I went to Bug’s first 1st grade Parent Teacher Conference this morning and I couldn’t be prouder of my boy. He’s doing fantastically! Both his teachers just love having him in class (and they told me they weren’t just saying that!) He makes them smile everyday and his excitement at learning is contagious!
I already knew that Bug is a phenomenal reader, but Mrs. J confirmed that he’s reading well above the typical 1st grade level. He’s actually reading at a 5th grade level (S on the Fountas & Pinnell Test)…and the only reason it’s not higher isn’t because he can’t sound out the words, it’s because he doesn’t understand the unspoken/inferred things and feelings between characters. Our challenge is to find works that will hold his interest and are age appropriate. Mrs. J gave me 2 huge lists of books to try to find something that takes him longer than 5 minutes to tear through (like the library book he brought home last week that was a level 2 early reader that he polished off in 4 minutes flat and correctly answered every question I asked.)
I did find several Beverly Cleary books on the list and we stopped at the library this afternoon and picked up Henry Huggins and Ribsy. He was already eyeballing the other Henry books. Hopefully those will be age appropriate for him and will hold his interest. I also found some of my old non fiction books that I had when I was in college for elementary education and had to write lesson plans. I found some books on the human body and several on mummies/pyramids. He took right to the grossology book (of course!)
Over the summer I read a children’s version of Homer’s Odyssey written by Mary Pope Osborne (the author of the Magic Treehouse series) and last week, we started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and he seems to be really enjoying it. I’ve been reading a chapter to him at bedtime and if I know there is a word he wouldn’t know I take the time to explain it to him and he’s been good about asking questions if there is something he doesn’t understand. I actually really enjoy reading chapter books to him. Picture books are great, but sometimes making him think about what we read the day before is better.
We’ve also noticed that his handwriting and word spacing has improved ten fold since the start of the year. It’s so obvious in his personal journal entries he does each week. Now if we could only get him to enjoy the drawing and coloring portion of the journaling we’d be golden…though he’s never been one to color or draw…it was always like pulling teeth to get him to draw pictures at home…even before he started school.
The only downside is that Mrs. J is concerned that he’s not going to show a lot of growth in the reading department. There’s always room for improvement, but if he doesn’t at least show some growth by the end of the year, the district may complain to the teacher that he didn’t make some improvement. They only look for improvement, not the fact that he’s reading at well above his grade level… We are all going to continue to encourage him with his reading and find things that interest him to keep him going. He’s such a smart cookie that I’d hate to see him plateau out.
He’s also doing really well in his math. I love that Mrs. J doesn’t want the kids competing against one another. I can remember when I was in 1st/2nd grade we had to tear through a page of math facts and see how many we could get correct in a minute. I always felt bad if I didn’t score high. Mrs. J plans to have the kids compete with themselves and challenge them to improve upon their prior day’s score. She gave me a set of flash cards that I have to cut out and a chart for his MOOSE book (Management of Organizational Skills Everyday). I’ll time him and keep track of how many facts he gets correct and chart it. I’m sure we’ll see improvement.
Needless to say, I’m one very proud Mommy! It’s great seeing Bug make such strides in his learning.