Friday, September 19, 2008

Zach's Story: The Success (An ounce of effort goes a long way, and a gallon lasts forever)

A few nights ago we went out to play tennis and didn't get to bed until 10:15 pm. My husband declared, "It's too late to read, get to bed!"

The boys brushed their teeth and shuffled off to their room. When I appeared in their doorway to say goodnight, guess what I found?

Wyatt reading White Fang and Garrett reading Crash!

(Secret HOORAY!)

I couldn't resist stretching out on the floor on my stomach and picking up a book myself. When Wyatt finally closed his book I asked him how the story was going.

"White Fang is getting stronger," he said. "And wiser."

(Secret sigh!)

The whole time we were reading Zach was zonked. He had obeyed his father. And I realized as I watched him sleeping that I had not finished telling you his story. I shared with you his reading struggles, but I never shared his successes. So this is Zach's Story Part II: The Success. Not because I want to brag.

Because I'm so proud of him.

And because I want you know there's hope.

And because he's NOT dumb. In fact he's a very critical thinker who as a little boy would ponder deeply important questions, like can Pokemon beat up Satan? and are Santa Claus and Jesus brothers? And yet there has always been this thorn in his side--his reading/writing/spelling.

But I wasn't about to let my son feel dumb because he was a slow reader.

Fourth grade was a turning point, and for two years we worked to help him overcome his self-doubt in his academic abilities by reading to him and pushing him to read.

In 6th grade he won the school science fair, competed in the district science fair competition and the state Math Bowl. At the end of the year he received the Presidential Academic Award, the Top Scholar Award, and the Citizen of the Year award. He won the state History Day competition, 5th place at the National History Day competition, and the History of Baseball award which landed him $500.

It was a gallon of effort, I confess, BUT the payoff is forever. Now he's in 7th grade and he's pulling straight A's in the honors program. He does all of his own homework on his own--researching, writing, developing ideas . . . Last week he asked me to check his current event report. I sat down at the computer and my mouth dropped. He had introducted his sources and used transitions to tie his points together. He had capitalized, quoted, punctuated.

The skills and confidence he has developed will last forever and best of all, he feels smart and capable.

And it all started with reading.

Don't give up!

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