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……….”not so long ago this tree was full of letters. They lived a happy life, hopping from leaf to leaf on the highest twigs.” said the ant (click to Tweet)
How often do we tell our children to “use their words?”
How many reminders do we give them to speak kindly, or softly? As my children learned to speak and then to read, it was a most exciting time. What would they talk about? What would be their favorite books? All of these were unknowns that we would discover together.
Not until they were much older did I think of them “using their words” for a cause or that each letter they wrote, each word they chose, would place meaning in the world.
What if we could start this idea from the beginning of their language and reading journey?
I found just the book to be the guide.
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni starts with letters which change into small words, collecting themselves into small sentences, and then on to say something important. It’s an invaluable lesson that the smallest attributes can and do have the biggest effects.
A favorite leaf was chosen by a letter to sit in the sun and rock in the gentle breeze.
Until one frightening day, when the wind blew mightily, it blew many letters off the tree.
Those that were left huddled together on the lower branches were so terribly afraid.
Soon along came a funny looking bug onto a neighboring tree. He looked something like a bee but was red and black with yellow wings. It was a very fortunate thing that these frightened letters should have been found by a Word Bug.
He encouraged them to group together in 3’s and 4’s so they could form words. The wind surely wasn’t strong enough to blow letters around when they were in word form.
With patience and kindness the Word Bug taught them to join together and make words. Some came together and created easy words, while others came together to make more difficult ones.
With confidence the newly formed words climbed high up into the tree. Just as the Word Bug had predicted, the wind wasn’t strong enough to blow them from the tree. Letters which stood together in words were stronger than any wind.
Soon after, a Woolly Purple Caterpillar caught site of the word tree..but he couldn’t make sense of it. The words didn’t have any order.
“Why don’t you mean something?” he said. “Why don’t you get together to make sentences?“
Quickly the words started forming sentences.
The wind is bad.
The leaves are green.
The bug is small.
Though these were good sentences, the Woolly Purple Caterpillar thought they could do better.
“You must say something important.” said the caterpillar.
What was the most important thing they could think of?
The sentence they come up with had to do with peace. What could be more important than peace?
“Peace begins with a smile.” Mother Theresa
Something to Do :
Making our own Alphabet Tree, we carefully cut out several leaves from our favorite collection of paper.
On some leaves we placed single letters.
On others we made words that we knew.
On each leaf we punched a whole and placed a string to hang our leaves on the tree outside.
After gathering up our leaves we headed outside to our Alphabet Tree. There, we first placed single letters and then created a windstorm to blow them off.
Having strength in numbers we placed our small words on our Alphabet Tree.
Understanding how important words are, we placed our very important message of peace on our Alphabet Tree.
What words of peace would you choose for your Alphabet Tree?
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