The Matron had been under the impression that young Merrick, following in his older siblings' footsteps, was a reader at 5. Why? About a month ago, she witnessed Merrick rip through three Bob Books for the first time, no problem.
So she was puzzled during his parent/teacher conference. Why did Merrick's report list about half of the alphabet as unknowable to that child?
Teacher (incidentally, exactly as sweet and soft as you imagine a 1950 stereotype of Kindergarten teacher to be): "That's because he doesn't yet recognize the sounds for all of those letters."
Matron: "But he reads Bob books?"
Teacher: "The same two or three?"
Matron: "Like a pro!"
Teacher: "Trust me. He's memorized them. He's not reading."
Earlier today, John and the Matron queried their youngest. They pitted Merrick against the Word.
Matron: "Honey, what sound does this make: I
John: "How about sounding out this: K I T
C A T
S I T
Just this letter? What sound? U
Whereupon the Matron handed her son his favorite Bob Book: "Can you read this?"
Without nary a glance toward the page, from Merrick: "Sam and cat. Mat and cat. Sam, Mat, and cat. Cat sat on Sam. Mat sat on Sam. Sad Sam. Sad Mat. Sam Sat. Mat sat. OK, Sam. OK, Mat. OK, Cat."
Scarlett: "You really are a Meatloaf Head."
Yes, in this household Meatloaf Head -or MLH or Loafie or Meatloafie for short--has been the most enduring term of endearment for Merrick.
The Matron is pleased to see that he is apparently living precisely up to that expectation.