Jet usually enjoys our daily walks at a constant, purposeful pace with occasional stops to admire wildlife. Every now and then, without discernible reason, she roots herself to a random spot and mulishly refuses to take another step. The last time this happened, I pointed out a nearby stop sign as a point of interest. “Let’s go see it!” I suggested brightly.
She eyed the sign for a moment before moving forward. Soon she was tugging my hand. “You hold her,” she directed.
I held her up to better see the sign. “That’s a stop sign,” I told her. “See? S – T – O – P … stop!”
“Stop!” Jet repeated. “Stop sign.”
“Yes! Let’s find another one,” I suggested.
“Find another one,” she agreed.
We looked for signs for the rest of our walk. At each sign, I picked her up and spelled the word. Finally, we reached Grandma’s house. “There’s Grandma’s house!” Jet said, as if we had been lost for hours. Jet played happily until lunch.
“What time is it now?” I asked when Jet had finished eating.
“Story time!” she informed me and selected a perennial favorite, Hop On Pop.
Soon we reached the page that includes the word “stop.” “Do you see “stop” on this
page?” I asked. Jet looked. Her finger made a circular motion over the words.
“THERE IT IS! There it is!” she shouted.
I was just as excited. Word recognition is such a special milestone on the path to reading. I have very fond memories of the day Jet’s mother recognized her first word, “exit.” Jet could tell that I thought she’d done something special and she was keen to do it again. We went back outside and found one more sign near our house.
The next day Jet was even more excited to see each sign we found on our walk. She recognized the shape of a stop sign from the rear, too and wanted to cross the street for a better look. She had to be prompted for “S” but called out “T” and “O” with no problems. “P” was sometimes identified as “I” but she quickly corrected herself to Papa (as in P is for Papa). When we returned to the house, Jet dug into a toy bin and pulled out a small toy.
“Look Grandma!” she said, as she brought the toy close to my face. “Stop!”
Sure enough, she’d found a small plastic stop sign and we both bounced up and down with excitement!