Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Last week, I mentioned a few times about a big project I've been working on. Though, I never mentioned what it was.

I volunteered/was volunteered to take over teaching a group of kids. They're going thru a special series right now, which has no curriculum. Since I have a college degree in education and have lots of experience writing kids' curriculum, I was chosen to put together the lessons... and teach it. Also, the regular teacher is going to India for 3 months and I'm taking over. [I'm excited for her though! That's not the part that's stressing me.]

I only have 8 kids [if they all show up], but its a wide age range: 1st grade up to 5th. And the 1st graders can hardly read or write.


First grade? And not reading? Not even attempting to spell things out? I really don't care if its spelled correctly... but to not even try? I think something is very wrong. The one girl wanted to read a sentence, so I gave her an easy one... or so I thought. "And Peter did so." Guess what? She couldn't even pronounce "so." What???

Another time, I had blanks for them to fill in. They were even separated by letters. __ __ __ __ [down]. As I spelled it out for her, she asked "What does a 'd' look like? I forget."

I have some theories.
1) She has a reading disability. If that's so, she really needs to get help before she gets even older. In second grade, it will be quite embarrassing for her to not be able to read/write. I wouldn't want to see her self-esteem deflate like that.

2) She really has a stubborn streak to her. Really. And her older sisters are rather smart. They LOVE to read. And I wonder if maybe she's just pretending to not be able to do this. Either out of spite or just to get attention.

I'm leaning towards the second as being the real reason. Though it could also be a combination of the two.

In 3 weeks, the special series will be over and the older kids will go to their previous teacher; I will continue teaching the younger two. And I'm really not sure what to do. I feel like pushing them [especially the one] to attempt reading/writing on their own. Gently, of course. Since it will just be the two girls, I can take the time to work with them more. To encourage them to try with MORE effort. I don't mind if they spell things incorrectly-- I just want to see them try. However, I'm not sure if it's really my place to be doing that.

What do y'all think?


Toni said...

DO IT! I would never get mad at someone for teaching my children to read!

I am also surprised that they can't read yet. Luke is 4, and is already learning sight words, he has known his alphabet for at least a year, as well as the sound each letter makes!
Sounds to me that the previous teacher wasn't doing such a hot job. IMO

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

I didn't know how to read then either. The (private) school I went to just never bothered to give me any extra help, claiming that I'd learn at my own pace. Perhaps her other teacher feels the same way?

Crazy Working Mom said...

I think that you should try to teach her. It's a shame that they aren't working with her more. My daughter is only 4 (not even in school yet) and she can write all the letters in her name. Of course she cannot read, but I don't think that they are ever too young to start trying. Best of luck to you.

Becky, Mom, Mommy, Hey you, said...

teach her...If you don't who will??? If it was option number 2 maybe you should challenge her...

Smalltown RN said...

Oh don't be so hard to judge the poor girl. You know my daughter was not reading in grade one nor two nor I need to go on....yes my daughter had a learning was I who had to point it out to the was I who had to insist on her being properly was I who had to be her advocate. Maybe this poor girl has a learning disability...and maybe she doesn't have an advocate for her....maybe her parents don't so many children in this category...they get over looked and people put there frustrations down to be inatentive, dissruptive, and the list goes on. She most probably is frustrated...and acts out accordingly. Have you done any "phonemic awareness" with her? Sounds to me like she doesn't even have that concept down. You need to start at base camp with this, before it is to late....and if you can't do it...suggest to the administrators that she needs to be tested so she can qualify for supports.....please don't give up on her...not yet....give her a chance....I had to take my daughter out of the public school system because they couldn't provide the one on one she needed....while she was in the public system...she did get resource teacher time at first...and I had hired a private tutor 3 days a week. It still wasn't enough. I know all of this because I too have a learning disability...I was never diagnosed...I went through all of my school years being told I wasn't trying....I got frustrated...and at times gave one believed in me....I somehow managed to put myself through nursing school and educate myself the best way I could....I learn't all kinds of spelling is still very poor and spell check has become my friend...along with Webster's. please give this little girl a chance.....

I've been there.....

'liya said...

What if you were to talk to her teacher and see what's being done in the classroom and then expand on that? Maybe her teacher could even suggest some good resources. If she works closely with you she might improve and maybe she does just need the one on one attention. Is this fun for her? Would she enjoy learning outside? Try some different things and see what works for her. Then if she still has trouble learning and you still suspect a disability I'd go to the admin and ask what you can do to offer her the needed support.

Let us know how it goes.

Becky L said...

Okay, here's the other thing... She's homeschooled. So most of your suggestions just won't work.

The mother had been a teacher though before she became a mom. Though she worked with 4th or 5th grade.

Silver and RN... She may have a valid learning problem. And b/c of that possibility, I definitely won't be mean or harsh. Not at all. I would be a jerk if I made her cry for not being able to do something.

I'm not an "elementary" teacher. My college education was primarily working with older kids... So I don't really have any training as to how to teach reading effectively. But I think when its just the two girls and me, I'll try to make the sentences in my worksheets much simpler... and take the extra time to practice reading through it.