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The lowest reading group


When I was in first grade, they put me in the lowest reading group.

At the time I was oblivious to the fact that I was in the lowest. I didn't think about it because I hadn't realized yet at that time in my life that kids were often divided by ability. So, I found myself in a reading group where we sat on the floor and the teacher flashed an index card at each student in turn, and we'd each have to read the word back. This didn't seem too unusual to me, because by that time I was so used to doing things ridiculously beneath my level that this just seemed like another brick in the wall of ignorance.

And then I noticed a "congratulations" mini-poster on a wall, happily stating that another reading group had finished all the stories in their basal reader. When I noticed that it struck me to wonder why our group didn't even have a book and everyone else's group did. I somehow instinctively knew that being in a reading book was "higher" than having no book, and so I thought they must be smarter or older than I was. But after some pondering, I had some trouble with that.

I didn't think anyone in the class was smarter than me. Even though this was first grade, I was used to being the smartest kid in the class. I'd been able to read since before I was out of diapers, and could write in cursive in kindergarten. In my old class I used to get taken out during reading time to have computers with the fifth graders. I wrote a book and illustrated it (or rather, I drew pictures and told my teacher what to write), and read it to older classes. So...why was it that in THIS class, I was treated as being below average?

Since I couldn't find any evidence that anyone was smarter than me and I didn't figure I'd failed anything, I began to investigate, and posed the question to my mom why I was in a low reading group where we didn't even read.

It turned out that as part of my entrance to first grade, they'd given me a reading placement exam before I started classes. The words they'd given me to read were all marked up with strange phonics "helpers" that were designed to teach kids reading easier; you know, the vowels with lines or cups over them to say whether they were long or short, stuff like that. I'd never had to "learn" to read, I'd just cracked the code as a young child and learned to associate whole words with sounds I knew, attached to meaning. So these letters I'd never seen before stumped me.

As was my way at the time, I couldn't explain what the problem was; I just refused to try to read, and probably cried without trying.

Rather than trying to figure out why I had issues, my teacher's response was to assume I could not read at all.

So, into the lowest reading group with you.

Never mind your previous records and being in the gifted program.

Never mind your ability to read all the directions on all the worksheets and to write legibly--in cursive, no less.

Never mind trying another assessment.

My mom got in there all up in arms as usual, coming across in a "not MY child!" sort of way that automatically puts teachers on the defensive. Even though she was right, her child did NOT belong in any lowest reading group (in fact they probably didn't have a reading group HIGH enough for me in first grade), the teacher clung to her original assessment despite all evidence to the contrary.

I don't remember what happened.

I also remember in another first grade classroom being given a worksheet designed to help us learn left from right. I was a bit shaky on the concept still, but was pretty sure I had it right...after all, the left hand looks like an L.

The worksheet had a monster drawn on it, and directions to color the monster's left or right appendage or feature whatever color. Since it said "color the monster's right arm red," I thought if *I* was the monster, my right arm would actually be the one on the left side of the paper. So I colored accordingly.

My paper was all marked wrong and I was judged to not know my left from my right.

But actually, it was the wording of the question that was wrong. But, of course, being a child who believed authority, I assumed I must be wrong and further confused my ideas of left and right at that point. Because of a jerk teacher.

Once in a K-Mart I saw a big sign that said "stationary" over some decorative writing paper. I was momentarily confused, because I thought "stationary" meant "staying in one place" while "stationery" was the paper. But since it was on a sign, there was no way it could be wrong. I proceeded to miss that question on my spelling test that week, as we were doing homophones.

It was shortly after that I realized that pretty much everyone is wrong and I'm right.



When I entered school they tried to code me as having ADD. This was because I wouldn't sit still and didn't want to do what the other kids were doing. So a test was requested. I was then put in a class with only 3 people. It was an advanced thing. It was actually to cause some of the biggest problems I've had in school. In second grade I was given the book for the sixth grade. By the time [~Pallas Athena~]

I was in fourth, they were having problems trying to find a book in the school that I would be able to use. In fourth grade there was nothing for me. In fifth I was in another school. I was tested (yet again) and spent my time with the older kids. I too spent a lot of time on the computer. In 4th grade, when there were problems with the comp I was called in. Here's where the troubles start. [~Pallas Athena~]

Despite testing out in at being smarter than 99% of the kids tested across the U.S. my biggest problem was being skipped to college reading while all the other children were learning grammar. Spelling errors are sloppy on my part, but grammar I have little control over as I was never taught grammar. Skipping me ahead did nothing but alienate me and cause a cramp in my sentence structure :o) [~Pallas Athena~]

I didn't have the thing with the right and left, but I did have fun with clocks. I decided one day it was a deficit to not understand clocks with hands, so I tossed my digital and taught myself clocks. The problems I have had in school were lousy teachers. I got stuck with a lot of them. They didn't understand children who were smart as the rest of the children that came through were just [~Pallas Athena~]

average children. I can't blame the for not being able to deal with me. Many children are alike. Many children run on the same level. I didn't happen to. I had a mind of my own and demanded to be treated like an adult versus the children of my own age bracket. Needless to say this caused a lot of arguements. :o) Okay... this seriously got a bit too long. You want me to shut up now. :o) [~Pallas Athena~]

My now-10-year-old son has been reading and writing since he was 5. In fact, all of my children, and I as well have written before the traditional age to start. His grades are amazing, and he is extremely creative. Imagine my surprise when I received a note this year in my mail that it was suggested he go to an after-school program to give him some aid in a few of his classes. I immediately

made a call to his teachers and asked why they felt he had a problem in these areas. They replied that his SAT's were questionable. Pigeonholing. Anyway, I allowed him to attend, and thankfully he enjoyed the program. We just called it "enrichment" and giggled to ourselves at the school's methods of testing children to get a hold on their potential. He has even written about the experience in

his own journal... [MissyWalks]

I never had that problem in grade school, it was high school that I had issues with. My grade school and Junior high all ran accelerated programs which I did damn spiffy in, but my high school was a typical inner city sheep machine. My English teacher had us write a 10 pg poetry book. Then told me when I turned it in that I must have plaguerized all of mine because nobody in high school wrote [For Your Life]

poetry like that. That it was too advanced for me to have written it because I looked like a stoner. I had to have 4 other teachers verify for me that I had actually written the damn thing. But that kind of stuff happens if you happen to use more than the average amount of brain cells in public. It's best not to dwell, I guess. Stupid people happen. [For Your Life]

Hmmm maybe I should learn how to spell Plagiarize...... Naahhhhh. [For Your Life]

Dang incompetent educational system... You is a SMART one dangit!! [Freder]

I'm having this problem RIGHT NOW. I'm in 8th grade and am taking Geometry. My problem is that I was never taught percents, ratios or anything because I was bumped into higher math right away. So I'm getting more and more lost, though I keep passing basically. I can't fail because that would mess up any chances for higher education. Damn school system. [katqueen]

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