My 7 year old is in 2nd grade. She's been reading above her grade level, and her age since Kindergarten. We have come to realize that she, somehow, beyond anything we had done, chose to be exceptional. She clearly wanted to read, and- per her strong willed personality, she did. The end. That's our Butterfly. That's how amazing she is.
She loves information. Any and ALL information. That's why she reads. That's why she LOVES to read. Her hunger for knowledge drove her to our bookshelf, time and time, and time again.
And then, there's our Happy Girl. She's 5. She's in Kindergarten. She is equally as strong willed. Equally as determined. Equally exceptional. Equally as amazing as her big sister.
She loves to be involved. She wants to do what her big sister is doing. She wants to do what her little sister is doing. She wants to be able to do what she sees anyone else doing.
At the start of the year, our Happy Grl was one group under the top reading group in her class. Her teacher saw how capable she was, and requested to move her up to the top group. This group sped through the Kindergarten reading curriculum and finished it up by the time we reached the half way mark of the school year. By the end of their Kindergarten career, the group has already jumped into the 1st grade reading curriculum.
Happy Girl wants to succeed! She wants to do her best, and be her best, and try her best.... IF (and that's a BIG "IF") it's something that SHE wants to do. She doesn't want to succeed to impress anyone else. She doesn't want to be better for anyone else. It's her own, personal ambition that pushes her to be her best.
We are closing out the school year for 2010/2011. I met with Happy Girl's teacher today, and was astonished to hear her teacher explain where she had been placed on the "DRA Level" chart.
"By the end of the year, our county students are expected to be at a "4" on this chart. The students at this school should be at a "6" due to the nature our curriculum. Happy Girl is at level '20'.
(I scramble pick my jaw up off the floor, and keep my bottom on my seat as she continues to explain the system.)
"Now? 20 is the cap. It's the highest that we are allowed to place her. She may, actually, score higher than that. But we aren't allowed to test further to see exactly where she's at."
Rewind to the middle of the year. I had a similar conversation with Butterfly's teacher. She needed to be at level 20, and she was at level 42. I did a little dance to my mini-van after I heard this news. I did a little jig to my car after I heard the news of Happy Girl's accomplishments today.
I found myself questioning how it is that we have these exceptional readers in our house. I found myself wondering what the KEY to their growth in this specific area stemmed from!?
It's not because I read with them. I did, a little bit, but not much. I had plenty of BOOKS available to them, for them to look at, but we didn't do the "every night before bed story time".
Ya wanna know what I concluded? What I assume is the key? I'll tell ya about it next time.
10 months ago