our five-year-old.

“I’m pretty sure he’s saying ‘frog’,” my kind-hearted friend said.

Before I even fully turned around, I was quite certain he was not saying “frog”. That’s not typically the word that gets spray painted on a slide. At least I’ve never seen graffiti that reads “Frog U” or “FROG”.

Nope.200

He was definitely reading graffiti and sharing his new found knowledge with his other brothers and random park-goers. And it was definitely not “frog”.

I called my naive son over and asked him what he was saying. Don’t worry, I played it cool. He proudly announced his new word. And no, he’d never heard it before.

So I called over his older brothers, too and we quietly chatted about appropriate vocabulary. I don’t know why I was surprised that they already knew the word, but I was pleased that they have chosen not to use it. I informed them that Daddy and I know all the bad words and we choose not to use them (most of the time) and we hope they would make the same choice. Never mind how many bad words there are, the point is the we don’t say them.

As I was explaining this, I could see the five-year-old quietly sounding it out to himself, so I knew he was not getting the message. That’s when I told him, “you aren’t in trouble for saying it tonight, you didn’t know, but if you say that word at school THEY WILL SEND YOU HOME IT’S A REALLY BIG DEAL.”

There, that should do it.

All is well, he knows that it’s a word we avoid using and that it can hurt people’s feelings. Nicely done, Mom. Go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back. Yup, no kid of yours will be a swearer. 

We drove home separately, the five-year-old excited to have Daddy all to himself.  Later, as we wrapped up the bedtime routine, Bearded Husband casually turned to me and said, “On the ride home, he told me he learned a new word at the park. He was pretty proud of how he sounded it out and demonstrated it to me three times.”

I’m just waiting for the call from the school.

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About Jan Moyer

Embracing my inner child since 2005. View all posts by Jan Moyer

4 responses to “Phonics Works, I Swear

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