The letters S.T.O.P make the word STOP

There is currently a great deal of discussion on Twitter on phonics, reading, when is a word not a word, is “dog” a word (yes, really!). I’m not going to get into any of that. I’m just going to relate what happened one day when I was out with my daughter.

I have grown up with books and so have my daughters. They all are avid readers and could read from a very young age. My friend, Lesley, introduced me to Peter and Jane books and my daughters loved them! I used these books and taught them to read phonetically and the school did too (using a different series).

The one incident which sticks in my mind happened when my middle daughter was learning the sounds different letters make. She wasn’t at school at that stage. We were on our way somewhere. She was strapped in the car seat in the back. Suddenly I heard her shout from the back, “Mama, I can read that word. That word says S.T.O.P; STOP”. She had sounded out the letters and then said the word STOP. She had read a STOP sign. This was the first time she had put the letters together to sound out a word. Now, you can appreciate that she was too young to know the Highway Code! She didn’t know what that red sign meant but she sounded out the letters, read the “word” and understood what it meant although there was no context to it as far as she was concerned. I will never forget how excited she sounded when she said, “Mama, I can read that word”.

StopImage courtesy of boulemonademoon at

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5 Responses to The letters S.T.O.P make the word STOP

  1. Al says:

    Over the years I have heard similar stories from our parents. Phonics is a fantastic tool for children to use to open up the written world around them.


  2. madeupteacher says:

    Thanks for drawing my attention to this via the trivium thread on reading by yr one. A late response but I really wish everyone could see the beauty of SSP. My youngest daughter could sound and read words she could understand and many she didn’t understand very early on. It didn’t de-contextualise or rob meaning. Quite the contrary, it opened up a world of words and made them more accessible. No guessing what a word might be, just asking what unfamiliar words meant! Simples🙂


  3. Precisely – this: “just asking what unfamiliar words meant”


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