This post is a follow up to a post I wrote in the fall titled: From Here. For it to make sense, it is important to visit the original post. But I will summarize all the same.
In September, with my new class Grade 2/3s, I very quickly realized that we had a huge mountain to climb. A mountain of words and stories that needed to become our own.
From the original post:
“And . . . (I am not going to write but) many children (more than half) in my new classroom are not reading even close to grade level “expectations.” This, I was not fully prepared for. Not to this extent, not so many children.”
I named what I observed:
- They aren’t independent.
- They desperately want to be.
- They don’t identify as readers.
- They can’t self select titles that correspond to their levels.
- They need to be reading and they aren’t and this is not okay.
I felt a lot of things.
“I feel angry and I am not going to elaborate on what I know has gone wrong. I feel worried. I feel little moments of desperate. This isn’t grade 1 where my task is to grow readers from non readers. This is grade 2 and 3 where I must now grow readers and play all kinds of catch up. I feel responsible. But most importantly, I feel urgent. And this is what I celebrate – the urgency of my task. The advocacy that needs to happen. My determination. It is fierce. My fear. It is motivating. My breath. It keeps me grounded. Somehow, someway, we are going to change things for these children.”
And then yesterday I published this post: The Reading Warrior, It describes a determined little reader in my room. This same child was one of the many I so worried about in September and although I had plans and determination, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to help.
You see, in my room, I am not just playing catch up. It is not just about imparting skills. It is not simply about good teaching. Or about my mantra: “A room full of books and time to read them.” It is all of these things, yes. But it is also about helping to find calm. Confidence. Belief in one’s self. It is about trust. It is about serious routines and expectations. It is about cheerleading each small step. It is about helping each child own his/her own journey. And it is about all of the amazing people who help me make sure all of these things are in play. Growing readers is a team effort. And my team is incredible.
Are we all now where we should be? No. But some of us who weren’t, are. Some of us are well on our way. A few of us have finally stepped on to the path. And one or two are not ready to begin but I am pretty sure they know we are there rooting for them when they want to take that first step.
Now we find reader’s statements that must be shared in our conferences.
We know it is about effort (again and again) and results (soft and smooth).
We have uncovered Reading Warriors.
We are, now here, a room full of readers.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community!
Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.