Today the temperature went above 80 degrees!! In Iowa, though, you can’t really count on the weather to stay the same for more than a few days, especially in the spring, so I’m soaking it up.
The weather made me reminiscent of the summer before second grade. The summer itself wasn’t anything too unusual. I had sleepovers, visited my dad, and did other kid things. Every year, my mom would remind me to pick up a book and read every once in a while, so I would be ready when school started in the fall, but I didn’t take her advice that summer.
I remember thinking it had been a great and relaxing summer, but I was excited to get back to school – I loved to learn.
The first few weeks back at school were full of assessments that we would do again at the end of the year, so the teacher could track our progress. I loved those assessments. They were my time to shine.
I especially loved the writing assessment. I don’t remember how much time we were given, but we had to write a short story. I have always loved to write, even then, so I took out my pencil and went to town. I think I wrote about a magic hot dog that year (God bless 2nd grade teachers for reading those stories!)
I was just moving right along through my story, then I hit a wall. The wall wasn’t because of a lack of creativity; I knew exactly where my story was going. The wall was me forgetting how to spell a simple word: of.
I could not believe it. I sat there looking at my paper, remembering my mom’s words of advice and remembering that I hadn’t picked up a single book all summer.
I was an advanced reader from a very early age, so you can imagine the distress I felt as I tried and tried to recall seeing that word in any book I had ever read, only to arrive at the conclusion that I must not have read any books that used the word “of.”
I looked at the people around me, happily writing their short stories. I thought,” Maybe I could ask one of them. They ask me how to spell things all the time, and it’s no big deal.” But then I thought, “Wait. They ask me how to spell hard words. No one has ever asked me how to spell of.”
My pride won. I knew I would run out of time if I didn’t move past this wall, and I was not about to leave my story unfinished. Cliff hangers are the worst, even if they involve a magic hot dog.
I remembered that the spelling made no sense, so I tried to keep that in mind as I improvised. I put my pencil on the paper and started writing out that stupid little word the best way I could think.
Yep. I spelled “of,” ave. My poor little heart wilted. I knew it was about as wrong as it could get, but I had to keep moving.
You might be thinking that I resolved the spelling error right after that assessment, but I didn’t. I don’t remember how long it took for me to do it, but one day we were writing, and I remember looking at one of my deskmate’s and asking, “How the heck do you spell of?!” I just couldn’t take it anymore. My pride flew out the window, but I never forgot how to spell ‘of’ again.
All this to say, today is a really beautiful day.
Summer is just around the corner. Don’t forget to have your kids pick up a book once in a while.