Thursday, August 18, 2005

Reading with Santiago

Yesterday I took Santiago, Jerry, and their mom to the library so that the boys could get their own library cards. I also wanted to return the 26 library books we had checked out the week before on MY card and let them check out books on their cards, not knowing if we would be able to even find all 26 books again if I waited much longer.

Both boys signed their library cards. Jerry wrote his name all in caps, but very readable. I was astounded at Santiago’s ability to write in cursive script. He obviously has good eye-hand coordination.

Their mom limited them to 6 books each. Santiago did throw in a math book and a math puzzles book. But the rest were books from the “Arthur” series – probably about third grade level.

When I dropped them off at home, I suggested that Santiago might read to me for a few minutes. He chose one of the Arthur books and looked a little nervous. I was pleasantly surprised that he knew about half the words by sight. But he didn’t have a clue about how to decode the others. He didn’t know what a contraction was. He couldn’t name the 5 vowels. It was as though he had never been taught one thing about reading. We developed a system of breaking down the words into smaller and smaller pieces until he could sound the syllables out with a little help. Then we would put them together and he would have a word and a big smile would come over his face. I don’t think anyone had ever worked with him like this before. What a shame and what a waste of 11 years!

We had read about half the book when he noticed his older brother getting ready to go play basketball. That was a bigger draw than reading so we were done. Upon leaving he said to me, “Miss Barbara, you are the nicest lady I know.” What a compliment!

I never expected so much enthusiasm or so much demonstrated potential. I feel like those test results are somehow masking the true ability of this child. Where can I find someone to unlock the doors to let Santiago learn to read?

2 Comments:

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4:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet you ARE the nicest person Santiago knows. What a lifetime gift you are giving him!!FL

1:48 PM  

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