Should be really easy this. A 6 year old kid battling, to the death, over a game of hangman.
"Go on then, your turn.” I said.
He picked up the pencil and drew 3 horizontal lines on the blank paper. Game on.
“No!” and he drew the gallows’ base.
“No!” and he drew the gallows’ pole.
“Ok, I, O, U”
“No!” and he drew more deathly architectures, laughing and kicking his legs excitedly. ‘Dad’s a gonner’ he thought.
“Eh? Give me a clue! No A,E, I O,U?” I pleaded feeling the noose draw close.
“It’s an animal, one that flies!”
I couldn’t think of an animal with no vowels in its’ name, not even a ficticious dragon from some desolate part of Wales. Various other letters were suggested but all failed. By the time I’d gotten to the dead smile on the victims’ face I’d got B _ D.
“Ok, I’m dead, you got me. What is it?” and he wrote “B R D”.
At that moment it sunk in why homework was such a trial, spellin wrds rongli, tim afta tym, diffrntli each tym, fonetic, aporlin, strezd an upsetin for both, rely, rely upsetin. There I was, an academically trained post graduate totally able to spell, wondering why ‘what’ and ‘where’ were spelt so badly, consistently wrong all the time. This wee guy was dyslexic. Since then homework’s easier. We have no expectation of spelling, even of reading. We still do both but it’s no longer fraught.
I e-mail him regularly: “Hey Man howz lyf fela? Do yu want 2 go 2 th bech? Dad x”
“Ye id lyk that. Can we barbkew sum Bacn?”
We both sat by the coals, talked of photographs and munched on a cracking bacon toastie…