If you’ve been a reader since last year, you’ll certainly remember Sonya. She’s in a first grade room right down the hall from me and makes a point to stop and give me a wave every morning on her way to breakfast. A few days ago, after her wave, she motioned for me to come over.
“Mr. A., can I read you a book?” she asked.
Now to be clear, Sonya, while one of my more colorful and entertaining sprouts last year, was certainly one of my struggling learners. She made good progress and eventually did meet all of the kindergarten benchmarks, but just barely. The thought of her reading me a whole book sounded too good to be true.
“I’d love for you to read to me… let me check with your teacher about a good time for me to come visit,” I said. I also wanted to make sure she was ready to read to a visitor.
Sure enough, her first grade teacher said she has been working extremely hard and invited me to come during my lunch to be read to.
When I walked in today, Sonya was working with a support person so I walked over, sat down, and listened to her read.
Sure enough, she was reading. Not only was she reading, but she was reading fluently. After each sentence, she stopped, looked up from her book, stared at me and gave me a huge smile.
After she read the decodable reader for me, she got up, walked over to her backpack and retrieved the special book she wanted to share with me. She read it with more excitement and expression than I honestly imagined she’d be capable of using this early in her first grade year.
As she was reading, all I could think was, ‘Don’t cry… whatever you do, do not let this little girl see you cry as she’s reading.’ I held it together, but the hairs on the back of my neck were standing at attention.
“Wow, Sonya – you are an amazing reader! Do you know how that makes me feel to hear you read?” I asked her.
After some thought, she said, “Happy?”
“Not just happy…” I replied struggling to think of a stronger adjective.
“Super happy?” She offered.
“Super happy,” I agreed.
I got up to leave and she walked me to the door and gave me a hug. It was the best use of my lunchtime ever. Ever.
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