What Did You Say?

What do The I-I-I’s Have It, The Town Crier, and Give Me an R have to do with the library? Secretly, they’re my nicknames for a few of my preschool and kindergarten students.

I adore these youngsters. It’s a pleasure to have them come to the library. They’re enthusiastic and full of energy and surprises. Because their speech and language skills are still developing, understanding what they have to say can sometimes be a challenge. Thus, the nicknames.

The I-I-I’s Have It:  This child gets so excited he stutters. He’s determined to tell you some exciting bit of news in his own way as quickly as he can. By the time he finishes, my head is spinning, but I dare not ask him to repeat it.

The Town Crier:  I never know when, but it happens more often than not. It’s a spontaneous crying fit. When asked what’s wrong, all I get is “Wha, wha, he wha me. Ah, ah, ah, wha me.” I’m usually left clueless.

Give Me an R: This preschooler hasn’t mastered the pronunciation of the letter R, and that makes for some interesting comments. When he complimented his teacher on the pretty shirt she was wearing, it came out as, “I like your shit.”

Some of our conversations remind me of the book Hen Hears Gossip written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Joung Un Kim. When Hen hears Pig whisper something to Cow, Hen passes along what she thought she heard to Duck who passes it along to Goose. You know the story – lots of misunderstandings. Of course, in the end, everything is straightened out with a nice surprise.

There are some library days it takes extra patience and understanding from both sides as we try to decipher what everyone is saying. I always hope everything gets straightened out just like in Hen Hears Gossip. No matter what, the enthusiasm of these youngsters keeps me going and some of their comments are priceless.

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