For past two springs, the mailman has brought a copy of a copy of a copy of a letter from the local school system.
The original names and dates on it are always whited out and the new ones are scrawled in by hand, but each time the message is always the same:
Your daughter needs to go to summer school.
That letter won't come this year, though, because according to Thing 1's last report card her reading skills are now, and I quote, "proficient."
It's been a long struggle for my little girl. It's been even more of a struggle for me.
Reading and writing, for whatever reason, came quite easily for me as a child (though poor typing, lazy spelling and the difficulty of proofing my own work continue to do me in as an adult). It shouldn't have, according to today's parenting experts, because I seem to recall spending most of my preschool days watching Gilligan and Maxwell Smart, wearing knees out on my pants from playing Hot Wheels and sitting in a beauty parlor for hours every week, drinking tea with too much Coffee-Mate in it while my Mom got her hair done.
So flash forward three decades or so and there's me, lying in bed next to Thing 1, getting verbally and physically exasperated. We'd read the same book every night for a week and every night, she'd read some word like "going" on the first line of a page, then struggle to pronounce it the next six times it appeared in the story.
We tried flash cards. Hit and miss.
We tried Hooked on Phonics. This drove us both nuts with the annoying repetitive songs and whatnot. After a few tries, we hide it in the living room closet. (However, it may work for you! Buy it used from me now on Amazon -- kindergarten and first-grade editions!)
Eventually, she was sent to summer school. Three hours a day for four weeks. Thing 1 told me that they talked a lot about feelings and civic responsibility in class. The school assures me that was part of the curriculum and that she was not accidentally mixed into a juvenile delinquent rehab class. I still have doubts.
The turning point came last year in second grade, for several reasons I think.
One, she had a couple of her best buds in class to share the pain of learning. For whatever reason, she ended up with only one of the 25 kids from her kindergarten class in first grade. Given her shyness around new people, that just added to battle. The bully who wouldn't assign her a role in the playground pretend games didn't help either. (Ed. Note: Thing 1 says she now handles this boy by chasing him around the playground threatening to kiss him.)
Two, her second-grade teacher was a good one who had a firm hand on the class. She needed it with a couple of those kids, whom I had to physically stop from trying to maim a squirrel with their bare hands on a field trip once.
Third, we hired one of the other teachers at school to tutor Thing 1 once a week. I think the extra attention -- alone with an adult who knows how to teach as opposed to a dad who, at this point, knows mostly how to go "Aarrrrrrgh! Why don't you get this?" -- helped her turn the corner.
And now, she is "proficient."
Papa's proud of you, girl.
Though he's also glad you're not that much better at reading, given the incident I'm posting about Tuesday on Dadcentric.com. See y'all there.
My Uncool Past
- ► 2014 (16)
- ► 2013 (30)
- ► 2012 (61)
- ► 2011 (57)
- ► 2010 (100)
- The Joy of Proficiency
- Fame - Is It Any Wonder
- Everywhere at Once; Nowhere at All
- Shedding Extra Light on Your Seasonal Demise
- She's Not Testy Over Standardized Tests
- First Day. Rest of Life. Blah, Blah, Blah.
- My Blogiversary -- Exposed!
- When Blood is Not Enough
- Between a Hug and a Choke
- Around the Block
- ▼ March (10)