The C-A-T in the H-A-T S-A-T on the M-A-T. The rhyming was fun and it was great to point to a picture, know what it was, say the word, and then spell the word.
No longer was I satisfied being told that all the tall plants were “trees.” They turned into T-R-E-E-S, then M-A-P-L-E trees with L-E-A-V-E-S that turned spectacular C-O-L-O-R-S around back-to-school time.
I started to devour books. I delved into other worlds and met so many wonderful characters.
But to get to the ‘next level’ of bigger words, I had to learn some rules.
Mnemonics were exciting (as was learning to spell ‘mnemonics’). “I before E except after C” was fun to say, which made it easy to remember. I had no hesitation in writing ‘deceive,’ ‘conceive,’ ‘friend,’ ‘receipt’, ‘fierce’, or ‘believe’.
Soon, the rule added “and sometimes Y.” Okay, it was still fun to say and easy to remember, although a bit wierd. Wait, that’s not right, is it? No, it isn’t.
I think I heard a drum roll at that moment, along with the announcement, “Welcome to the world of exceptions.”
The exception with this particular rule is that using ‘ie’ or ‘ei’ sometimes came down to whether that part of a word carried a ‘long a’ sound or a ‘long e’ sound. Not so easy to remember, but, okay, it had to be learned.
As I encountered new words, dictionary definitions became important. Spelling bees became the norm in English class. I vividly remember being in the top 2 of my 7th grade class competition and purposely passing on “pneumonia” because I didn’t want to go to the next level (too shy). But I was thrilled to remember that the word contained a silent ‘p’.
I remember a classmate asking the trivia question, “What word has three vowels in a row.” The word was ‘beautiful,’ and it has always stuck with me. How I value knowing the difference between ‘there’, ‘their’, ‘they’re’ and ‘your’ and ‘you’re’.
I fell in love with words when I learned to spell and that passion has existed ever since. I read and write daily and work with others who need or want to put words onto the page for business or personal reasons.
What I love most about words is that there is an infinite amount of them. If I happen to run out of English words, there are numerous languages I can study, right?
I still come across words I’ve never met before and there’s a thrill in that. I love adding a new gem (word) to my life’s treasure chest, and learning rules and associated exceptions keeps me excited to learn more.
Do you remember when you fell in love with words? Do you have a favorite word? I’m particularly fond of “ponder” and “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Lisa J. Jackson is a freelance writer with a passion for New England and New Hampshire. She’s also an editor with Story Circle Network’s Editorial Services, co-founder and regular contributor to the Live to Write – Write to Live blog, and is a weekly author interviewer/moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom. She has a blog dedicated to author interviews and book reviews. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn.