Summer of Literacy

Right before the school year ended – and we already knew that Tad wasn’t going to qualify for the extended school year (aka summer school) program, his teacher told me about a summer program at the school that he could do.

Because Tad’s (now former) school is always behind in the No Child Left Behind goals, they have instituted a summer literacy program to keep kids with weaker reading skills in practice during vacation.  They meet once a week, have a combination of volunteer parents and teachers, along with the fabulous Reading with Rover program, and get to read books and do literacy/word work.  Plus they get to check books out of the school library.

I immediately signed Tad up.  He loved the Reading with Rover program this last year (make that yet another thing I will miss about his school when he transfers), and he’s always loved library time.  Yesterday was the first day, and because things were a little crazy, I walked Tad into the library myself.  There were supposed to be volunteers on the curb to take the kids into the building, but they were busy working the kinks out of Day One.

Tad was nervous, even though it was a familiar environment.  I recognized one teacher right off, Miss P., who was the kindergarten teacher of the class that Tad would visit during his kindergarten year.  And she remembered Tad (she’s one of those professional kindergarten teachers), so I knew that he would eventually be okay.  And he briefly got to see Chester, who was the reading/therapy dog who visited his class all last year.  Chester and his “mommy” were there for the first hour (the program is split into two one-hour sessions), but she was pleased to see Tad.  Chester is a beautiful, fluffy golden retriever and Tad was happy to see him.  He remembered all the commands to make Chester sit, shake, and lie down.

But when I tried to leave, Tad began to cry.  “Mama, don’t go, don’t leave me,” he begged, tears brimming in his big brown eyes.

“You will be fine.  I’m just going outside,” I told him as I stepped away.  His face crumpled.  I knew he would calm down once I left, but I still felt bad walking away.

Ane, Rerun and I went grocery shopping at the nearby Safeway, and we were back in plenty of time for Tad.  They had us wait outside for the kids at a pick-up point instead of coming into the building.  When Tad came out, I waved at him.  I knew he was looking for me, because when I started waving, he jumped up and down and called, “Hi, Mama!  I did great!”

He got to check out three books, and since he had turned in his reading chart (which they sent home a couple of days before school ended with a “Reading with Rover” book bag), he’d gotten a prize – a small packet of jelly beans.  Which he immediately wanted to eat.  I convinced him to wait.

I know he enjoyed himself once I left.  He is not the kid that the program was designed to help – there were no other CLC kids there at all.  But I am glad that he has improved enough to participate in a program like this – and that they were willing to take him in.  I am sure that next week, he will be just fine when I drop him off, because now he knows what to expect.

And he LOVES reading to the dogs.

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