3 – Dan

IMG_0009Most students I see for a year get stronger & more confident in reading/writing and leave intervention.There are only several students in my reading intervention now who were with me last year.  One such quiet first grade boy, tall for his age, and very hesitant to speak English, was in those groups of eight last year.

I recall his teacher characterized Dan as weird.  I found him artistic and inventive. She was sure “something’s wrong.”

Those were the days before we had LLI and the research to prove that intervention works best with 3.  Now, finally mid year, I have exited various second graders and Dan is in a group of three.

Today our story about Meli, the dog going to school for training, engaged Dan fully.  His read was expressive and practically unhesitating.  His talk with me connected his experience with his own dog.

Dan dropped that continual worry from his face and the defensiveness in his manner disappeared. I could listen fully to this sudden burst of things he had to say.  My few minutes with him stands out among a bazillion busy Monday things because I knew our relationship opened. The safety he needs in the group is realized.

There are students like him whom I especially want to see win.  I root for the underdogs always.  I detest when students get labeled “so low” or “the lowest I’ve ever had” (What?  In your two years of teaching second grade since you switched from seventh?)  I am rankled by comments like, “Well, his sister is RSP, ya know.”

Last year I couldn’t fully serve my mostly ELD students in groups of 8 for a half hour daily, although I made a difference.  Now, finally getting the LLI model working in my schedule and with the right placements, I don’t see how teachers in full classroom can make the connections with and have the literacy happen for our students who process more slowly, have to translate in their minds, don’t hear much English at home, and who have gone through several years of school already without an award, a genuine praise or feedback on what’s going well.

That almost a run-on sentence really gets to the heart.

I’d be tuning out, too.  I think Dan has learned to duck most things.  But today, we had a little opening…I really think we are going to go somewhere.

4 responses to “3 – Dan”

  1. I remember those small victories too. A teacher once came back to me and said that when i told a student she was a real star reader that I made her so proud she told everyone. Praise and attention can make a big difference. Congratulations on your breakthrough.


  2. Your students are so lucky to have someone like you advocating for them!


  3. bigtimeliteracy Avatar

    Love those moments when you finally make that connection! You’ll have to keep us posted on any more connections you make with that little kiddo! 🙂
    (I also just started using LLI this year – LOVE it!)


  4. Great comments on a rewarding day in the classroom. Your writing shoed the frustration, but also the joy of working with students.


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