See Spot Run

by Lisa Donovan

It was like someone hit a switch in his mind — it came out of nowhere. My son picked up a book, one of those ancient Dick & Jane books, and started reading it front to back. It was like he had been reading for years. My husband and I were giddy with astonishment. It was a beautiful sight.

In his kindergarten class the students had begun reading “clubs” — they separate you into your appropriate reading levels and we were shocked to find out that our son was in the lowest level reading group. Like every parent we had always seen a gifted spark in our child — and to some extent, like every parent, we were right. My son has an engineer’s mind — math and science skills seem to be inherent within him. Every child has their knack. But I guess, as a writer and someone who has loved literature my entire life, I was certain that my children would be as bookwormish as me. Not according to the “reading club” at my son’s school. Understandably, they have to set these standards that have little wiggle room for the kids to feel out their learning style — how are public schools supposed to accommodate each independent weakness and strength of their students? Somehow though, as I write that, I am not feeling the conviction of the statement. I understand the plight of public schools — lack of funding, lack of integral structural integrity — but the fact that three days spent away from the pressure of “groups” and the predetermined “levels” of his school having merited a huge leap in learning is something that my husband and I can’t quite shake. We had been working at home with him (oddly enough, something that we were advised not to do by the reading specialist) and we feel that it is this that has lead him to the delightfully obsessive amount of independent reading that he has been doing these last couple of days. I literally had to drag him out of the library, prying books out of his hand because we had maxed out our limit. But, like a lot of other parents from his class, it has left me disillusioned about the state of things in his school, and public schools in general.

Aside from all of that though, I can’t quite convey the absolutely amazing sight it is to see your child read to themselves. It is one of those doorways that you know leads them to a whole other world of knowledge and independence. See spot run, indeed.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 21st, 2006 at 9:36 am and is filed under Character Development, Daily Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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