Today, as part of our Thanksgiving study, we did a sight-word book on Native Americans. The words we were focusing on were ‘we’ and ‘have’, but one of the pages said, ‘We have papooses’ with a little picture of a cute Native American baby. Nobody knew what a papoose was so we discussed it and all practiced saying it.

As we moved to small groups to work on the book, I had each child in my group read the book. ‘We have corn,’ ‘We have arrows,’ We have friends,’ not so difficult. When each child got to the page with the baby papoose, they all barreled through the word, although nobody got it quite right. Here’s what I heard.

“Poo-pooses.”
“Boo-booses.”
“Poo-booses.”
“Doo-dooses.’
“Oo-ooses.”

Just about everything, but ‘papooses’. Nobody laughed or giggled. Each sprout made a concerted effort and a few genuine looks of straining were observed. Apparently ‘papoose’ is not in the average kindergarteners vernacular. Sometimes even with pre-teaching, teaching, and review, a word (or concept) is just too difficult to grasp. All together now… ‘papoose’!