“Blah, blah, blah,” said the schoolmarm, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” This lesson is so boring, thought Ditto. I wonder what the schoolmarm is saying? It’s hard to focus with that little piece of corn between her teeth. I wonder if she knows it’s there? I wonder what else she had for lunch? There’s a spot on the sleeve of her blouse… maybe she had a Salisbury steak with gravy… or a donut with chocolate icing… or maybe it’s blood… maybe she smashed a mosquito with her elbow… or leaned against a freshly painted barn… the spot matches the color of her shoes… I wonder if she ties her laces with a single loop or bunny ears through the rabbit hole… one of the laces is loose… and an ear has come undone… I haven’t seen many bunnies this spring… maybe I’ll see one on the way home… if I’m lucky… maybe I’ll see a bunny… or a turtle… or a giraffe…
It’s your turn, said Virginia, I’m sure you’ll do fine.
Alright big-nose, said the schoolmarm, you’ve got sixty seconds.
Read as many words as fast as you can… Begin!
DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency
bol kiv ul jac lel
fij kug jat oj deg
wav pek yos mub fiv
ec faj vog kif puk
“bol?” said Ditto, What’s a “bol?” Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But “bol” isn’t a word. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But it doesn’t make sense. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. But there aren’t any words. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. This isn’t English, said Ditto. Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Can I use a Rosetta stone? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or the Pentagon’s decoding program? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or maybe a soothsayer? Just read the word, said the schoolmarm. Or a deck of Tarot cards? Stop! said the schoolmarm. Your time’s up! You scored one out of forty, you’re a red light. A red light? said Ditto. Yes, said the schoolmarm, an abject failure, you’ll start intervention in the morning.
“Virginia,” said the teacher, “How much is three plus three?” “Three plus three,” said Virginia, “is six.” “Excellent,” said the teacher.
O.k., said the teacher, let’s have “big-nose” do the next one… Tell us, “big-nose”, how many arc seconds per century is the perihelion precession of Mercury relative to the earth, and what scientist provided the theory to explain this precession?
When I heard the learnèd school-marm;
when the proofs and figures were ranged in columns;
when I was shown the charts and diagrams,
to add, divide, and measure the heavens;
when I, sitting, heard the school-marm in the school house,
how soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
till rising and gliding out, I wandered off by myself,
into the mystical cool night-air, and from time to time,
looked up in perfect silence at the stars.
(altered from Walt Whitman)