A few weeks ago, I wrote about learning and today had another opportunity to watch learning in action. I remember as a child in 1st and 2nd grade doing endless worksheets on alphabetization. I remember many kids whining and hating them and not getting them. I remember spending hours being taught how to look up words in the dictionary. For us 6 and 7 year olds, it was an irrelevant process and topic to study. Eventually we all learned it but not without a lot of repetition, drudgery, whining, and wondering why it mattered.
Tiger always asks me what words mean when he doesn’t know the meaning of a word- he always has- and I sometimes tell him what it means, and sometimes I tell him to look it up in the dictionary. The last couple of words given to him to look up had bad definitions in the iPod App dictionary and we directed him to the regular dictionary. Butterfly watched this interaction. Today, after Tiger looked his word up, she asked me how to look a word up in the dictionary. It took maybe 15 minutes, a lot of excitement, a couple practice words for fun, some giggles, and she has it mastered. She added another tool to her learning toolbox today because she cared. The last word I gave her to look up was “hasty,” to which she replied, “I better be hasty and look that word up!” and then she giggled.