Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Late September. Five-year-old D sits at my round table, pencil clutched in chubby fingers. "Do you know how to write your name?" I ask.

"Nope, not yet," D says happily. "But I do know how to make circles. Wanna see?" Without waiting for an answer, D sets off on a circle making adventure. He hasn't quite learned to hold a pencil, and his marks are light and barely legible. The circles are decidedly lopsided. Some touch each other and overlap. D, however, is unconcerned. "Hey," he exclaims. "Look. That one looks like a fish."

As the person responsible for overseeing literacy in my building. I should be a little bit concerned. According to state law, in eight short months, D must be able to write not only his first, but also his last name. He must recognize all 26 upper and lowercase letters and know ten sight words. He has to read a book with three lines of text, variations in pattern, and a little dialogue. And right now, D's greatest literary accomplishment is drawing circles that look like fish.

Even so, I find myself more than a little taken with this little guy. He is not concerned that he can't write his name. He can draw circles. And amazingly, some of the circles even turn out looking like fish! There are lots of possibilities out there.

The operative word here appears to be yet. D can't write his name yet. D doesn't know too many letters yet. D can't read books with three lines of text yet. But right now, today, he's learning to hold a pencil. And he can draw circles, albeit a little lopsided. And I know from watching him in the classroom that he can read a little and that he loves books like NO DAVID.

It's all in the yet factor. As his teacher, I just gotta remember to view D in terms of yet.


Patrick A. Allen said...

Carol... it's so try. What ever happened to the developmental stages that our young learners used to travel through on the way to becoming readers and writers? Thanks for sharing the story of D... like so many, he just needs some T.L.C. Time, Love, and Confidence!

Emily Kissner said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing the story. It's so important to take the time to find out what kids can do at this moment.