Sometimes I honestly believe I know what a dinosaur would feel like if he happened upon our 21st Century. This is not to say I’m as old as a dinosaur; rather, times have changed considerably when it comes to learning how to spell. When I was learning, there were two very clear processes in place. My teachers hooked me on Phonics and my mother insisted I ‘…look it up in the dictionary…’ Out of sheer frustration to the latter, I would fire back my stock retort, ‘…if I knew how to spell it, I wouldn’t need to look it up in the dictionary…’ She was a mom and therefore prepared. She would return her volley with, ‘…sound it out…’
My kids were never hooked on Phonics. I tried, but their teachers set me straight early on, ‘…we don’t use that method anymore… you’re confusing your child…’ I remember one Christmas when ‘Santa’ bought our younger daughter her first Children’s Dictionary. She was so excited to have a new storybook. She insisted I read her stories from it every night at bedtime. I challenge anyone to come up with a great bedtime story beginning with the letter X.
Words are not sounded out much anymore. Desktops are no longer cluttered with books; they have been replaced with hard drives and monitors. I truly am a huge fan of innovation and modernization, but I am a melancholy baby at heart. As a compromise, when my kids ask me how to spell something, I grin and think ‘look it up in the dictionary… ‘ and then the words ‘Google it’ tumble from my mouth and all is right with the planet once more.