Explaining spelling – to a toddler!

Don’t you hate it when your child makes so much sense?!

My 3 year old, Zara has been so excited to be learning about letters at childcare. Every week the focus is on a different letter.


Children have to present a picture starting with the letter of the week.

Zara was busy colouring her picture of the number five for “f” week.

“Mum, when are we doing the letter Q?” she asked.

“Probably in ten weeks or so” I answered.

“Why?” I wondered.

“Because I want to bring in a picture of a cucumber!” she exclaimed.

Hmmm… yes it awfully sounds like that… Qcumber – i thought to myself.

“No sweetie; cucumber starts with a ‘c’; ‘c – ucumber,” i explained.

“No, no mum it’s Q – cumber!” she replied with conviction.

Rather than trying to explain it further i showed her;

“Look this is how you write cucumber… see it starts with the letter c”.

“i see it mum, but i don’t hear it!”

She really does make sense – a lot more than the numerous spelling rules in English and their numerous exceptions!!!

My final explanation;

“Well, that is just the way it is!”

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Mother of three young children, and senior level Speech & Language Pathologist. Sonia founded a successful Sydney based private practice in 2006. She regularly presents community seminars, writes articles for parent magazines and does guest speaker gigs on community radio. Sonia enjoys writing, and hopes one day to be a published children's picture book author too!

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