The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

It’s Time to Fly

“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.

About Samantha

Samantha Hines lives with her family in Newport, RI, and is a high school English teacher (twenty-four years and running). In the last several years, she has published in ADDitude and Adoptive Families magazines; and her blog, My Three Sons, was named by Adoptive Families as one of the Top Twenty Adoption Blogs on the internet. She is also the author of "Different Drummer," a blog about her son who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. In September 2012, she began her Ph.D. in Humanities at Salve Regina University. You can follow My Three Sons on Facebook and her blog at

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  • Richard

    There are many challenges along the path of life. But it’s those who handle, tackle and meet those challenges, that are most successful.

    The soul of a parent lies in the heart of a child despite adversity. This too will pass. Have a great summer with the kids….I know you will.


  • Oh Samantha, I know this is so hard! And clearly he will get the help he needs this summer. My son struggled with reading and was clearly behind in kindergarten, and yet in his state he wasn’t far enough behind to quality for help. A move back east put him in special programming in first grade, where he received help for a few years. We also go outside assistance and worked with him at home. Once he hit 3rd grade his teacher couldn’t believe he had ever needed extra help with reading. So you are certainly right, that being behind can have big repercussions — there is lots to hope for! Good luck and I’m sure no matter what it will be a great summer of popsicles and pride over progress!

  • Kathryn Coutcher

    Eloquently stated! To be able to help ones child reach his/her potential, we parents need to be involved. As you stated, we sometimes must ask for the information and seek out additional assistance for our children. In doing so, we also learn.