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Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I know I've been vacant from the blogosphere in ways that aren't typical for me. I haven't responded via email to comments lately. I haven't popped over to visit my favorite blogs in over a week. And all I can say is that I'm kinda consumed with life right now.

Sometimes we all go through selfish (or busy?) periods.

This is one of mine.

(And if that irritates you, ignore me for awhile and instead head over to my friend Lisa's blog. She just met her daughter earlier this week in Changsha, Hunan, China.)

Things really turned around for us yesterday, at least in one specific area, that is. I truly appreciated all of the advice I received from y'all about the Tongginator's reading, especially from experts like Wendy and Marcie, plus several of you mommas who are homeschooling and/or have children who are dealing with similar situations. Oh my lands, I can't thank you enough. All y'alls comments gave me the confidence to approach our school's reading specialist. I wasn't pushing for the Tongginator to be in a higher reading group - at all - I just needed information.

And an accurate assessment.

Well, after several testing opportunities, we got it. And I spoke with the reading specialist, Mr. Bee, yesterday afternoon. He? Is phenomenal. And what else can I say beyond that except that the Tongginator is a really unique child... which explains why both of her teachers arrived at such different results. For the Tongginator, a TON depends on content. And yes, this is true of most every child, especially kindergartners through second graders. However... however... the Tongginator also deals with sensory issues. And Mr. Bee can't yet determine if her challenges are simply age-appropriate (since she is above grade level, so it's not too concerning at the moment) or if her inability to visualize is something that will require therapy to get past (since she has shown ZERO progress in comprehension since last March and has a history of requiring therapy for her sensory issues).

He's going to be working with her, mostly because he finds her "interesting." *grin*

I'm so glad I approached Mr. Bee, for several reasons. First off, I have a tremendous sense of peace now about a topic that's created a knot in my stomach for several months. Secondly, I feel confident that others beside me and the husband are now looking out for our Tongginator. Finally - surprisingly - I developed street cred at the school because I approached Mr. Bee and was open to hearing ANY results. I'm guessing now that most parents don't wish to hear bad news or worse, that their child is "average." I was okay with average. Average is good. Even knowing she might be struggling is okay, too, since at least then we would know what we are up against.

I just wanted to KNOW.

And I wanted her to be challenged without being overwhelmed.

And what she is is a child who reads almost 200 words a minute (a fifth or sixth grade level), but comprehends on about a second grade level when she is required to visualize things unfamiliar to her. If she has knowledge of the subject, things change drastically since she decodes so well... hence the differences in the assessment tests. And hence the differences in her self-selected book choices. They're moving her to chapter books next month, with a very limited selection of choices. Over the next year, they plan to focus on slowing her down (who needs to read 200 words a minute???), building her comprehension and increasing her visualization skills.

And I feel oh, so much better.

Now to just fix the bullying problem...


Aus said...

"And I wanted her to be challanged without being overwhelmed" - boy - you provided the insight into good education in one sentence - nice work! That's the goal after all - isn't it? 'nuff said there!

As for bullying - I really thing sometimes that's harder on the parents / loved ones than it is the victim....I'll stick with my original position - enlist T in the solution - let HER tell YOU what SHE wants YOU to do about it - and that will restore her power back to her and build her selfesteem...it will make HER less of a victim....and that will really turn the problem around a lot - or at least let her know she has a safe haven in the world! (Sometimes kids forget that!)

"Street cred" - interesting choice of words there - one that I don't hear outside of my professional circle much - I'm just sayin'! ;)

hugs - aus and co.

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

glad you are feeling somewhat better TM. Extra prayers for you!


jennifer said...

I've been pretty absent from the blogosphere lately too. Just one of those times. I know you must feel so much relief after your meeting! That is great news!!

Wendy said...

So glad to be of any help. I MISS being hands-on with kids and their reading! Boy, how I wish I could work with your daughter. The kind of approach they are planning on taking with her sounds exactly like the type of work I did with my reading students over the years. GOOD FOR YOU for approaching the reading specialist openly and honestly. In all my years of teaching it is the RARE mom who doesn't push, push, push her six year old, who may be reading at the rate Miss T is but not comprehending at the same grade level (which is SO common), to read advanced text that is just developmentally inappropriate for the child. Like you said, who needs to read 200 wpm if you're not fully able to comprehend what you've read. Just a suggestion: Some good non-fiction independent level texts (with pictures) may help to slow her down and help with the comprehension and visualization. Scholastic has a wonderful series I can steer you towards if you're interested.

Pat your self on the back for being such a wonderful advocate for your daughter.

Laurie said...

SO happy that things went in the direction they needed to go. Good job speaking up! :)

Claudia said...

welcome back!

So glad to hear that you've been able to advocate for the Tongginator like this. I think you're absolutely right that lots of parents don't REALLY want to hear what the assessment is - being truly able to listen to an honest assessment is a huge gift to give your kiddo!

Sorry that all this stress is happening at a time that must be ticking pretty close to referral-dom. It would be nice to be floating along on a cloud of happy when that finally happens... here's hoping!

prechrswife said...

Great job, Mom! And glad to hear that the reading specialist is so willing to work with the Tongginator.

Magi said...

Wonderful news!

AmericanFamily said...

Our M (who was not adopted) was a similarly freaky-good reader in kindergarten. We struggled to figure out how to handle it and ended up accelerating her to 1st grade only for reading.

She had a hard time with the 3rd grade level she was reading, not due to reading but because her fine motor skills and higher order thinking skills were still those of a 5 year old. For example, she was completely unable (or unwilling) to predict what a character would do next. She also had a hard time writing out the long answers she wanted to give (and the 1st graders were capable of writing) because she was just learning to write. The 1st grade teacher she had didn't give a damn about asynchronous development in gifted kids and I really disliked her.

