When Hunter started kindergarten severl years ago he didn't know how to read. I wasn't concerned becuase most of the kids in his class couldn't read either. About Christmas break I started to get a bit concerned becuase to me it seemed the majority of his class was reading and he still wasn't. His teacher told me not to fret about it, that he'd eventually catch on and be just fine. I fretted anyways because that's what I do but she was right. Hunter finally caught on and there's been no slowing him down. His summer between kindergaren and 1st grade all he did was read. He started with the series, The Majic Tree House, and read almost all of them that summer. By the time 1st grade started he was beyond the majority of his classmates in the reading level department.
Last year we were at a new school with new criteria. Each kid with their teacher at the beginning of each quarter picks a goal. Seems like it's usually around 20. Hunter than reads books during school and at home and than tests on them; synopsis, vocab, etc. and is given a score. Depending on his score determines the amount of points he earns that go toward his goal. Each book is worth a different amount of points. Last year Hunter wanted to read the Harry Potter series. His 3rd grade teacher talked to me about this. She was concerned that the book was above his comprehension/reading level. Apparently Harry Potter is a 6-7th grade level book not 3rd! Together the three of us decided to let Hunter try. If he didn't score well than we'd know that he needs to pick books closer to his reading level.
It took Hunter over a month to get through the 1st book but he did it. He loved it and he scored a 100% on his test giving him his 20 points needed to meet goal. Yippee! His teacher was impressed and never again questioned him on what books he wanted to read. Well that is until he read and tested on the 2nd book of the Eragon series only scored a 32%. Oops! I believe that series is still a bit ahead of his reading level or the fact he read it in one day may have played a big part too. It made Hunter feel pretty good to learn that he was the teacher's 1st kid ever to read the 1st five books of this series and get a 100% on all the tests. The only reason he hasn't continued on with the series is because we don't own the books and there's not a library near enough to go to during this past summer. Now that the school year has started again he was anxious to check out book #6 from the school's library. He was quite disapointed the 1st week of school to find that it was already checked out. So instead he brought home The Red Pyramid.
New grade, new teacher. School has only been in session for 5 weeks. His goal for this 1st quarter is 23 points. As of last week he only had 4 points towards his goal. However this book is worth 20 points so I wasn't concerned. I bet I get 2-3 emails a week from his teacher about her concerns with Hunter reading this book. She doesn't think his reading level is at a 5-7th grade level and that he won't score well on the test. Really??? He's in 4th. I know he can do it! These emails are telling me where the whole school is at and his class on the percentage of goals reached so far. Hunter was only at 20+% to meet his goal. She told him he could finish the book but that after that he needs to read the MUCH smaller chapter books to ensure he reaches goal. I'm beginning to think she's just worried that Hunter isn't going to reach goal and therefore make her classes score look bad. Hunter finished the book last week and well within the quarter. He scored another 100%. I knew he could do it and so did he! I felt like emailing the teacher with a great big Told Ya!
I was a bit suprised to get another email from her last friday. Despite his AWESOME score she still wants him to read smaller chapter books. Ughh!!! Supposedly she still thinks he can't handle the bigger books and is too young to understand the vocabulary. Yet he got all the vocab question's right on the test! This has bugged me all weekend long. I've talked to her about this already and frankly I don't mind him reading these larger books. I've already read these myself and don't see anything wrong with my 9 year old reading them. And quite frankly I think it's great he's reading bigger books that is more challenging to him. Heaven forbid he be challenged? So today Hunter came home with a much smaller book that his teacher asked him to read. It's supposedly on level, whatever that means!
I've been thinking about this a lot and have decided that we will use this experience as a life lesson. As Hunter grows up he is going to be asked to do things that he doesn't want to do or knows that he can do better at than despite what somebody else thinks. Chances are he will have this happen during scouts, in college, on a mission and in the work place. This is just life. So he and I have decided that he will do what his teacher is asking. At school he will read these smaller chapter books during the assigned reading time and test on them. At home for his assigned 30 minute reading each night and whenever he chooses to read by choice he can read whatever he wants! It is his choice to test on these books he reads at home. After talking about this he got a huge grin on his face and informed me that he still wants to test on these bigger books at school. If he reads a little more at home he can still finish one of these bigger books in the school's quarter. If he scores well on the test he can reach double his goal! To him that would be way cool! I'm glad we have found a happy medium that will work for all of us.