Today was a county institute day for the school district I teach in. I attended two sessions; one on learners with intellectual disabilities and autism and the second on reading difficulties and ways teachers can use assessment to inform instruction.
During the reading presentation, my brain was filled with the names of kiddos I teach that still have not yet had that “click” in regards to reading. This school year especially I have been stumped at how to teach these reading concepts effectively and efficiently. Most days I feel like I’m repeating the same thing over and over and it baffles me that my students still look at me like they have no idea what sounds letters make after we’ve practiced for the entire year.
As a special educator, I think it is very easy to get bogged down in what we see all of our students not being able to do. What intervention can I use next? This one must not be working. What are the parents doing with this child at home? How come they can’t remember the a says /a/? What am I doing wrong?
In those low moments (like I’ve had this past week), I have to remind myself I have things to be grateful for. I can read. It was never a big challenge for me. Some of the students in our school building have the same experience. However, there is a population that has not. I have been blessed enough with the opportunity to mold this child’s reading brain. I can teach new skills that will help my kiddos be successful. During the presentation today, our presenter said that once she knows a child can read – no matter what disability they may have – she does not worry as much about them and their future. How true! Witnessing a student read independently for the first time is actually life-changing for me…maybe that is cheesy, but for real! How often does an adult get to see a child meet success in the moment? It is so amazing I get to be part of that.
So I will keep repeating. I will keep teaching. I will keep reading, reading, reading. I can only hope my kiddos keep learning, keep trying, and keep believing that one day they will be a reader.