One of my favorite ways to spend my free time (I know, it’s an oxymoron for a kindergarten teacher…) is with my sprouts from last year. From time to time, they invite me to come listen to them read and there is no better way to spend part of my lunch.

Today, Valerie, a dear student from last year, invited me to listen to her read. I walked in, she grabbed her book box and I was a little skeptical. The books in her box looked more like second grade books to me. Valerie is smart, but I wasn’t sure these books were going to work… I wanted her to feel proud about her reading, but this was her show and I was just her audience.

She pulled Sammy the Seal from her box. This is a long book. The first thing she did was flip to the last page…

“Look, it’s sixty-four pages,” she pointed out.

“Can you read the whole thing?” I wondered.

“Oh sure, I read it this morning, here, elbow to elbow and knee to knee,” she instructed me.

We buddy read this way in kindergarten and I was happy to see she either remembered it or was continuing the practice in first grade.

She read Sammy the Seal with more zeal and enthusiasm than I think the author ever intended. I soaked up her every word. I was aghast. She was not just reading, she was more fluent than I could have ever anticipated. I kept giving amazed looks at her first grade teacher.

When Valerie finished, I just looked at her.

“Wow, you have become a wonderful reader!” I exclaimed.

She smiled.

“Who do you read with at home?” I asked.

“Mainly just myself,” she said.

“Well, you keep it up. Keep learning from Mrs. ________ doing your best… remember how smart you are and how being smart can take you anywhere,” I finished.

“I know,” she replied.

“Well, you made my day, thank you so much,” I finished.

I’ve had enough of the smart girls aren’t cool routine I see and I don’t want Valerie falling into that trap. With that I gave her a hug and headed back to my class. She really did make my day.


Edie Parrott said...

I LOVE reading your blog daily! Since each new post arrives in my Google Reader, I'm afraid I rarely comment. Please know, however, that I'm probably one of hundreds of your "silent" readers. I have to comment today about hour statement of how smart your student is. I just read a fascinating book and learned an important concept that you might enjoy. I will have to look up the title and author. At any rate, the author is a psychologist who found that it is important for teachers and parents to commend students for working hard, not for being smart. Essentially, people who prosper are hard workers. Students who have been told that they are smart later encounter problems when they find work difficult. The hard workers, however, just know they need to keep working hard. It seems like such a simple concept, but the author stresses how important it is for teachers to praise kids for working hard instead of telling them that they are smart or creative, etc. Now I have typed all this on my IPod and can't proofread it. Please excuse my mistakes.

Edie Parrott said...

The book is entitled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. It's a great book for teachers. Have a great weekend.

Vodka Mom said...

today I overheard one girl say to another, "I read TWO books to my dad last night!"

The other replied, "Wow! You can SPELL?"

"Naw. I can't SPELL. I just READ."


Deborah J Stewart said...

I like your buddy read idea - can you share more about it?

Deborah J Stewart said...

I just read the comment from Vodka Mom! LOL!!

Mr. A. said...

@Edie - that book sounds VERY interesting, I'll have to check it out. This little girl has a rough home situation and I don't think she gets much support... she happens to be beautiful and I can see her thriving on being smart, something I want to encourage as I can see her getting more and more attention for her looks as she gets older... she IS smart AND works hard. Thanks for continuing to read and support me. :)