There are two ‘Academic Walls’ that concern me when I am talking about my daughter. The first is when I know she personally can go further, but those teaching her at school are not letting her. The second wall is when she gets an assignment she will actually have to work at, it won’t be so easy that she can just fly through it with little to no effort.
For the first problem, I ran into that on a limited scale this year. At our school (I am sure it is also at others, as it was also at her old school) there is a program called Accelerated Reading (AR). When my daughter was in first grade the excelled at reading, and by the end of her first grade year she was reading at a fourth grade level. I continued her reading through the summer by directing her toward chapter books developed for 3 grade readers. Since she was going into the second grade I did not want to force fourth grade level books on her so that she ended up despising reading, I also did not want to give her books that were so easy she was not challenged at all. We settled on the Judy Moody series, which she fell in love with.
Then she went into second grade and took her STAR test. As I understand it, this test placed her in the 2.5-3.0 range for reading. While I wasn't thrilled with this, I accepted it – but the poor thing is still in there. Now she has taken another STAR test and despite being placed in 3.0-3.5 range, she must read five more books before going into that level. As the summer approaches I find I will be directing her toward the same level of books this year as I did last year.
The personal dilemma I run into is: I know her teacher is ensuring her success, but I fear she might also be holding her back. I realize now, at the end of the year, is the solution for this is the same solution for when she hits the other academic wall.
I have seen her hit this wall this year … well it was more of a large speed bump, kind of a picture of what is to come. This year is the first year my daughter has had reading homework (you know writing this out I realize this may be the reason for her teacher’s hesitation – but I don’t think so)where she was required to read a story then answer questions about that story. As long as the answer to the question was written out in black and white, there was no problem. It was when she had to come up with an answer based on her own conclusions that she ran into problem. My lovely girl is very literal, and could not understand that the book wouldn’t just tell her the answer somewhere. This took about three months of cajoling, tantrums, discussions, and more with her before this became easy for her as well; but it was tough going for a bit there.
The best resolution, beyond what I am already doing, for both of these issues is to ensure I keep an open line of communication with her teacher: ‘Partnering’ with them. I have been guilty of trying to fix/do everything on my own – but really, to enable my daughter to learn the best she can is to get all sides of the story. The dynamic with her teacher is very different from the dynamic between all of us here at home. Next year I intend to go straight to her third grade teacher with a list of questions and concerns. Granted it is a small list, for now, but I want to make sure all of us are on the same page.
-This is a continuation of the writing series I started with: The Concerns of Raising an Intellectually Gifted Child