Sunday, March 15, 2009


We don't ask kids in wheelchairs to get up and walk.
We don't ask kids who are blind to read the board.
Or kids who are deaf to listen.

However, kids with learning disabilities or reading disabilities
should be working at grade level
otherwise we're leaving them behind.

I was tutoring a student on Thursday night who is dyslexic.
She came with her homework--
a test passage on her grade level which was ions too hard.
She's super bright,
but sometimes she sees words on the page
differently than other kids do.

Working on a test passage that is too hard doesn't help her.
Taking the test doesn't help her.
In fact, it's probably taking away time where she could be doing things that might actually help move her forward.

It was agonizing.
Reading the passage,
looking for answers,
sometimes the answers were unclear
(and I am far beyond third grade).

It's bad practice to make kids,
especially kids who are struggling,
do work that is too hard for them.

It doesn't accomplish anything.
In fact, it may hurt.

When she doesn't pass
we will shake our heads and sigh.

Start working to get her ready
for fourth grade instead of
helping her to see.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can only say AMEN to this. Why won't we let children grow and develop as children. If I were raising my children now, I would home school them. And the really scary part is that I know without any doubt that I would be doing a better job.I wish I had this confidence when you were 8 in third grade. I love you!!

8:52 PM  
Blogger George said...

Thanks Em for sharing your frustration with The TEST! It was while I was proctoring The TEST with special ed students, seeing the frustration and the defeat on the faces of those I had to encourage to strive to do their best that I decided it was now time for me to leave this profession; no longer one who teaches but one who administers The TEST! I am hoping that someday soon The TEST takes on a new hue; one that takes into account the innate abilities, the culture, background, and socio-economic status of the test taker's family.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

what more is there to the wisdom of those who know all too well have said it. But thank you...thank you for your words...and for sharing...oh I do hope education changes soon...

10:12 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

good luck this week, sister.
this is one part of teaching that i don't miss. it is just so frustrating.
my math group is very nervous about the msa. and i agree, it just makes everything worse. it certainly doesn't make them feel good about what they DO know.


sending vibes of patience to you and your students. xo

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should send this to Obama and team....he has been know to show an appreciation for poetry and, I think, could still be influenced on testing!

8:25 AM  
Blogger snowsparkle said...

well said! i saw a program about the way kids minds work and it had a segment about how, if they slow the sound of each letter down then dyslexic children can finally hear the difference between similar sounding letters and once they learn those subtle sound differences, the confusion about what letter makes what sound helps them learn to read better. i will have to see if i can find in via google, it was a program hosted by peter coyote. my heart goes out to this student and my hat goes off to you for your compassion and wisdom.

1:09 PM  

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