The Girl With Two Lovely Knees (that’s what we call her now, since her second surgery this winter) started school when “whole language” was the Thing To Do in early literacy. The baby known as Phonics had, at that point, been thrown out with the bathwater, and primary reading focused on teaching children to read using a combination of word recognition and cues. Something like this:
If this word is “cat” and this word is “food” then this word must be “eating” or “ate”.
Their books, of course, had pictures, to help you conclude that, yes, in fact, the cat was eating the food, rather than throwing it, cooking it or poisoning it.
Since then, Whole Language has mostly gone “out”, the bathwater has been retreived, and the value of learning to read through phonics has been recognized.
Side note: When she was halfway through Grade One, I bought Hooked On Phonics and filled in the gaps at home.
Recently, I’ve been teasing her that her early experiences with Whole Language don’t appear to have done her any good in hearing things properly either.
For years, I used a phrase when the kids were in a particularly complaining mood: Don’t hassle me with your sighs, Chuck. It’s a phrase from the Peanuts cartoon, Peppermint Patty used to say it to Charlie Brown frequently. It wasn’t until just a year or so ago that Knee Girl realized I wasn’t saying, “Don’t hassle me with your SIZE, Chuck.”
When questioned, she admitted that her version didn’t make any sense, but that I’m often a mystery to her anyway, so she didn’t worry too much about it.
And just a few months ago, I used the phrase “Fish or cut bait.” From the backseat, she said, “Fish are good plate?”
Turns out, we’re all prone to what they call “aural malapropisms.” Hence this article I saw on Sympatico today:
What song lyric do you always mis-hear?