‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Thursday, March 6, 2008


Every once in a while I go to Lucy's school to listen to children read. It is penance for something terribly wrong I did in a previous life. There is no other explanation.

I am pretty well equipped for this because I did once teach - but they were adults and therefore rational, so in truth I am very poorly equipped for this. Granted, I did learn about different learning styles when I taught adults, and that information is serving me well.

I learned that different people learn best in different surroundings. Some people do well if they are installed in a sensory deprivation tank, while others will happily do algorithm thingies in a nightclub. I remember that learning styles are visual, auditory or tactile, which simply means that some people learn by watching you do it, some learn by hearing it done, and others learn by bouncing around the room on a hippity hop while singing BeeGees songs and ignoring you completely.

I had a few of each today.

Sometimes the kids cheat. They look at the page and, because they have read the book before, they say "Tad fell asleep" instead of "Tad had a nap." I help them sound out the words : h-a-d. And then they say "h-a-d. Fell. Asleep."

And I say "you are four years old, child! Focus!" Because obviously they are just not paying attention. I know they are not paying attention because I'm not either. I'm not positive about this but I think sometimes the kids notice a certain "milk, butter, eggs, pick up drycleaning" look on an adult's face and just start saying random words and turning pages while we nod and say "right. good." And I realize I'm not paying attention and I try, I really do try, to do better. So then I listen to someone take 45 minutes trying to sound out "hat" and I have to physically stop my self from flinging my body on the floor.

And then there are the kids who read pretty fluently but give me a workout while they're doing it because as they read they are scooting their chairs around the room and I am having to scurry to stay within earshot. And there are the kids who I am sure are about to wet their pants because they are doing The Dance, except that the dance progresses from simple wiggling to rotating completely in the chair until they are upside down and under the chair. They are agile readers, those kids. Also, their books are wiggling and bouncing and flipping around as they read, so obviously these children are not prone to motion sickness. I have no idea if they are reading the words in the book or not as I am prone to motion sickness and cannot bear to watch.

I made a point of reading with the little boy Lucy seems to like. He is handsome and quiet and good at math and I am afraid I can't condone the match. Lucy is also good at math and I was really hoping for someone who would round out her art and literature side.

Her other friend could not remember that Pat on page one was still pronounced Pat on page two. And page three. And five. And nineteen. When he did finally get through his reading assignment he thanked me, adjusted his safety glasses, buttoned his lab coat and went to check on his bunsen burners to continue his search for a reliable cure for phonics.

1 comment:

thefoodsnob said...

Yeah, well, still haven't got the book, but I know what you mean about flinging myself on the floor.
Patience is NOT a virtue of mine, though I pretend well (especially with other people's kids!)