“Slowly does it every time” said the Tortoise to the Hare in the Aesop’s fable based on the theme of a race between unequal partners. The story has many variants but usually the slow Tortoise wins the race by outsmarting or tricking the stronger or faster opponent. Some attribute the proverbial interpretation to imply that “the more haste, the worse speed.” (“The Tortoise and the Hare,” wikipedia.org/wiki/the_Tortoise_ and_the_Hare. Retrieved Feb. 17, 2014.)
Parents ask the question “Is my child ready to for school?” or “Is my child ready to read?” Perhaps we need to call upon the mysterious detective from the Old Time Radio show, “The Shadow.” The title character was generally depicted as a crime-fighting vigilante with psychic powers who was able to counter life’s challenges and evil circumstance with his sure knowledge of what was going on. Remember, “only the shadow knows...?” (en.wikipedia.org 2/07/2014, Retrieved February 22, 2014, www.wikepedia.org. )
It does take sleuthing and possibly psychic powers as well to discover those readiness characteristics that contribute to a child’s success in school. It is that kind of detective work that well trained educators are entrusted to do. It is not always so easy to determine, however, and sometimes it takes old fashioned common sense to discover the underlying problem.
When my oldest daughter was in first grade, I arrived at the mid year teacher’s conference with great anticipation that I would be hearing about what a bright and capable little girl she was. I was, however, shocked by a luke warm nondescript report from the young teacher. Frustrated by the lack of information and enthusiasm shown by this teacher, I threw out my verbal challenge of “well, you are working with a very intelligent child!” The teacher looked at me with the most blank facial expression possible and then stammered “but, she can’t read.” A very interesting conversation ensued and fortunately for my daughter (and me) we came to understand that she was actually refusing to read because she did not feel comfortable in the social context. A little work on the part of the teacher to connect my daughter with a newly arrived student to build a classroom friendship and my daughter’s behavior changed. At the end of the year, her reading tested at the upper third grade level. I was right, she was very bright and capable. Unfortunately she had not been able to function at her level of ability due to not feeling comfortable in the social situation in the classroom.
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