Friday, May 15, 2009

You're On Your Way!

My Dearest Daniel,

You are in the first grade this year. Mommy and Daddy are your teachers and we are not two of a kind. Daddy likes to insist that your i's are dotted and the stick on your "a" is just right. If you write "my" like "mi", Daddy will stop you right away and have you correct it.

While you compose, Mommy tends to look more at what you're saying rather than the mechanics of how you say it. I want you to write for communication - for expression. There's plenty of time for mechanics. But first things first. I want you to LOVE to read, and to LOVE to write, and to LOVE to problem solve. Once you love it you'll be interested in knowing how to perfect it. I think children learn best on a need-to-know basis. The teacher's job is to create or facilitate that NEED by tapping into what makes a student tick.

So what floats your boat, Daniel? Animals! And science! Your favorites are amphibians and insects. These days you have little interest in fiction. You're a science-oriented, non-fiction buff.

I'm grateful for Daddy's involvement, Daniel. You need both of us. Daddy will set the academic bar high for you, helping you reach your highest potential. You're getting the best of both worlds by having us take teaching turns.

I am celebrating right now, Daniel! You've come to the point at which you no longer choose books that are the shortest or the easiest. You choose based upon your interests. That's purposeful, Daniel. Reading for a purpose! Reading for knowledge and pleasure! Congratulations!

And for writing time you no longer pick sentences based upon how easy they are to spell. No sirree! You write about what's on your mind! You are a writer! No word is too difficult - no subject too complicated. You just sit down, reflect, and then start composing. Glorious! You attend well to phonics and spelling lessons and I know very soon we'll see it reflected more in your work. Daddy worries about the unconventional spelling and the sloppy penmanship but within the next two years you'll make a believer out of him. A child turned on to learning always soars!

Here is what you can do right now, at seven years and four months old:

Excerpt from journal today. You wrote it after playing with your newly-caught toad:
Tods hav no webb fet. They liv on land. (Toads have no webbed feet. They live on land.)

Here is an excerpt of what you chose to read today, from Animal Babies in Ponds and Rivers:
I have big red eyes, and I make loud, croaking noises that keep other animals awake at night. Who is my mommy? My mommy is a frog, and I am her baby. We sit on water lilies and wait to "zap" insects with our long, sticky tongues.

Congratulations, Daniel! You are on your way! Mommy and Daddy love you!

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