by Jodifur on November 29, 2011

Like most elementary schools, Michael's does a leveled reading book system.  And last year he made very little progress.  So little, that in March I emailed his Kindergarten teacher and let her know I was concerned about how little progress he was making.  Her response to me was less than satisfactory.  And while I wasn't thrilled with her before that exchange, it all really went downhill in the Spring of Michael's Kindergarten year.

If you have been reading me for a while you may remember that Michael was pulled out of a preschool program because he was having, what they described as, "significant behavior problems."  Now whether or not they were significant and whether or not I should have done that is really water under the bridge. I will say they were HORRIBLE to me and they weren't so nice to Michael, but what has stuck with me, to this day, is that they told me he would never read  And last year, when he was sooo behind in reading, that was the only thing I could think about.  I felt like I had become one of those parents who couldn't handle what someone was telling her so she took her ball and went home.  

I've said it before, and I will say it again, I somehow always go back to, what if they were right?  What if Michael never reads?  What do we do then?

Right before Thanksgiving Michael's 1st grade teacher emailed me to tell me that she was moving him up two reading levels.  She didn't want me to be concerned or think she made a mistake, yes, his next reading book would look like he skipped a level.  But she tested him and he tested two levels higher. She then went on to discuss the progress he was making and how hard we was working.  How he was mastering his sight words and his "strategies" for when he didn't know a word.

Her email discussed how proud she was of him.  How proud we should be of him.

Michael is now where he needs to be at the end of this semester.  In February.  Yes, his best friend is already where he needs to be at the end of first grade, and I know kids reading at much higher level, but I learned an awful lot last year, and one of the things I learned was to stop comparing.  This is huge for Michael.  He has never been AHEAD in reading.  He has always been behind.

I think I can finally let go "what if they were right?"  I think I can safely say, unequivocally, old school, you were dead on, wrong.  About so, so many things.



Joanne Bamberger aka PunditMom November 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

As someone said to me early on when PunditGirl was little — when your kids go down the wedding aisle, they’ll be potty trained and they’ll know how to read. I’m so, so happy for you and Michael. There is SOOOOO much pressure and expectation for kids to be pushed today and to over-perform, when, really, most children need to be allowed to learn at their own pace and on their own schedule. I remember I was worried when PunditGirl wasn’t yet reading in kindergarten when so many other kids, supposedly, were. In first grade, she jumped several levels at one time, and has never looked back. And the thing is this — the kids who say they’re reading Harry Potter at age 6? Maybe their eyes go over the words and can “read” the words, but they don’t really understand what the story is about. It’s safe to say that today, in 6th grade, PunditGirl, is a much more sophisticated reader than a lot of kids her age, and she is a thoughtful reader. I’m so done with a system that makes us doubt our children and worry that we are not pushing them hard enough. at such young ages and that we exist in a society where so many parents hold their children out to ‘one up’ other parents.
As for the people who made you doubt Michael, I’ll be blunt — they have no clue what they’re doing. No responsible educator would ever suggest what those teachers told you.

But I Do Have a Law Degree November 29, 2011 at 9:05 am

This must have been the post that was making you cry. :) CONGRATULATIONS to him. Such amazing news!

Mama Bub November 29, 2011 at 9:06 am

I’m so angry that they said he would never read. It’s such an irresponsible statement and one that any preschool teacher should know carries a lot of weight with parents. I’m so glad he’s doing well, and not at all surprised.

Nenette November 29, 2011 at 12:06 pm

So, so very happy to read this! Congratulations, Michael! Great work!
You should never have been told that he would never read. Those so-called educators were completely wrong and should’ve never planted that seed of doubt in your and Michael’s minds.

D. November 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm

That is so absolutely fantastic!! Go, Michael!
Also, what kind of idiot teacher decides that a preschool-aged child will never read? I sort of wish you could tell them to their faces how very wrong they were. They need to know.

Jessi November 29, 2011 at 3:00 pm

When my little brother was in Kindergarten, his teacher told HIM that he’d never read. Skip the parents and go right to devastating a kid. He’s now 20 and is a perfectly good reader. I blame the fact that he is the only person in our family who doesn’t read for enjoyment on that woman.
My point here is that I think that’s something that SOME teachers – the horrible ones – throw out as a threat or punishment when they are mad. They know how you’ll feel about it and how it will haunt you.
In any case, I’m so happy for you and proud of Michael and you know, it really is all working out. :)

Laura November 29, 2011 at 3:35 pm

yipppee Michael!! :) And, yay for patient mommy giving her child time to grow and be ready to read. :)

Stacy November 29, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Congrats to Micheal!

Corey Feldman November 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

Go Micheal! I knew you would all be OK!

Kari Weber November 29, 2011 at 9:29 pm

As a teacher, I apologize for the teachers that have told you RIDICULOUS and IRRESPONSIBLE things in the past. NO educator should use those words on a child. AND NEVER in the way it was used on you; like a punch to the gut of someone already reeling. My son is in the 1st grade over here on the West coast and I have a teacher who is amazing and also levels books. Zach was a little behind as well, and isn’t it just AMAZING when they finally start putting things together. Recently, unsolicited, Zach started reading and trying to read signs and books, and titles that are all around him. He never really tried before, but now I constantly hear, “Mom! That says…” I listen to him read at night, and I know. I just know that one day, I will be yelling at him to, “Put that damn book DOWN and do your chores!!!” And I can’t WAIT for that moment! Way to go Michael!

Elena November 29, 2011 at 9:36 pm

yeah!!!! so Proud of Michael!!!

Hope November 29, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Hooray for Michael!

Headless Mom November 30, 2011 at 11:08 am

Yea Michael! Yay Mom!
See? Every child will do these things in their own time!

April November 30, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Validation is so much sweeter than revenge! Congrats!!

Elaine November 30, 2011 at 2:01 pm

High Five! Awesome.

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