First of all, I’m back. Sorry. I got tired. And lazy. But here I am!

This semester, my first graders are really reading. I have a few that are decoding like a dream and have figured it all out and I have a few that know what they should be doing and are about 75% accurate. But they’re mostly reading. I’m excited, they’re excited, and with only 6 days of school left (WHAT?!) they are really starting to think about their readiness for second grade.

One of my little friends has been really struggling with blending. It’s hard for him to put the sounds together correctly and I can see it on his face that he’s frustrated. It breaks my heart, but I’m also excited that he just keeps trying. He’s a trooper in the face of misfortune. First graders are the best at this.

Yesterday, we were reading a decodable reader. When I’m introducing the book, I usually like to have students find words on the page before we read the sentences. It gets them ready when they get to those words on their own, and I can connect what they see in the pictures to the words. I asked the students to find the word “pug.” Then I asked them to find a word on the page that rhymes with “pug.” One student pointed to “ran,”…so… boo. I’ll clearly be working on that some more.

My little friend who struggles with blending, though, found “rug.” He was so excited and announced to the whole group, “I figured out about rhymes now! They have the same letters!” To which I replied, “You’re right. Rhymes have the same sounds at the end of the word. Good job!” Fine. Boring. The boy sitting next to him turned to my non-blender and said, “You’re getting smarter!” with such genuine excitement I thought I might cry. It was so sweet and supportive and better than what I said! Non-blender said, “I’m ready for second grade!” Yup.

It’s great when they find success, but it’s a million times (I measured) more rewarding when they recognize their own successes and realize what they’ve just learned. And it’s a million million times extra rewarding when they love and support one another in their learning. My little imperfect learning community is making me very happy these days!

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