Thank you, Ruth, for providing this space and giving us the opportunity to pause and celebrate the joys from our week.
June can be a bittersweet time for teachers as we let go of children we have grown to love. This week, I want to celebrate one of these students.
I began working with this second grade girl at the end of November. She had struggled with reading in first grade, but by last September it was clear that she wasn’t making progress. Her parents consented to testing to see if she was eligible for special education, but these revealed that she had average skills and abilities, and therefore not eligible. But she was eligible for the Tier 3 reading support I provide.
When we began working together, she was reading at a level about a year behind where most second graders are in November. She came to our lessons eager to to her best, and began to make slow but steady progress.
As I wrote earlier in the week, I usually have a short read-aloud time during my intervention lessons. About a month ago, I began reading Firefly July (Candlewick Press, 2014), Paul B. Janeczko’s wonderful collection of short poems, to this little girl. She was entranced by Melissa Sweet’s whimsical illustrations and several of the poems quickly became favorites. This line from Robert Wallace’s “In the Field Forever” even inspired her to write her own poem:
Sometimes the moon’s a scythe, sometimes a silver flower.
Here is her poem:
The Colors of the Moon
Sometimes the moon looks like a golden banana.
Sometimes it looks like a white hammock.
Sometimes it looks like a ripe orange.
Sometimes the moon looks like a cookie with a splash of milk.
Sometimes it looks like a red apple.
Isn’t that lovely?
All her hard work has paid off. She is leaving second grade only one level below our end-of-year expectation, and she is no longer mixing up lowercase “b” and “d”. But best of all, she is leaving second grade a poet and a much more confident and enthusiastic reader. Hooray for her!