I don’t know if all kids go through this phase, but all of MY kids go through a phase where they write random letters in a line and ask me what it says.

It hits right at the moment where they realize that the letters and letter sounds they’ve been learning have magical powers. These letters, when joined together, form words. 

With that knowledge, they are unstoppable. They either don’t know or don’t care about the gigantic detail that letters must be carefully placed in specific orders to render words. Making words is less like making trail mix (with its innumerable ingredients and no cause for a measuring cup), and more like making a cake. Sure, there are LOTS AND LOTS of cakes, but only if you keep things sorted; weigh the flour and preheat the oven.

Anna is in this phase. She’s learning letters in preschool and honing her sounds in speech therapy, and she’s fascinated by letters and writing. She writes random letters and runs to me, “Mom! What does this say!?”

“It doesn’t say anything,” I respond. Before I can explain about vowels and consonants she’s already discarded my answer.

PLEBEIAN! I can almost hear her say over the sound of her eyes rolling.

“JUST READ It!” she insists.

That’s when I find myself sounding out a jumble of sounds…”Ok. It says ‘AAOEFOT'”

That’s when Anna turns around, eyes glittering with excitement, and exclaims, “I CAN WRITE SPANISH!??!?!??!!??!”


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