Ruh-ruh-ruh, puh-puh-puh

You might be a pre-K teacher if you tell your coworker you need to ruh-ruh-run to the ruh-ruh-restroom. It's been a busy week in the wacky world of initial word sounds and beginning readers. I think I might have "Sounding-Out Syndrome" or phonicositis.

Not feeling puh-particularly puh-pleased with the painted paper plates for our peacock art project, I felt the need for pretty patterned paper pieces to create royal palace gardens. The students began puh-puh-puhhing along with me. Soon they were drawing a prince and princess on the path from the palace to peer at the peacock. They drew in other peafowl, pear trees, and a pond. Pretty soon we had petunias, pines, palm trees in the garden, and piranhas in the pond.

Wait, wait! Wuh-wuh-one of the things that snags the students is the difference between a letter's name and the sound that letter makes. That's wuh-why a child brings me a W card and says, "duh-duh-duh-double U, wristwatch". Another child brings the F card, and says, "eh-eh-ehfuh, fish", while pointing to a picture of an eh-eh-elephant.

One of my dad's classic tales of a one-room country schoolhouse involves a spelling bee. You know the rhythm and routine of a spelling bee. Say the word. Spell it. Say the word again.

So a nervous country kid steps up to the front of the classroom, stands by the blackboard, and says,

"Fish. B-O-X. Fish."

Sometimes the teacher chuckles and makes herself a note. Other times, she just wants to put her head down on the table right there in all the graham cuh-cracker cuh-crumbs.

I enjoy Tom Bodett on the quiz show panel for NPR's "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" This particular peacock picture seems to be leaving the palace nightlight on for him.

Ehfuh-fuh-fuh-fuh can't help but lead to Funiculi, funicula. This was the theme song for the local weekend children's talent show broadcast on black and white KOLN/KGIN tv. Harken, harken, listen to our song! We'll save Annette fuh-fuh-Funicello for another day.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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