SOLC 2014: Celebrating Success

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When Ruth Ayers began her Celebrations link up on her blog Ruth Ayers Writes last fall, I thought it was a terrific idea. After all, it’s very easy to get bogged down in our exhaustion at the end of the week. Why not look for joy in ordinary moments and celebrate them? As Ruth put it, “We can wallow or we can celebrate.”

I liked the idea, but was still so caught up in the swirl of CCSS, SBAC, SEED, and more that I didn’t participate. I enjoyed reading about what other people were celebrating, but that was it.

Fast forward to March. Slice of Life Challenge month. A post everyday. Although I had made a plan, none of those ideas resonated with me this morning. As I thought back over the week, my mind automatically went to unfinished projects. But then I started thinking about moments during the week when I had laughed or smiled. There were many. So instead of wallowing in the stacks of paperwork surrounding me, this morning I’m celebrating the growth of one of my students.

I’ve been working with this first-grade girl for the past three months or so. She is very sweet, but reading has been a real challenge for her. When we began working together, she didn’t know short vowel sounds and even some consonants were still tricky for her. Her progress has been of the one step forward, two steps back variety. She likes to guess based on the illustration in a book and doesn’t like to reread if a sentence doesn’t make sense.

This week, though, she had a bit of a breakthrough. Suddenly, she was able to blend and segment words quickly and, for the most part, accurately. Best of all, she is beginning to transfer this skill to her reading. She’s becoming more fluent and more confident. You should have seen her beaming smile after she finished reading a challenging book on Thursday.

We still have a long way to go, but, for the first time, I sense a shift in this girl and her skills. Things are starting to click for her. She is becoming a reader.

Thank you, as always, to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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13 thoughts on “SOLC 2014: Celebrating Success

  1. I’ve seen the same shift in a little sweetie-pie! She knew most consonants and guessed /i/ for every short vowel in August. With a lot of practice and patience, she’s able to decode cvc words. Maybe next year, she’ll tackle silent e, but for now smiles and confidence are enough.

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  2. What a wonderful celebration. Magical moment of success. As an upper grade teacher I don’t get to see that magic of non reader to reader happen. What a treat. A well earned one for both you and her. Sending lots of love from the upper grades, without you where would we be?

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  3. Your slice is the best part of teaching – when it finally clicks! Hopefully this is just the beginning for her as we head into the last months of the school year! Good luck!

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  4. Don’t you live when that happens. A little miracle to watch. I am watching miracles happening with my students’ writing. Joy!

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  5. Definitely a cause for celebration! It’s really nice to be patient and wait, and also know that it will happen. I imagine you helping her to relax, Catherine, and then finally the breakthrough! Nice to hear!

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  6. This is a wonderful celebration! I think it’s time for you to add the Celebrate button to the top of this post and join us on Saturday. Love these lines: “I sense a shift in this girl and her skills. Things are starting to click for her. She is becoming a reader.” Hooray!

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  7. This is definitely a wonderful celebration. January and February are my favorite months as a first grade teacher… This is the month that many children really seem to “get it”. Congratulations…to you and your student. 🙂

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