Baby Steps Grow to Bigger Steps

This morning Josh slides up next to me and slips his reading log in front of me.  I notice it is filled out from the weekend and look up to see his sly little grin that shows he is proud of himself and doesn’t want to admit it. I give him a high five and say, “You rock… awesome job buddy!”  He sidles back to his desk with a bit more bounce than what I usually see.

This afternoon I hear some whispering in the back corner by the classroom library.  Josh and a classmate are sharing the comfy chair.  I peer carefully to see what is up before jumping to conclusions… these two guys in a corner doesn’t always add up to work getting done. I see that Josh is holding a book and actually reading it to his buddy.   This is the first time I have seen Josh read out in the open with a partner. He is a first grade reader in a fifth grade classroom.  I think he is beginning to take tentative steps into being a member of our reading community.

I think back to the day Josh first entered my classroom a few months ago.  During reading workshop I met with him in the classroom library.  I knew he wasn’t a fifth grade reader so I pulled out the M box and started pulling out a variety of texts.  He got red in the face and I could see his shoulders hunch up. He said, “Uh, sometimes Magic Tree House is a little hard for me.” Hmmm… I think.  I pull out the K box and let him try one.  I could tell they weren’t just right but I this point I figured it was best to let him keep them.  I honestly didn’t have any lower books in my library and felt he needed something in his book bin.  He looked embarrassed and I said to him, “Don’t worry about it… It’s my job to worry about it. You just need to give reading your best try”. His shoulders dropped down, his face relaxed and there was a hint of a smile.

Over the last few months, I have done plenty of worrying over this reader.   We have danced the dance around engagement.  He forgets books,… I have doubles.  He loses books… I get new ones.  Lose the reading log… I ‘ve got another.  No time to read… I’ll find you some time.  Josh is the master of evading this work that is SO hard for him.

Today made me think MAYBE something has finally clicked!  He read on his own over a weekend after gaining momentum over last week.  He was willing to share his reading with a peer. Maybe his baby steps are turning into bigger steps. Maybe… Maybe… Maybe…

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2 comments

  1. I love this part: “He looked embarrassed and I said to him, “Don’t worry about it… It’s my job to worry about it. You just need to give reading your best try”. His shoulders dropped down, his face relaxed and there was a hint of a smile.” And the descriptions of Josh are great. This IS progress. He might regress, and he might not achieve what you wish for him, but he feels more comfortable with books, reading, and himself, because he had a teacher who noticed and who cared.

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