Thursday, August 11, 2011

Literacy Academy Results

Our school district offers a free 4 week summer reading program to students that qualify. It's for kids that are close, but not quite, at their reading level. Two or three kids get picked from each 1st & 2nd grade classroom. Capt. N was fortunate enough to be picked. I was glad he would be getting a little extra help in the summer. I was also hoping I would learn a little more about how he learns best or if this teacher noticed any problems we should address. I talked with his teacher about once a week & last night was parent's night. Today is his last day of class.

The results
The good:
• Capt. N loved the class. His teacher was nice. He met new kids. There was one boy from his 2nd grade class also in his reading class. And, his favorite thing was that at parents night he got a Nike wall ball.
• It kept him reading in a fun way.

The bad:
• His reading problem is with fluency. Even this teacher couldn't pinpoint any other problem except fluency. But, his fluency didn't improve at all throughout the entire 4 weeks. As a matter of fact, his words per minute even went down by one.
• I didn't learn any new ways to help him. But, I did learn that the school's way of teaching obviously doesn't work for him.

I eavesdropped a bit at parents night & heard 3 other kids dibels scores. All 3 kids improved. I'm glad I heard that so I know that the class worked for some kids. Since I had asked the first week of school, I knew Capt N's dibels score was 67 at the start of the program. I admit, my heart sank a tiny bit when his teacher told me his score at the end of the 4 week program was 66. Right then & there I was silently so happy that I've decided to homeschool him next year. This districts way of teaching to read is just not working for Capt. N. And, although, that is already what I was thinking I was hoping this class would be some kind of magic reading potion. But, now I'm frustrated. Not frustrated at anybody or anything. Just frustrated that I can't figure out how to help him. I keep getting the same answer - just have him read... and read some more. Well, he just spent 4 hours a day reading & he didn't improve one bit. That may work for many kids, but it's not working for mine.

The great thing about homeschooling him next year is that we will have the freedom to work with his individual needs. If I decide he needs a tutor, we will work that into our school day; as opposed to him going to school all day, then going to a tutor & then doing homework. Education is high on my priority list. But, so is letting kids be kids. All work & no play seems like my happy kid would turn unhappy. If I push him too hard I fear he will resist learning to read. Right now we seem to have a happy medium. He loved going to the reading program. But, I didn't make him do a ton of reading the rest of the day. We left the house at 8am & got back at 2. I think that's enough time spent on reading - the rest of the day he gets to enjoy his summer vacation. The problem is that in that time he didn't learn to read any better. Why not?

His teacher did mention that he has a short attention span (which I already knew). And, that when he's working on something he's interested in, he can work quite quickly. She told us that when he made his own comic strip, he had so much fun with it & was the 2nd one done in class.

My choice to homeschool is mostly based on not wanting him to struggle all day at the public school. His reading isn't improving like a typical boy his age. I fear this will bring many other challenges, not just reading problems. Last year it meant having more homework than most of his class & missing out on fun projects. I won't watch that happen again. And since other subjects are reading based it means he will struggle in those subjects as well - even the subjects he enjoys. At home he can still excel in those subjects. I want him to feel like he can reach all of his dreams. If one subject is difficult, that's one thing. But, if all your subjects suffer because of it how is he going to find his self worth. At the moment he enjoys & thinks he's good at math and science. I want him to keep thinking that. If school makes learning a challenge for him, how is he going to have the confidence to chase his dreams.

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