Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The desire to learn

...is growing among my beginner ELLs. First there was Azul, my Arabic B reader who is desperate to be a C. (In his quest to become a C reader, Azul has taken to drawing a large letter C in the air with his finger and then giving me an exaggerated thumbs up.) Now there is Lukas, my extremely adorable Polish-speaking B reader who is obviously exiting the "silent period" that is typical of beginner ELLs. But Lukas doesn't want to become a C reader. No, Lukas wants to go directly to D!

I was sitting with him today as he did the high-frequency word assessment, and when he finished, I tried to send him on his way so he could move on to the next kid when he surprised me by saying, "Can I read a book?"

This is the most Lukas has ever said to me at one time. "Yes, you can read a book. Where's your book baggie?" I said, pointing toward his reading spot. But Lukas had other ideas. "No, with you?" he said.

Have I mentioned that Lukas is extremely adorable? So yeah, there was no way I could refuse his request. We read Polar Bears together (which, for a B book, has ridiculous vocabulary: "Napping, sliding, waking," I could go on), with me pantomiming the vocabulary to help him figure it out. Then he looked up at me, smiled his extremely adorable smile, and said: "Can I be a D?"

I love that this kid speaks about a dozen words of English, but already he knows that the goal is to move his reading level up. Meanwhile, I would spend all day every day working with Lukas if I could -- he is a pleasant, polite, funny little kid -- but instead I spend all day every day doing assessments.


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