Return to previous location               Back to Deanna Table of Contents                              Next Item -->


-----Original Message-----
From: David Boulton []
Sent: Wednesday, January 16, 2002 11:04 PM

Dear (Deanna's teacher),
Thank you so much for responding to my letter. I appreciate you very much. As I said in my apologetic closing, I was being hasty in pouring out impressions. Please be assured that I wasn't meaning to be critical of you. I am not very happy with the institution of education and sometimes I can be more hard edged than I mean to be.
Relative to the 'dots' - I didn't say that you told her she was wrong. She nonetheless took the meaning of those marks as if she was. Its reflective of our communications not your intentions. Her communications with me about what she felt about the meaning of being 'correct'.  I am sure that you are keen to insure that the children don't ever feel harshly judged. Similarly that you don't mean to make them feel wrong. Nonetheless Deanna felt that way. This isn't your doing. This is the totality of her educational experience speaking. The collective effect of all of her teachers and classmates since pre-school and the effect of her mom and I. I don't want you to be defensive - I want you to be aware of what is happening, as I see it.
As you may recall from our early conversations, Deanna had, and to some much lesser degree may still have, a diagnosed auditory memory processing difficulty. She had the misfortune of bouncing through a few preschools, going to 1st grade at Kappa elementary (a very painful kid-dom and a very structured factory) then she went to a Waldorf school - she has gone from phonics to whole word - from rigid structure to a warm free for all. Her processing problem coupled with her varied school experience has made reading a difficult process for her. I have never wanted anyone to push her into this. I have wanted her great verbal dexterity to stretch the envelope of her auditory memory process 'problem' and then let reading come in when she 'wanted it' enough to drive it.  (I don't myself really think of it as a problem - but as a developmental difference relatively unique to her configuration that we just happen to label a 'problem') With her processing, reading meant having to re-decode the same word over and over again even when only separated by a sentance length. It was important to me that she have minimal self-judgment about this. That she wait until her inner assembly of processors were ready and then take on reading.
As you know I am developing a new way for children to learn to read and in some ways that has also contributed to and complicated things for her and you. On the one hand, she knows, as every child should, that her struggle to read is largely the result of the mess of the code. The danger is that knowing this will give her an excuse to not do what she still must do. I am watchful about that. I will be working with her ever more frequently now as she begins to take off. I will keep her in books.
You were right. She had one of those books here. I am cleaning out her library. I bought her a great book tonight and we started it. I had her take a first pass through the book and make a mark under each letter that caused her to stumble and lose flow. We then went back over the book and tracking with each other I vocally cued her to the areas she had trouble disambiguating and she did very well. The book I chose was "A Girl Named Hellen Keller" -  I explained the remarkable story to her. This young girl trapped inside herself alone unable to see, or hear or communicate and how a teacher came along to develop a 'code' with her that allowed her to become one of the most remarkable women in history. I will be looking for similar books for Deanna - books with deeper meanings - stories she can really take to heart as well as understand and books that use a vocabulary that's proximal to her own. I will be glad to supply all of her 'reading' books from now on.
As to your question who is she comparing herself to? Other kids. She definitely feels bad about her lack of progress in reading. Its a social judgment. She says that many other kids have made fun of her about it. That she feels this way is in some ways unfortunate but in others helpful. She has developed an appetite for learning to read that is much more powerful than her shame at not reading. I am going to keep encouraging her to not berate herself, remember the problem is largely the mess of the code, and to know that each child has gifts that develop differently over time. Her delay in reading is just another facet of the gift she is growing within her. Some babies don't walk till their 2 and go on to be dancers. Some say Einstein was late to talk.
What I really mean to do is open a channel between us - preferably by email so a record of it is easy to keep - and that we help each other learn to help Deanna learn. Deanna, like everyone, reflects who she is with when she is with them. I have no doubt that you experience her in ways I don't and that I experience her in ways you don't. I have blind spots - big ones. I invite you at anytime that anything concerns you about how she is doing - to let me know so we can talk about it. If you have a direct email address I would like to have it. If you don't have one but would like one, I will get you one on my account. I promise not to abuse it or inundate you with things to read, but I would like us to keep a channel open other than just the journal.
Thanks again for your care and attention - Deanna is blessed to have you

Return to previous location               Back to Deanna Table of Contents                              Next Item -->

for all children

© 2017 COPYRIGHT All Rights Reserved, Except:

Permission to use, copy, and distribute these materials for not-for-profit educational purposes, without fee and without a signed licensing agreement, is hereby granted, provided that "Implicity" -"  (with a functioning hyperlink when online) be cited as the source and appear in all excerpts, copies, and distributions.  Thank you.