BR and I have been working together for nearly six months now, and are on the verge of leaving behind a world consisting only of short vowel sounds and one syllable words. When you have been reading as long as I have, you tend to forget the intricate stages of learning the skill. Last night, we were reviewing blended digraphs, along with closed syllables and their five exceptions. (I know, you were too.)

I wrote the exceptions on the board: ild, old, olt, ost, and ind. We made words using each of the blended sounds: wild, child, gold, bold, colt, molt, most….uh oh! We touched on the exceptions to the exceptions: cost and lost, for example.

I constructed a pyramid of increasingly longer words as I made another list on the board. The last word was “topnotch.” BR quickly read it, and was able to identify the digraph (ch) and the blended digraph (tch.) I could see he “got it”, and he could too.

We went on with the lesson, and I tried hard to stay on our topic, but he is eager, and I am prone to digress. He suggested “coast” as a word using the “ost” exception. I wrote the real spelling on the board, and explained that we would get to that. “Oh wow,” he said smiling, as I demonstrated some other tricky vowel combinations we weren’t ready for. We talked about why English is such a complicated language to learn (all those other contributing languages.)

BR knows we have a lot of work left, but he knows he can do it. I do too.