Imagine what it must feel like to be in 6th grade and read at a kindergarten level. That would describe one of the newest kids at the shelter where I read. He has special needs, but he has been shoved through the system because no child is to be left behind.
We have a real dilemma in terms of our reading efforts. A couple of weeks ago they sent him to the younger kids’ reading group, where we read very elementary books to the children. He pouted about not being able to be with kids his own age.
Tonight he really wanted to join the older kids’ book club, but there was no way he could have read the book. He was almost in tears.
I would love to be able to teach him how to read, to be on grade level for the first time in his life. But that is an unrealistic desire.
For now the only thing I can think of to do is to go back another evening this week and read the book the older kids read to him and another new girl, who is also a slow reader. I’ll take a snack to make them feel special.
The system has totally failed this young boy. He hasn’t been left behind on paper, but he was left behind a long time ago in actuality. He’s a sweet kid who shouldn’t have to feel so bad about what he isn’t able to do.
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