Monday, September 09, 2013

What Happens When You Assume....

Image from 123RF Stock Photos

Part of the requirement for Luke's gifted class this year is to read 25 books in a school year, 12 by winter break, and the other 13 by mid-May. But they can't just be any books; they must be on grade level. [Brief explanation of book ratings: Books are rated with number in the format of X.Y, where X represents the grade, and Y represents the month of that grade; thus, a book rated 5.4 is of a reading level appropriate to a student in 5th grade during the 4th month of school. Got it?] So all of his books must be rated a 3.0 or higher, even though his recent assessment puts him currently reading on a 2.5 level. So already, this request is a stretch for his abilities, but I do understand the requirement. It seems reasonable to expect gifted students to read on grade level, even if they are not gifted in reading. It will be challenging, but we will do our best. But wait, there's more! The books must also come from certain predefined categories and/or authors "to make sure they read a broad range of books." People, they are in 3rd grade! Personally, I think you should just be happy they are reading, period! I really could not care less if he reads "a broad range" of anything. As long as he is reading, I'm happy! He has all of high school and most of middle school to be forced to read stuff, you know, after he has actually *learned* to read. For right now, let them read whatever they want and enjoy it while they can. All this does is beat out of them the desire to read! ::snort:: /end rant

Ahem! Anyway, as soon as school began, we had him start reading his first book towards his 25 goal. I reviewed the list and saw a book that A) we already owned, and B) I remember enjoying when I was about his age: Stuart Little. However, watching him read it these last 3 weeks has been agony! He has been severely struggling, only managing to read one page every 3-5 minutes. That's 5-6 pages a day, and the book is about 100 pages. If it takes him 3-ish weeks to read every book, he's never going to make the deadline of 12 books by winter break, which is only about 15 weeks away. It has been incredibly frustrating for all of us, so much so that we have been seriously considering pulling him from gifted. I mean, if this book from the 3rd grade reading list is such a struggle, maybe he shouldn't be there? We know that he qualified for gifted almost exclusively on his math scores; perhaps that is finally coming back to bite us.

I've been gathering my data to prepare for a conference with his teachers to get their take on the situation: his current class levels, his current grades, his latest assessment showing the 2.5 reading level, etc. I wanted to start the conversation by saying, "see how much trouble he is having reading Stuart Little, which is only rated ___." The problem is that I didn't know exactly what level the book was actually rated. So today, I finally decided to look it up. It is a 6.0, meaning on a 6th grade level! No wonder he's been struggling!!! I feel like the worst mom ever. I just assumed that all recommended books on the list were rated somewhere in the 3-4 range, but you know what happens when you assume. If I had just bothered to check when he was having so much trouble, we could have saved ourselves weeks of tears and anger and heartache. All future books will be chosen with much greater care while staring at the website that shows their levels. And, I owe him a HUGE apology!! I feel so guilty for putting him through that.

Currently feeling: like a complete failure

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