Mr. Piggy


For the last couple of months I’ve been working with an eleven year-old on spelling. He reads well, but doesn’t connect what he knows visually about words to how they’re written. To add to his problem, while he has no difficulty speaking and understanding spoken language, he can’t for the life of him break spoken words into component sounds or connect spoken word elements with their letter representations. So we’ve been meeting weekly to work on writing, and spelling, and problem solving in an effort to help him develop strategies for learning and remembering how words are spelled.

Today was our last session before summer. His mom had invited me to lunch before our lesson. When I arrived at noon I found Mr. Piggy at the door entryway waiting for someone to let him in. Mr. Piggy, a soft rubber toy that goes “oink”, belongs to Max – a large black Lab, very friendly and very fond of Mr. Piggy, his favourite toy! Mr. Piggy was placed so carefully in front of the door I was sure one of the kids had put him there – neither admitted to it, however – “Oh, Max probably just left Mr. Piggy there.”

I had lunch, we’d had our session and I was getting ready to depart – I got up from the table and there on the kitchen floor beside my chair, looking right at me, was Mr. Piggy:


I didn’t see Max deposit Mr. Piggy there – I know neither of the children did it. I wondered whether Max was trying to tell me something…