Brash chittered delightedly as he went swinging through the vines. Sunlight filtered through the trees and shone on the sandy ground as he enjoyed the breeze ruffling his fur and cooling his damp face on the humid summer morning.
“Hey, there! What’s your name? What ‘cha doing?” Brash curiously inquired.
The shy young panda slowly glanced up, not quite making eye contact.
“That’s some really tidy print! What do those letters spell though? I’ve never seen that word.”
“Well, keep up the good work! When I finally mastered all those letters a couple of years ago, it was so cool to learn the different sounds that they could make, and now I love putting them all together to make lots of words.”
Brash enthusiastically replied, “Hi, Ace! I’m Brash, and this is my new friend Tyro. She is practicing her letters, but she hasn’t learned how to make any words yet.”
Tyro shyly looked up from her activity. “Wow,” she mused. “I really would like to be able to write words and read stories. I hope that I can be as smart as you two one day.”
Brash propelled himself upward by swinging his tail and grabbed the branch with his small hand. “Hey, do you guys want to do something fun together? What do you say we make a playhouse?”
“It sure does!” Ace chimed in. “I just soared over a place in this very jungle where an abandoned playhouse sits about half a mile from here. Maybe we could fix it up and have a cool place to learn and play together!”
Tyro giggled as she bounded away on short, furry legs followed by Ace, who took wing to the sky and soared over the new friends’ heads to lead the way to their first adventure together.
“Ooh, there it is!” squealed Brash as Ace gracefully descended onto a wooden structure anchored to a large, sturdy oak. The old tree house had seen better days, but it had definite promise as a satisfying summer project.
“Are you sure we can go inside?” Tyro inquired as she gazed upward at the dusty edifice.
“Make yourself right at home!” Ace welcomed them with a gesture of her wing. “I enjoyed many fun summer days here as an eaglet with my cousins and the surrounding neighbors. However this area of the forest cleared out several years ago as the animals began migrating toward the mature orchard north of here, and the old clubhouse has been forgotten. Maybe we could spruce it up and have some fun times here!”
Tyro perked up. “My dad has some tools. He probably will help us, if I ask!”
“Hey, that’s great!” exclaimed Brash exuberantly. “Let’s check this thing out.” He scrambled up the wooden rungs that hung by rusty nails on the oak’s trunk. Tyro cautiously trailed him and made her way through the entrance into the cobwebby interior.
Ace perched on the window ledge. “Wow, it’s just as I remember. It won’t be too much work at all to restore it to its former glory! Let’s grab some resources outside and get busy. We could build a broom out of brush. Oh, and let’s make a swing!”
The new friends scrambled into action. Brash yanked on a few vines until he found one that could be securely wrapped around a limb to form a durable swing. Ace swiped at the dust inside with her wing while Tyro crafted a makeshift broom and began whipping the place into shape.
“What kind of club should we have?” Brash inquired.
“Hmmmmm… I want it to be really fun. But I also want to keep learning my letters. Do you think you guys can help me?”
“It would be our honor!” proclaimed Ace. “We’ll have you transformed into a real grammar nerd in no time.”
“Hey,” exclaimed Brash. “There’s a great idea right there. We could have a Grammar Nerds Club!”
A smile was shared among the friends as they nodded in agreement.
The friends assembled bright and early with various objects they had committed to contribute to their new headquarters.
“Whoa, Ace! Do you need a hand with all of those books?” Brash offered.
“Thanks! I’ll just set them here until we get a rack mounted onto the wall. Tyro, were you able to borrow those tools from your dad?”
Tyro grinned. “You bet! He had this rain gutter left from a project at home, and he said we could use this as shelving for your books if we just mount it right on the wall. My mom framed this alphabet print for me after I told her that you guys were helping me with my letters, and she also had this stack of old chalkboards that we can use. I can’t wait! This is going to be so much fun.”
“Yippppppeeee!” Brash squealed. He deposited a crate full of workbooks, markers, and other various supplies onto the wooden floor. “My mom said we can use the table and chairs from my playroom at home, but I couldn’t carry everything in this load. Let’s use these cloths I brought to finish cleaning up and then we can have lunch at my house while we grab another load of stuff.”
Several hours later the friends plopped down exhaustedly at their newly acquired table, satisfied that their refurbished clubhouse was all ready to provide them with a summer of learning adventures.
“Are you too tired to tackle those letters today, Tyro?” Ace asked her friend.
“No way! I’d love to get started right now. Since Brash found some chalk at home, maybe I could just use that on this chalkboard. Here, both of you can have one, too!”
“Alriiiiiiight!” exclaimed Brash. “I love working on my letters, and I’ve been practicing my cursive. Let me try writing your name, Tyro.”
Brash swirled the chalk on the blackboard with a flourish.
“Wow, Brash, that looks beautiful! May I try?”
“Sure, you can, but let’s try it this way.” Brash slowly modeled a straight, sturdy T. Y. R. O. “There you go! That looks perfect.”
Brash explained the different sounds that the letters in Tyro’s name made, and she was amazed at all of the possible combinations. The three friends became so absorbed in their fun lessons that they barely heard the screech of Brash’s mom as she cued them with her dinner call.
“I had a blast today!” gushed Tyro. I’m so glad that we met, and I appreciate you both helping me. I learned more this afternoon about reading than I ever have before! I can’t wait to see you again tomorrow. I’ll bring snacks!”
The friends waved goodbye and headed off in various directions to rest up before another fun day of learning together.