Friday, January 9, 2009

The alphabet marches on

Running record time is here again! I'm actually really pleased at the progress my students are making. Several of them have moved up not one but two reading levels, and our favorite friend Azul has moved up to -- get this -- E!!!! (So you would think he would want to be an F next, right? Well, no, according to Azul, because there are no F books in his classroom library, logically he should jump right from E to G.) I have a few students who came into the year reading at F (sample text: "We're going to the car wash. Wash it, wash it, here we go!") and are now reading at J (sample text: "One winter morning Peter woke up and looked out the window. Snow had fallen during the night. It covered everything as far as he could see").

On the other hand, though, I do have a few students who are either making frustratingly slow progress or no progress at all. I have one little guy who was held over in first grade -- which makes him a year older than his classmates -- who is still reading at D. He's been reading at D for almost a year. And that's after going through first grade (which you're supposed to leave at I the first time around) twice. Compare him to Azul, who only just arrived in the country less than a year ago and has already passed him. It's such a puzzle to figure out why some kids are making such great progress and some aren't progressing at all; obviously something isn't working, but we need to figure out why that is. I honestly feel like I can't even take credit for those F-to-J jumps -- it's like for those students, something just clicked and now they've blossomed like Leo the Late Bloomer.

Of course, even my J students are still below grade level, and at this point I'm starting to worry that some of my lower kids aren't going to catch up. I have one little girl at a G who is one of my sweetest and most hard-working students; unfortunately, she is struggling a lot and has extremely low self-confidence. Her brother tells her that she is stupid and won't make it to third grade, and I'm genuinely concerned that she won't make it to third grade -- not at a level G -- and that will totally destroy her. I'm convinced she has a learning disability -- she has really severe letter reversals -- but by the time the referral paperwork goes through, she'll probably be on her way to repeating second grade anyway, and I just think that will totally crush her. She's one of those students who just kills you because she tries so hard but it just doesn't click. I so don't want her to be held back. It's just that all my students need so much, how can there ever be enough time in the day to help them all?

1 comment:

Blair said...

Running Records can be so frustrating. It is very difficult to find the time to meet with each child individually especially in 1st grade when you can have such variation in reading levels! Good Luck! :)