In which our reluctant hero goes back to school (again) and fails to come up with an appropriate blog title despite spending about four hours on imdb.
I’ve spent much of this week on the road or, more accurately, on the rails. With hindsight, this was only slightly better than spending much of the week going off the rails, but no matter.
Surprisingly, commuting to work is not as fun or glamorous as is sounds. No, really. My daily trek usually involves overcrowded carriages, faulty toilets and wringing ten hour old coffee dregs from a battered Thermos. I frequently find myself staring into space and adopting an expression resembling Michael Palin midway through filming a Channel 5 series where he only visits soulless provincial towns by Megabus.
Anyway, I was making good progress while travelling home on Wednesday evening when a message unexpectedly popped up on my not-as-smart-as-it-thinks-it-is-phone. It was from my wife. Who did you think it going to be from? The Pope?
“M has just taught me something I didn’t know”
(Trespasser on line. Spoke too soon…)
What was it?”
“A cross between a diagram and graph?”
“Apparently it is a sound which has 2 letters
E.g. ‘Ch’ or ‘sh’ or ‘th’”
“Ah. Digraph… Looked it up mind!”
After briefly pondering what a “diagraph” could be if it existed (I settled on something like an infographic) I re-read the definition of the thing that I was supposed to be finding out about. Stupid short attention span. Ooh, look. A bee…
According to the Internet, which is never wrong, digraph sounds are single sounds that are represented in writing with two letters i.e. ch, th, sh, wh, and ng. Digraphs are not the same as consonant blends. Oh, no. Each pair of letters make a new sound that is different from the sounds made by the individual letters. Or something.
So there you go. We’ve learnt something from our four year old that she didn’t pick up from adverts on YouTube or Nick Jr. Isn’t modern day education marvellous?
Once home, I helped our daughter spot digraphs by pointing them out as she read her nightly story. Fortunately, it turned out that there were loads of them in “The Seven Kids.” Not as many as those pesky consonant blends, mind – they get everywhere – but loads nonetheless.
Isn’t it funny how once you know that something exists, you notice it everywhere having never given it a thought previously? The same thing happened when we downgraded our Mercedes to a second hand Vauxhall Meriva. Stupid practical kid cars.
But there’s more to life than books you know, and other ways to learn apart from reading. Apparently, repetition is the mother of all learning, and possibly the father too. A most genius idea of how to identify digraphs popped into my noggin. Why not simply point them out in sentences that we say all the time? Say the sentence, highlight the digraph and repeat, ad infinitum. She’ll be top of the class by the end of the week. Sorted.
You’d like to play along at home too, you say? That’s fine. Here’s some common and useful everyday phrases to get you going. Feel free to add your own. You’re welcome.
- What would you like for lunch?
- No, you can’t have fish fingers and chips again.
- OK. But wash your hands though.
Leaving the house
- Why haven’t you got your shoes on?
- Who moved the car keys?
- Shut that door… we’re not going anywhere yet.
Tidy up time
- Where did all this rubbish come from?
- Who has been throwing Lego down the stairs?
- I’ll pick it up then, shall I?
- I thought that I asked you to clean your teeth.
- Stop pouring shampoo into the bath!
- That doesn’t look like sleeping.
Essential Everyday Phrases
- What did mum just say?
- No, we’re not nearly there yet.
- Stop pushing your brother!
- I don’t care who started it.
- I’m going to count to three…
- Because I said so, that’s why.
- What are you crying for this time?
- I’m not angry!
- AND I’M NOT SHOUTING!
- I’m taking you two back to the shop.
That’ll do. I’ve had enough of this. I’m going.