M was very stressed by changing classrooms, which didn't help anything at all. (Particularly after one time when she returned to her own room to find the whole class gone, so she hid in a corner and cried.)

We ended up keeping her in her own classroom in 1st grade, but with a teacher who was willing to work with her to get her other skills up to her reading level. It was a much better solution for M.

I won't lie, it was stressful trying to sort out the issues. I still am not 100% sure we are doing the right thing, but for now she seems to be in a good place.

AmericanFamily said...

One more thing:

Something I really struggled with was allowing M to choose her own books. She always chose books that were many, many DRA levels below her tested level, but she liked the subject matter. (Puppy Place and those stupid Rainbow Fairies still show up all the time.)

I would rather she love reading, so I didn't push her. Eventually, I think she started to understand more and chose harder books (She just finished the 4th Harry Potter and she is in 2nd grade)

You may want to check out the Accelerated Reader book finder: http://www.arbookfind.com/default.aspx It might helpyou find books at her reading level that have subject matter that is easier for her to comprehend.

Myrnie said...

How great to have such wonderful teachers for her!

Beach Mama said...

Sounds like a plan. I think I read somewhere on one of my adoption-Yahoo groups about what you are experiencing with Miss T. The issue has to do with the interruption/replacement of the native language to another language. I don't recall the specifics, so I am absolutely of no help. But the plan for how you are dealing with it sounds right.

Colin and Jill Canada said...

200 words in one minute? THAT is incredible.

And you are a smart Mama. But then again I think I say that in every comment I make on your blog! :)


PS - I absolutely do not expect you to reply to my comments, at all, especially since I know your busy time of year is coming up with family day and adoption related topics. However, we may have lost touch since I changed my email about 3 months ago. Or maybe not. But I do want to keep in touch. So here it is... meaklim (at) primus.ca

Kristi said...

We all go through our times of absence from the land of blogging. I've missed ya, but I'm glad you are back!
And kudos to you for sticking to your guns and finding out about your little one's reading ability!

Janet said...

You, my dear, are a great, plugged-in momma. I love the lengths you go to for your daughter. She couldn't be more loved. Super genius or average, she is so very blessed. And so are you. 'Cause from what I've read, she's a pretty cool kid. :-)

Janet said...

PS- Never worry about not blogging. It's only a part of your life....and your fan club won't leave you. At least, not I....and I am the president. ;-)

Special K said...

I'm glad you've gotten some answers and some peace of mind.

It's okay to live your life and be absent. I never could figure out how you had time to email responses to comments anyway. I never do that. LOL!

The Byrd's Nest said...

I'm so glad you're her Mommy....that's all I have to say:)

Sharie said...

So glad you found the information you needed. I always feel the same way when I ask questions - that people are afraid to tell me anything negative, but I want to know the good, the bad and the ugly.

I sure wish my sister Tammie was there to work with Miss T. I hear she's one of the best reading teachers ever.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about being absent right now. I can relate--I'm still catching up on blogs from my forced hiatus, and I haven't posted much in recent months (I feel a spurt of writing coming on; we'll see if it materializes or not). Just take what space you need to sort things out. And I'm so glad you have someone else in your corner w/T :)

Annie said...

Oh TM!!! I am so glad you have gotten some answers and a way to challenge without overwhelming your precious child! I have missed ya though!!! Want me to come fix the bully problem - I have 3 boys, ya know!!! Heh!

Chinazhoumom said...

I would love to see the list of the books they suggest for her...My daughter reads on an advanced level as well (she is in Kindergarten) - and her comprehension is first grade(like you said normal is good)-reading on about a 4th grade level)...problem the books I find for that "grade" the subject matter does not keep her attention...mind you she loves a good book about the human body - go figure...We are working with graphic organizers after she reads each book...so that she focuses on the details...Anyway, thanks for sharing and I hope the bully stuff sorts out - or hey there are Karate lessons...
Carol in FL

LucisMomma said...

Hugs, TM! So glad you are open to what others say about your DD. Especially when it's someone who has your DD's best interests at heart. So glad you have a Mr. Bee!

We deal with average at my house, I am happy with that.

And you are NOT being selfish at all. So don't let that lie run through your mind.

Debbie said...

I m so very happy to read this and see that you have found an ally. That is so important. And I have no doubt The Tongginator is "interesting"!

Patty O. said...

I am so glad you got some help on this! Good for you for seeking it out and being willing to accept any diagnosis--as long as it is accurate.

The Gang's Momma! said...

I'm facing a similar situation soon - I'm pretty certain that BBE would benefit from some speech therapy time. He's still dropping "g" at the end of "-ing" and his "r" isn't a hard sound at all, he kinda rolls past it with a mumbled "w" kind of thing goin' on. I need to email the teacher and ask her to pay attention over the coming weeks to is so she and I can talk about it and determine what really needs to be done. It's never easy but I'm so fortunate that this teacher is a believer, had LadyBug and is becoming a good friend through all the years we've been there. It's good to hear about your journey and your perspective, as I gear up to talk about it with her and with BBE. . . I love your "I don't even care if she's average" kind of attitude - takes the pressure off of everyone to keep clear-headed about the real goal.

one thankfulmom said...

I love it when I find somebody who understands my unique children and who wants to help. What a relief to be finding some answers.

I understand about being absent from blogging...I miss it when I can't blog, but my days are so full with children who need me "right now."

Have a great weekend.