The Reading Victory

There are TONS of kids in and out of my house every day (which you probably already know from my about page). There is an hour set aside for everyone to read every day (though the school only asks that they read for 20 mins a day). I am an avid reader myself. So is my sister and my mom. I have a HUGE collection of books at home (3 children/young reader bookcases, 1 1/2 adult bookcases). One of the most common places to go when we go out is the library.
In general, reading is strongly encouraged, supported, done and liked in my house. Whether there are 8 kids in my house, 4 or just my boys, reading time is done and everyone is expected to participate for at least part of the time. I can support everyone’s reading levels in either French or English—even my 3 year old nephew sits down with his own book (still more looking at pictures than reading, but he is getting the concept, knows books are to be treated with respect, knows that reading time means books, and knows to put 1 back before getting another out). So where can this ‘victory’ possibly be, right?
My 7 year old (T) does not like to read. Has always complained when it is reading time. Looks for something else to occupy him until he can go. He struggles with writing too. He is just not a ‘book’ kid. I know this, I have accepted this, but I still expect him to read when it’s reading time and write when it’s writing time.
This past week at school, there was a ‘book buddy shuffle’. Our book buddies were originally paired up by grades and by which program they are in (5/2, 4/1, 3/P, English with English, French immersion with French immersion). Grade 6s don’t do book buddies anymore because there is A LOT going on in grade 6. The grade 3 provincial assessments are coming up though, so grade 3 is going to be pretty crazy soon too. Born is the shuffle. Now down to 5 grades, with some big changes needed for some, our school decided EVERYONE in the program can have a new book buddy. The grade five students are spread out into the learning center and among all the younger groups and as many grade two and four students as possible are reading with the primaries and ones. T is reading with a primary student who struggles with reading too.
Last Tuesday was his first book buddy class since the shuffle. After school he couldn’t find his mittens (I hope to be writing a ‘lost and found’ post soon) so we went on the hunt. By the stairway we met up with two teachers headed in opposite directions but both right by us. It was T’s teacher and one of the primary teachers.

T’s teacher: “Hi! The vice principal said you were still here. I meant to speak to you earlier” (I slid a ‘what’s going on’ look at T)
T’s teacher: “T had a new book buddy today!”
Primary teacher: “Oh yeah, I forgot that T is your son.”
(You know you’re a part of the school when….)
T’s teacher: “T did a great job today!”
Primary teacher: “T kept Amanda (name changed) on task and was really patient with her. He is great to have in the primary rooms at reading time!”

My heart swelled! I know there was more to the conversation, thanks, wishes for a good afternoon, whatever, but I don’t remember all that. T did it! He’s not a book kid, he was paired with someone else who isn’t a book kid, but he had a successful class! And not one, but TWO teachers saw and recognized this, they felt the need to pass it along! He may never be an avid reader, but as of Tuesday, he IS a READER!

No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!

Jules

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