Use Your Periods!

Javier has spent the past eight months learning how to turn letters into words, words into sentences, and sentences into stories. He's extremely proud of his ability to read first- and second-grade level books. He will also write you a five- or six-line story that you must read right this instant if you're not careful.

This talent with the written word has not come without some struggle. While he learned to read and write fairly easily, punctuation has been a whole different ball game. The child blazes through periods, exclamation points and question marks - forcing us to interrupt his reading with "start over" at least every other sentence. The past month or so he has finally recognized that punctuation exists and he's even begun using inflection to signal the question or excitement.

The best part of his realization is that he now gets frustrated when other people fail to recognize punctuation. I thought this was directed only toward his classmates' reading - until this morning. We were watching the news and a story came on about Michael Moore's trip to Cuba. The report cut to a conservative radio disc jockey's rant about how Michael Moore is using the situation to get free publicity.

So this DJ is going on and on with barely a breath between words. Out of nowhere, Javi jumps up from the couch and yells, "WHERE ARE HIS PERIODS?!!!" He stood there for a second - fists clenched at his sides, forehead furrowed - and then blew his breath out and sat back down. I asked him if he was okay. His response? "I'm going to be fine, but that man needs some periods!"

Amen, brother. If only more people gave the period as much respect.


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