“To read is to fly: It is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience, and the fruits of many inquiries.” –A. C. Grayling
The sun is shining; the birds are chirping. It’s a beautiful morning here in New England. And for two of my three sons a seemingly endless and unstructured summer vacation is right around the corner—in mere hours, in fact.
It is a time—or should be a time—of pure childhood bliss—sticky popsicles, garden hoses, sandy toes, and staying up past our bedtimes.
But just a few days ago we received word that our first-grade son’s reading level is not where it should be—that he is, in fact, a full year behind. The how and the why of this unfortunate situation are complicated—and even rather sad; but suffice it to say, it is a situation that requires our—and most significantly his—immediate action.
A child’s reading level is vital information for a parent; and in this era of continuous assessment, data is always at the ready. Sometimes it is provided, and sometimes you have to ask for it. But knowing at what grade level your child reads is important; and where s/he stands requires your constant vigilance.
Different states and different districts within states have their preferred method or methods of testing, and it is crucial parents acquaint themselves with how their son or daughter is being assessed and what the numbers mean. A year behind may not sound significant; but a year behind today can turn into something much more unwieldy tomorrow.
This summer we will still make sure there is plenty of time for the playground and horseback riding and unadulterated lounging, but my son is now compelled to spend many hours at the computer trying to make up and catch up.
But make up and catch up he will—because childhood is a whole lot more blissful when a child has the confidence borne of being able to read.