This past week we got Ava's report card in the mail. Above average in everything. I have to say I am very proud of her. Especially for her reading. By the end of second grade you are supposed to (in our state anyway) be able to fluently read 90 random words in one minute. Ava read 202. I am not even sure how that is possible!
The funny thing is, is that when she was in kindergarten, the school made a big deal about how she wasn't keeping up with her classmates, and they wanted to put her in extra help on the days she didn't have school. (They went all day, every other day)
We enrolled her in the extra classes, because of course we wanted her to succeed. Then she started bringing home the worksheets that they worked on while in that extra time. The A's on all of her workesheets are the funny ones that are used by computers, so of she tried to make her A's look like the example and then got everything marked wrong. The lower case L's on the sheets only went up about 3/4 of the way, so she copied that and got everything all wrong. I became very frustrated that the school was using worksheets and then marked everything wrong when the kids did it exactly the way the worksheet showed. Needless to say, I stopped sending her and we decided just to work on things at home.
The funny thing during this whole ordeal is that we never noticed at home that she seemed to be struggling in reading. Everytime she read to us she did just fine, perhaps she read a little bit slow, but she was only 5 and 6! Then we learned when she was in first grade that for reading tests they take the kids by themselves into a separate room with a person they don't know and do their test. Ava was taken into a room where the tester was a man. I don't know if that had any role in it or not, but she refused to take the test for him. When we got her score in the mail it just said that she had gotten zero right on her test. I couldn't figure it out. When I went in to talk to the teacher, it was only then that she said Ava had refused to take it completely, not that she had taken it and gotten them all wrong. From that point on, we pretty much ignored everything her teachers said about her reading. She was doing well at home, and we weren't concerned about what her school scores were.
By the end of first grade, her teacher had said that she was slightly above average for her grade level. So imagine my surprise when we got a letter from the district saying that she was being recommended for extra reading classes. I quickly hauled butt back into the school to once again figure out what was going on. Well, it turns out that this extra funding comes from the govt. and that they automatically offer it to any kids who it was offered to the year before even if it is not necessary. I have so many qualms with that I don't even want to go into it. Needless to say, I am quite disappointed with our educational system.
So now at the end of second grade, my girl is the top reader in her class and is doing amazing. We are so proud and never doubted it for a second. I know that I am probably gloating a little bit, but it only reiterates my own personal belief that sometimes we push children too hard too fast when it comes to education, reading specifically. (I do want to take a moment and recognize the fact that teachers work so stinkin hard, and that class sizes and other issues play into scenarios like this, but we did see a lot of ridiculous stuff with her teachers that we felt was just plain silly and sometimes just someone not doing their job.)