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the last one...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017
... of the eight Wednesdays for attempting to help four year olds learn some pre-reading skills. One of them was markedly disinterested in the whole process. The little boy I was working with probably told me on half of the eight days I took off work, went to the school to spend time with him: 'I don't want to read.' What can you do? Can't force 'em to read. So I just took him back to the classroom. It was not beneficial to either of us.

The little girl I was helping was a delight. Very talkative, interested in each book over the eight weeks, and loved to practice writing her name. The book this week had illustrations of a number of animals, wildlife, I pointed to, asked her what it was.Woodland creatures we can immediately identify: rabbits, owls, frogs, turtles, raccoons. She didn't know what any of them were.  It's hard to imagine a child not being able to name them. Sad to think that no one has devoted the time it takes to sit and read, talk about books with her.

I am thankful I can read. Constantly grateful for the ability to decipher the written word. Appreciative of the taken-for-granted coordination required to read and write. And type! I took typing in the eighth grade, and again in high school. (This was looooonnnnggg before there was even an inkling of the idea of 'keyboarding' as a skill.)  I still have to use the 'Columbus Method' for numbers, as it seems I never did train my fingers to find numerals on the top row of keys. Wonder if that has anything to do with my being chronically math impaired?

I cannot conceive of what a life of being illiterate would be like. Wondering if those little four year olds have improved over the eight weeks five different volunteers were coming in each day to read and help them decipher the illustrations in each book? Looking for colors, counting things, identifying animals, reading the pictures? I know there is a pre-assessment and another evaluation done after the two months of volunteers coming in to read the same book all week long and do work  sheets, boosting pre-literacy skills. I hope it has been helpful and they all were able to demonstrate some measure of improvement.

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