My memory on Facebook today showed my second grader, five years ago at 2 1/2 completing K level worksheets. My comment at the time was that she was so good at it that it was scary. If you had asked me then to predict her educational path, I would have told you that in all certainty she would be reading by 4. All signs pointed to it, she was always just ahead of herself and I was certain she would not let anyone else pass her by to read first.
She turned four and she didn’t read and I thought, “Oh well I guess I was wrong, but surely she would in Kindergarten.” Well Kindergarten came and she did read, but it was barely at grade level and always with a struggle. Some kids don’t really hit their stride till first grade, I thought. First grade came and she started out right at grade level and ended up right at grade level. That’s fine too, but she never took off. She hated reading to us at all, she never read a book for pleasure, she shut down or shook when she had to read for homework. I knew she was having great instruction from her teachers and I knew she had the intelligence, but the reading just never clicked the way it should.
We live in a home filled with books, well over a thousand children’s books grace our shelves. I read to her at night, took her to the library, bought every book she even halfway showed an interest in hoping it would be the trick to get her to embrace reading for pleasure. Hoping she’d gain confidence and fluency and pride. Time passed and though a few times I thought we had made it, it never stuck. The battles continued. Time on text to me is the key to reading success, but how do you get time on text with someone who fought every step of the way. There wasn’t a sticker chart in the land that would break through this barrier that she had created. There were threats and tears and yelling along with equal amounts encouragement.
She entered this year just around on grade level with yet again another wonderful teacher. About a few weeks in, something started to click. She was suddenly grabbing books and reading them. At night, the homework book came home and she actually would read it without a fight or tears. Then against all odds, she completed her first chapter book. Last week, when I went to tuck her in she asked if she could read to me. This week, she has spent hours in her room reading to her dolls. Time on text, time on text, she finally is completing some time on text, which I know will lead to progress. All this reading has allowed me enough observation time to figure out what her block finally was too and she is willingly letting me help her. So when I walked in her room tonight to see her latest tornado like mess, I smiled because I have been waiting for this mess for a really long time.