Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Left Behind

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.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Blogger Angela said...

Why is it an unrealistic idea to teach him to read better? Do you think it takes too much time, or is he never going to learn? I wish you could send him over to me. I love such challenges. He seems to LIKE books. I wish in tenyears he could say, There was this one person who took the time to teach me, now I can read well myself.
Wishful thinking.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

If you want to share the reading with someone, I'd be happy to stop by the shelter and spend some time with the new kids. Just let me know.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Angela -- I'm not yet sure how severe the boy's learning disabilities are. I have a lot of time to devote, but I don't know that much about working with people with disabilities. I set up a session with him for next week, so I should have a better idea after that.

Kristin -- I hope you can come with me next week!

10:59 PM  
Blogger e said...

There are learning disability and reading specialists in your public school system who need to be held accountable for this. There may also be persons in private practice in your area that could provide some guidance for you in terms of tutoring him. He may respond well to one-on-one attention if you choose books and other materials based on his interests.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I had wanted to comment on this because I am a reading specialist. No Child Left Behind was/is a great idea whose theory never manifested into its potential. The flaws began with the panel they assembled to delve into the research. Although the members are qualified and respected there was a bias towards particular studies (i.e. phonics based). And the implementation was screwy. It meant that kids were not promoted, rather than pushed through you could theoretically have a 13 year old in 3rd grade.

Are you able to get any information on his difficulties from his teacher? She may be willing to meet with you and have you come to the class to work with him. If you find out more specifics (ask if it is a processing issue, phonological difificulties, comprehension, fluency, short/long term memory or accuracy - among other things) I can give you some ideas. Being in 6th grade and reading at a kindergarten level is pretty serious. Kindergarten level means he needs strong picture support, simple sight words, patterns, etc. Are you certain about that? Keep me posted. Email me when you have more info. I'd love to help.

11:08 PM  

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