Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's Thursday!

...and you know what that means? The weekly update on how the Monkey isn't living up to his kindergarten potential. This week's note was about his reading level. He scored at a Level 7.

Now, level 7 sounds pretty cool...that's higher than anyone else in his class...that's high enough that he's been pulled out of class and into a special reading group...that's awesome, right? Except that the Level 7 book they sent for him to read (over 2 nights, mind you!) has, maybe, 30 words in the WHOLE STORY. I'm sorry but "The Hungry Kitten" rather pales in comparison to the 10 chapter "Magic Treehouse" books that he's been reading two chapters a night. No wonder he's bored and fidgety.

But, you see, the teacher explained that because the Monkey didn't answer her questions during the assessment, they couldn't score him above a Level 7...because he couldn't ("wouldn't", I say) tell her the characters and what happened first, middle, and last in the book. They have to assume that he lacks comprehension above a Level 7, you see. Not to worry, though! (she said) Comprehension will come!! It's early!

This is, of course, not the case...he understands what he's reading...but proving that with a kid who'd rather do just about anything than be bothered to explain what came first in a story as riveting as "The Hungry Kitten" (who was hungry... and denied food twice --TWICE-- before coming upon a kindly boy who both fed and kept her -- the end) could be challenging. This is the kid who read aloud with extreme verve the parent literature from Kindergarten open house...I can't imagine why "The Hungry Kitten" didn't completely captivate him.

...but I have to be stern and supportive of the school. I have to talk to the Monkey about how not trying means that the teachers think he can't understand the cool books that he'd rather be reading. I have to talk about how tests are tests and you don't get do-overs...and how school is like work and your job is to learn. I have to spend an hour crafting an email to respond to the teacher's comments so that she'll know that we're trying and that it's ok with us if she has to be (gasp!) stern with him every now and then (or every day until he gets it!). I have to badger Monkeydad to help me figure out what else to do because I'm running out of ideas. Oh, and the teacher hasn't responded to the ideas I sent her LAST week so I don't know if she's supportive or not or if she's tried them or if they've made a difference.

And also? She pointed out that the Monkey's shoe comes off sometimes and she was worried that it might be too big. She once found him with it in his hand. I mean...dear god, the horror!! (I think I responded to that issue with something completely full of mom-insight and profundity like "His shoe fits fine. He's just playing with it. Tell him to stop.")

I hate Thursdays.


Spice said...

Okay, that teacher has some issues! Undoubtedly she's dealing with too many kids and is overworked, etc., but I'm sure this isn't the very first time she's had a kid way above grade level in reading.

Various tactics my mom used when this happened with me:

-Talking directly to the principal (yes, you become the 'annoying parent,' but it's effective)

-Demanding one or more of the following (I experienced all of these at some point):

1. A move up a grade for reading - from K through 2nd grade, I did reading and math with the next grade up - in the high reading groups for those grades.

2. My own reading group - when there wasn't higher grade for me to go to (my school was K-3), they were going to make me repeat the book I'd read the year before. My mom demanded that I get my own reading group, and I did. It was lonely, but it delayed in the inevitable book-repeating year until the next year (and yes, rereading a reading book sucked!).

3. Substantial accommodations. In 5th grade, I was way ahead in spelling. My mom talked to my teacher and set up a deal where I could just work through a junior-high spelling book on my own. Since I was a pretty obedient kid, that worked fine.

And now I have to pause to go teach. But I'm annoyed for you!!!

towwas said...

Teacher: His SHOE was in his HANDDDD!!!!!!
Tall L: Uh-huh. Was it his left hand?

grrrbear said...

Wait a minute. You let him put his *shoe* in his *hand*!? Sheesh, you're obviously one of those "progressive" types with all your liberal parenting techniques.

I agree with Spice on the getting into the next grade thing. That's what I did in 1st grade and it was great. Of course, then they closed my k-2 school and switched curriculum so I didn't have to re-read the same books twice.

Truly, it really sucks to have to dumb yourself down to the level of one's classmates. The last thing you want is to make the monkey start to hate reading in kindergarden.

I Blog, You Blog said...

New feedback from the teacher: Since the Monkey doesn't point to every word as he reads it and doesn't perform loudly for the class as he reads, he's not a good reader. Therefore there would be no reason to give him more challenging books. Also, since he can't write his letters legibly, he can't go to a higher reading group because "reading and writing go hand in hand."

Really? Because a kid ALWAYS develops motor skills at the exact same time with his cognitive skills? Interesting.

I'm mad and it's making me snide. Sorry.

Oh...and the shoe was IN his hand...not ON his hand. I didn't raise no heathen child!

J.Bro said...

Where was his glove? WHERE WAS HIS GLOVE?!?!? (On his foot, you say? Phew!)

I'm imagining the teacher wishing all the little children were robots - pull the right levers, oil the right gears, and out pops seven identical recitations.

Scoot said...

I was in the same position as the Monkey in kindergarten. However, I got thrown out twice before my Mom went to school to "suggest" that they move me ahead so I wouldn't try to entertain myself when the school work was boring. They moved me to the next grade in a couple of subjects. I did find school work that was interesting to me...(although that was in college) :-) Don't worry the school system will catch up with the Monkey....eventually.

towwas said...

P.S. The line is not "I hate Thursdays," it's "This must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursday."

(Anyone know the reference? Anyone? Anyone?)

I Blog, You Blog said...

I don't know that anyone's reading back that far, but it sounds rather a lot like a Douglas Adams line...