, , , , , , , , , ,

I was in Title 1 reading in first grade. For those of you who do not know what Title 1 is, basically it is a government grant program that provides funds to aid students struggling in certain areas, at risk students. In my grade school (and in many), Title 1 reading students were pulled from their regular class and given individual instruction during certain parts of the day.

My mom says she didn’t even know I was in Title 1 for a few weeks. They never contacted her. She didn’t even know I was struggling. My parents didn’t realize that I needed to be reading at the beginning of first grade. I came home talking about a reading class. My mother thought it didn’t sound like a normal one, and contacted the school. This is how she found out. “We would have been working with you at home if we had known,” she said.

Apparently, I was reading quite below average. Actually, I don’t think I was reading at all. I remember my title one class room. It was very small, but had wonderful circular book racks that you could spin. My teacher and very curly hair I think. We got rewarded with books we could take home and keep once we hit certain milestones. They had books at every level and I remember picking one out with a girl and a horse on it. My teacher tried to dissuade me from taking it because it was way to advanced for me. I took it anyway. I kept it, and in a few years I was able to read it on my own. It was a middle school level book.

I wasn’t dyslexic. I didn’t have a learning disability or any kind of delay. I had been talking since way before a year old. I think for me, it just hadn’t clicked. I didn’t really understand what was required of me for reading. I didn’t know what they wanted me to do. I’m not exactly sure how many weeks I was in Title 1. Maybe my mom remembers. It wasn’t very many though. I would guess 6 – 7 weeks. Then one day my first grade teacher comes to get me and says, “You aren’t in Title 1 anymore. You’ve become a good reader and you get to move into a different reading group.” Actually, I was moved into the highest reading group in the class. A few weeks later it became clear that I needed glasses. Did that have something to do with my previous lack of reading skills? I don’t know.

What I do know, is that I became a voracious reader. My parents did work with me, and we took bi-weekly trips to the library for many years, especially through the summer months. By the time I was in junior high my reading addiction was to the point that I was often grounded from my books. I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I would hide them in the towels and read them in the bathroom.

This is my story of learning. This is an example of success in a 6A public school system. In one elementary school out of several within a city. In a school that served mostly underprivileged and minority students. An example of the system, the teachers, the parents, and the student succeeding together.

Me reading the Smithsonian Magazine on my honeymoon cruise.

Me reading the Smithsonian Magazine on our honeymoon.