Reading shouldn’t hurt, but…..

I’ve always LOVED reading. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t. I also knew that I always wanted to teach. When I started teaching, all I wanted was to share my love for reading. In reality, what I saw was that too many children do NOT love to read. They don’t even LIKE it. But I discovered that the REASON that happens is because it is SO difficult for many of them. I spent 14 years in a Title One school WATCHING this failure to read, particularly for the population of students that I served, who were primarily black. It made me ache to watch these children constantly struggle to read. I knew I needed to change that. It was personal for me. I knew the joy of finding escape in the pages of a good book. I wanted these children to know it too. But I struggled to TEACH reading until I began to study the science of reading 6 years after I received my Master of Arts in Teaching. I was already IN the classroom, but I was still finding it difficult to help many of my students. Some picked it up with no problem and I was happy to share the many books that I would often invest in for my students. But there were others who struggled so often that by the end of a school day I would just be in tears because I couldn’t seem to make any headway with them and when I did it just didn’t seem to stick. Then I began to learn about the science of reading. Once I left the classroom, I spent two more years studying the science. I finally began to understand why so MANY of my students struggled. I learned to understand dyslexia and how it presents for many students. I realized that many of those that I had taught may very well have BEEN dyslexic students. But without the knowledge or skills to address their needs, I wasn’t able to help them. I had been groomed in Balanced Literacy. I knew nothing about the science or dyslexia when I first became an educator. Over the last 3 years I have spent time learning about both dyslexia AND the science of reading. My tutoring business allows me plenty of opportunities to use the skills/information that I’ve gained in the last 3 years. I’m no where near done in this journey through the science. But what I know for certain is that what is currently being done in schools across America is SO harmful to many students. I makes them hurt and hate learning. My goal is to change that. I don’t know what my path will be, but I certainly know my purpose as an educator now. I STILL want to share my love for reading. But now I understand that it may take more work for some students. It may take more work from ME in helping them to make the connections that need to be made. Now that I have the skills/understanding that I need to do that, I am better armed for this journey. Reading shouldn’t hurt. There should BE no but.

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