Happy with middle of the pack

For the first time in two years, a parent-teacher conference didn’t make me cry. I am thrilled to hear that Mike is academically slightly below the middle of his class as the youngest student.

In preschool, Mike stood out as the shy kid who couldn’t follow the class material. Now, he finally merges with his classmates.

Mike has a challenge to overcome,  putting together the sounds of letters to read words. Once he overcomes that issue, he will blossom, according to his teacher, Mrs. Warner.

Mike is among 4-5 kids with the same problem and a same number of kids who don’t know their letter sounds. He is getting help twice a week from a reading specialist.

Mrs. Warner said the kids who struggle the most in reading during first grade are those who can’t pick up sight words. Mike has a 91 percent in sight words. So there is hope that Mike may not struggle too much with reading.

Mike has another issue with being impulsive and stubborn. Once he writes down an answer, he refuses to change the answer even if Mrs. Warner hints his answer is wrong. Mike also likes to say “I can’t” too much. He tries on his own when she walks away. Mike will need to outgrown the dependence of his teacher’s help.

I had to ask to a question I will have all school year- “Will Mike need to repeat kindergarten?” Mrs. Warner said she cannot say that for any student now but she will know in May. Her goal is to have all 18 students move onto first grade.

Mrs. Warner, who previously taught first grade for six years, will make her decision whether Mike should move onto first grade based on his reading skills. He will be expected to read books with 2-3 sentences per page by June.

At the end of the year, Mrs. Warner also wants Mike to count from 0 to 100 and recognize those numbers.

So the high counting expectation made me wonder about how much harder math will become. Mike will learn simple addition and subtraction, time by the hour and money by the coins in late spring.

It sounds like Mike will face a lot of academic challenges this year. I’m going to have to stay on top of his homework, grades and teacher to make sure he is given a fair chance to succeed.

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