(More Saturday Sayings are a click away.)
From the moment my kids show up on the first day of school, everything about the way I run my classroom, from my actions to my words, simply assumes that they're all experts in smartness and will love it here. You're readers. You're writers. You're mathematicians. Did you know that Mr. Graves only sends me the best kids in the whole school? This is what I preach before I even know them well enough to memorize their names. Thankfully, they believe me. The power of persuasion is a wonderful tool in first grade.
Three days ago though, I came across a non-believer and honestly, it brought me to tears. There's a whole sad behind- the-scenes story that I obviously can't share, but basically after only two days in my classroom (having missed a week of building confidence, routines, and stamina) I heard this student angrily talk about their hate of reading, books, writing, school, and themselves. I found myself thinking, "Wait a minute. This kind of talk isn't even an option in my class." As Donalyn says, it's "not on the table." How does a six-year old even come to the point of thinking such things? How do they know that a complete and all-out refusal to try is a choice a person can even make? I know there's a lot in this little person's life that I can't control, but I pray that what I can do is prove them wrong. The road of life ahead is going to be a long one if I can't.
"Believing they can read is the first step towards children's reading success." Regie Routman, Invitations 29