Jewish World Review
August 12, 2010
/ 2 Elul, 5770, 5770
The alphabet song made EZ
learning the alphabet song a new way these days. Our daughter the elementary
school teacher tried teaching it to the husband and me. We didn’t do so well –
as in the letter F.
Apparently someone thought kids were getting tripped up on the L M N O P
part, rolling it together like it was one letter – LMNOP. Of course kids
roll it together. That’s the whole point in singing your ABC’s.
LMNOP is the fun part. You tiptoe through the A B C section all dainty and
delicate like, start building momentum at H I J K and then let it rip at warp
speed when you hit LMNOP.
When we were in school -- our daughter loves it when we start stories with
that line; we know this by the way her eyes glaze over -- LMNOP was what
separated the stars from the wannabes. LMNOP is where you thinned the pack and
weeded out the weak.
I’ve tried telling her that LMNOP is where leaders are born. In
gratitude for my insight, she rolls her eyes.
As an educator, she refuses to concede that the alphabet song has always been
about speed. “A to Z in under three seconds, baby!” I tell her.
Here’s how the new version goes (sing to the tune of “Twinkle Twinkle Little
Star”) A-B-C-D-E-F-G, H-I-J-K, L, M,
N, O, P. You give L, M, N, O and P a full
beat each. Maybe even two beats. You’re singing along and all of a sudden it’s
like you experience sudden memory loss. It must be rough on kids having their
first senior moment in kindergarten.
The new ABC song is a halting version of Twinkle, Twinkle. Instead of picking
up midway, it slows way down. The new version is fraught with hesitancy and
uncertainty. It sounds like kids may have had something more than fruit juice in
those drink boxes at snack time.
Our daughter explained the rationale behind the new version of the ABC song
to her uncle and he said he thought that ABC and XYZ were all one letter, too.
He said he thought the whole song was hard and that kids shouldn’t have to learn
any of it.
He also said she should warn her students against learning to read because
once people find out they can read then they’ll expect them to do other things –
like read aloud.
I thought he made a good case, but she gave him an F, too.
The new easier-to-learn alphabet song reminded me of the protestors who
marched outside the national Spelling Bee this year complaining that learning
English was hard. They had shirts and signs that said, “I’m thru with through,”
and "Enuf is enuf!"
Members of the Simplified Spelling Society (SSS) advocate simpler and more
logical spelling. “Fruit” should be spelled “froot,” “slow” should be “slo” and
“heifer” should be “hefer.” SSS claims that difficult to spell words lead to
illiteracy and crime.
Meanwhile, inside the hotel’s ballroom, Spelling Bee competitors were
spelling words like zaibatsu, vibrissae and biauriculate.
What do you bet the kids competing sang their ABCs as small children at break
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© 2009, Lori Borgman