Driving kids to school is part of my daily routine. Depending on who is in the car– my sullen, half-asleep teens, or my energetic, talkative 1st grader– my drive can be heavy with silence or chaotic with chatter. This morning I was driving both my sons, 13 year-old Nico and 7 year-old Diego.
As we got on the freeway Diego began shouting from the back-seat:
“No right turn.”
“Pasadena.Del Mar. Cali-for-nia Boulevard!”
I looked over at Nico sitting next to me in the front seat. He rolled his eyes, groaned and put his head into his hands as his brother continued to shout out street signs.
I laughed both at Nico’s reaction and Diego’s delight in annoying his older brother.
Feeling encouraged, Diego continued to read aloud:
Then, Diego proclaimed, “I have it! I have the GIFT!”
I thought about where we were almost one year ago exactly. We were struggling with Diego to get him to read. He was struggling with de-coding words in English and Spanish. We had already met with his teacher, principal and a reading specialist (the Student Success Team) and were told that Diego needed reading support. As the remainder of the school year progressed, it became clear to us that Diego needed more time to develop as a reader, and would probably benefit by repeating first grade. Juan and I were concerned and upset, but ultimately we decided to retain him. What a difference a year has made. Diego took a few weeks to get over the disappointment of not moving to 2nd grade with his buddies, but now he has friends in both grades. He has gained confidence in his reading and he even asks to read at night. He is working his way through his first chapter book.
As I listened to him continue to read aloud all the street signs on our way to school I smiled. I was cheered by Diego’s constant chatter from the backseat. Nico was annoyed. I thought to myself, “Yes, Diego, you have the gift.”