Third Grader

When my day finally concluded with taking WP friend to the 5th floor of the parking garage and driving myself home to Mom’s homemade turkey spaghetti sauce and salad, I noticed as we sat in the dark on the front porch one kid stood out in my mind.  Of all the third graders I sat 1:1 with and tested today this guy was different.

He talked a blue streak.  He was easy to engage in analogies and accounts.  He looked at me very closely after we had walked through the pods and taken chairs next to each other to read.

¨You’re old,¨ he observed.  He was looking at the lines on my face and kind of describing them with hand motions.

¨Yes,¨ I answered matter-of-factly, ¨I have grand children.¨ And I noticed him studying my face.

¨So when you see me at a distance and when we were walking I didn’t seem old, huh?  It was only after you looked closely at the lines in my skin.¨

¨Yes,¨ he mused and we got to the reading at hand.

Except that he wanted to talk about anything and everything.  He was almost a professional at looking for diversions.  When his reading record was done and we did our book talk, he had some difficulty with recall.  I asked him if I could show him something that will help in third grade and he assented.

I did my spiel about those little end marks, dots that mean one’s voice should drop and stop there at the end of the sentence.  I likened it to cars not stopping at stop signs or for red lights.

¨You’d get pulled over by the police,¨ he was quick and confident to inform me.

¨Besides that, if the police didn’t catch you, what might happen?¨

He wanted to act out the arrest.  He was heading for a tangent, so I quickly pointed out there’d would be car crashes.

¨And bikes!¨ he added.

¨Yes, so when you are reading and all this new information is coming in, you have crashes in you brain.  Ideas running into each other, if you don’t stop and think about one thing before you add in another.¨

I took my reading friend back to class, wondering how I will harness his verbal enthusiasm to serve his reading life.

6 thoughts on “Third Grader”

  1. Oh I hope you can help your little friend. My children were like him – one thought crashing into another. It takes a lot of hard work to harness all that energy and channel it toward reading. I wish you the very best.

  2. My school starts Tuesday and your piece for me excited!! Your piece reminded me why I teach – because each kid is so different and so unique and as teachers we get to talk to them and listen and watch and guide. Such a great job! I have complete confidence you will help the child in your story!! Your stories shows how intuitive you are and patient and observant. Have a great year!! Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher!!

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