Letting Go of Labels and Trusting Reading Identity

My son pours over illustrations and devours graphic novels, especially those with sophisticated potty humor.  Dav Pilkey has mythical status in our house. Garfield comics abound.  Chris Van Dusen’s illustrations merit hours of close study.
Yet despite his love of reading at home, my son did not see himself as a successful reader at school.  During independent reading, he studied the illustrations and rarely focused on the words. By October of first grade, he was labeled as “disengaged” and a “struggling reader.” And although those words were never said directly to him, he felt their weight.  
My son watched his friends read increasingly difficult texts and was aware that he could not read the words with similar success.  His teacher tried to support him. However,  she inevertantly made the all-too-common, label-led decision to focus on what my son was notdoing as a reader. She focused on word solving strategies yet, he rarely applied these strategies to his independent reading.  Over time, my son internalized the message that his interactions with the illustrations were not a strength, they were a distraction.  
In March of first grade, COVID happened.  Overnight, my work as a literacy consultant  disappeared.  And as a mom, my work with my own reader took on a new life.  My husband and I decided to homeschool Charlie through second grade.  I was back in the classroom…or the basement that we now use as a classroom.  
Read Entire Blog on Nerdy Book Club Here

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