June 29, 2005

Graduation Day

I don't remember my kindergarden graduation, if there was one. In fact, I never really cared for any of the graduations I've ever had. The only reason I attended my high school graduation was because I had three things to do during the ceremony. For my college ceremony I did double duty, making a speech as Undergraduate Student Gov't President and the only yearbook photographer available to take pictures.

Now that I'm a mom, I realize that graduation is about family and friends celebrating with their student their achievements and successes. For me my son's graduation was a day full of wonderful surprises. I not only received a little award from the kids for volunteering in their classroom. For me the greatest gift was the little story they wrote, which they printed on their pc, which included hand decorated color illustrations. I was truly touched. My son also received an award and wore lots of different hats during the ceremony. This is the same kid that usually hides behind me when we run into a neighbor or anyone tries to talk with him.

Here he is reading what the class picked out as their favorite story to share with their parent. I was so proud of him! I was just so amazed that his teacher worked with him to help him overcome his shyness enough for him to get in front of a crowd to read. I nearly cried, the only thing that stopped me was that I was recording the ceremony.

lil ant.JPG

After the ceremony, 4 parents asked me what program I used to help my son learn how to read? Puzzled I asked them: What program? They eagerly named a few programs hoping I would pick one as the magic solution to their “slow reader’s” problems. That made me angry on two counts, their quick labeling of their child as "slow", and comparing their wonderful creative children to mine. Every child has different strengths, to compare them to my son, who loves math, science and reading is really unfair. I quickly shared with each parent my view of of each's strength and let them know that after working with them at school, I know for a fact they are reading within their skill level for their age group. [I hate when parents compare their kids to others, it just makes children feel inadequate.]

So already being annoyed I just went ahead and told them that the only program I’ve ever used is the one recommended by experts world wide. In fact, I started with using this program the day my sone was born. The program is simple: read to your child everyday for 15 minutes and spend at least 5 minutes discussing afterwards what they liked or didn’t like about the story. If there's words they don’t know, tell them to stop you in the middle of reading and help them pronounce it by breaking down the words into syllables and afterwards giving them a definition and repeating the sentence.

After a long pause, one parent finally asked: “You;ve read to him every night? “ they actually seemed to be in disbelief that I've done this almost every night for the past 6 years. "Uh, yeah!"

It's amazing, some people think all you have to do with kids is take care of
their basic needs and the teachers will take care of the rest. I would love to home school my son, but since I can't the best I can do is help supplement what he learns by working with him at home. It only takes 20-30 min.
a day. They could not believe it. More importantly, I wonder what it is that they do with their kids when they get home. These parents are married, with extended families either living home or nearby, none of which I have the benefit of, and yet they seem to spend less time with their kids than I do. I’m just amazed and I really don’t get it.

Anyway, out of all of my son’s achievements this year, reading in public and delivering the class speech was the thing I was most proud of. I get choked up just thinking about it. My little baby boy is growing up. Sniff, sniff, sigh!

Posted by Michele at June 29, 2005 11:42 PM | TrackBack


You don't get it? It's called television. Much easier on parents than actually interacting with their kids for 45 minutes each day. ( I mean, if they really were concerned - 45 minutes? Sheesh.)

Be proud of yourelf for what you've done/are doing for your son. It's the gift of reading that makes everything else possible.

Posted by: Light & Dark at June 30, 2005 01:22 AM

Congrats! I hope my boys can read as well as yours. Yep, my boys look forward to going to the library every week. It amazes one of my friends who boys have trouble reading. They never read to them, nor do they read themselves. Seems easy enough to me to understand the problem.

You are doing a great job and I'm glad you are proud!

Posted by: vw bug at June 30, 2005 08:13 AM

L & D beat me to it. T frickin' V. The nanny of now.

Congrats on your son! Be proud! :)

Posted by: That 1 Guy at June 30, 2005 08:13 AM

L&D and T1G have it right, alas. We had TV, but I also had a Dad who read to me, from the comics to more substantive fare. Mom did too, but I preferred Dad for the comics as he did better voices. :) This is fantastic, and I am so happy for, and proud of, your Son. You both rock.

Posted by: Laughing Wolf at June 30, 2005 08:30 AM

I don't think my parents read to me, but there were a LOT of books in the house. I picked it up pretty fast because I desperately wanted to know what the books said.

Posted by: Harvey at June 30, 2005 02:54 PM

Congratulations to your son!

My sister is just like you and your interactions with your son, her daughter is bright, loves to read and is very interested in learning everything.

Contrast that with my cousins kids, whom get almost no interaction like that with their parents and the parents wonder why the kids are not at a level they should be at.

Posted by: Machelle at July 1, 2005 10:18 AM

Hey! Congrats!

I, in fact, do remember my kindergarten graduation. Well, okay, not the actual ceremony itself. The gift afterwards. It was a plastic glow-in-the-dark Jesus! (Obviously, I went to Catholic school K-8) My brothers and I had a bit of fun holding it in the sunlight and then taking it into the closet to watch it glow. Yahoo!

On a more serious note, as one who has been involved in teaching/training for my whole adult professional life I can tell you it is sometimes easy to spot those individuals who watched a lot, and I mean A LOT, of television when they were younger. I do believe that it does not just affect their reading; but also their ability to interact with others. People skills are best learned at a young age.

Here's what I mean. When I am in front of a class explaining something there will be many faces that I can see a reaction on. These individuals will be nodding their heads as they seem to understand what I am saying, or maybe they are frowning if they don't understand. But there is some reaction.

Then they are others whom, I believe, watched TOO much television when they were in their 'formative' years. There is NO reaction to anything I am saying. It doesn't matter if they completely understand or understand nothing that I am explaining. There is just a DULL VACANT STARE as if they are hypnotized or on drugs. They cannot be on drugs, can they? Can half my adult classes in the corporate environment really be spacing out from dope? Nope, it has got to be from television. As they watched too much television they did NOT have to interact with it.

So, reading to your child AND talking about the reading is very good!

Best of luck as your son enters the first grade!

Posted by: Charles at July 2, 2005 12:09 AM

I too have a hyperlexic child. Dash is 3 and is reading. People ask me what I did too. I answer just like you do. "We read every night". I get the same response as you. I am amazed at the amount of people who do not read nighlt to their children. It is a simple and easy, inexpensive ritual. It is nurturing and caring.

I will add here, that my 20 month old, does not like the reading as much as Dash did at her age. She likes her dolls, dressing up, seems as if she is intereested in different social play.

Different talents different children....same house.

Posted by: ArmyWifeToddlerMom at July 4, 2005 04:02 PM