There are 21 days left of first grade. This means that we have been in school for 158 days!! Wow! My 4th quarter interims went home last week and I will soon begin working on the final report card of first grade. So what happened this week after the interims went home…several requests for conferences came in! What? With 21 days left of school. The biggest concern of many parents is the grades that their children are receiving. Personally, I wish that I did not have to give grades to first graders, but I do. Parents on the other hand love the grades, and expect perfection from their 6 and 7 year olds. When a child is not getting top grade, parents want to know why…. Reading always seems to be the one subject area that parents are looking for a higher grade than what their child takes home.
Every week in my newsletter I ask parents to listen to their child read aloud each and every day. Many parents don’t think that I mean them. I have many reasons for this request:
- The children read aloud to me when we are in small reading groups AND when they sit with me to take a Reading test.
- Young readers, who read exclusively to themselves, develop bad habits and they don’t disappear during a reading test. These bad habits include but are not limited to: the omission of words, or entire sentences, the lack of attention to punctuation, misreading a word and missing the meaning of the sentence, not paying attention to plurals and the list goes on.
- Parents need to hear the story that is being read by their child so that they (the parents) can ask comprehension questions AND ask their child to retell the story using as much detail as possible.
- Retelling MUST be practiced every day in order to develop a better sense of how to do it.
Time after time after time, I hear from parents (even though they are asked to listen to their reader at home) that their child reads on his/her own without an adult nearby. REALLY?? Why?? I can tell who is reading at home with an adult and who is not. Some readers have not made the progress that parents had anticipated because although I read often with their child, I cannot do it alone. Parents, first grade teachers cannot emphasize enough: READ with your child! Every day!
Having a conference at this late date is not going to change your child’s grade. Sorry. Finding out how to have your child reach perfection is also not going to happen. Children are not perfect, neither are we and if anything, the children are losing their steam and may have already reached an academic peak for the year. What I hope that parents get from their conferences this week and next, and from this blog is that they have a responsibility to help their children become better readers. Your child is unable to do it alone; even though to you it may appear that he/she is a good reader. Listen to your child read and then ask questions, I guarantee that you will be surprised at what you hear. Then you may understand how your child gets the grades that he/she earns at school.