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.