Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Each year on the first day of school, Griffin will hold a piece of paper on which he has written his grade level for the obligatory annual photo! He didn't even have to ask me how to spell 'kindergarten.'  I think it's adorable.  And he put the hyphen in by himself!
Yes, Griffin is now a kindergartener at Escuela Bilingue Pioneer, Lafayette's public dual immersion elementary school.  Kindergarten!  Both his teacher and her aide--who seem wonderful--are native speakers from Mexico.  Thanks to his year of immersion preschool, he is unfazed by spending 90% of the school day in Spanish--it's the 7.5-hour school day that wearies him (understandably).

However, on the third day of school, his teacher pulled me aside to say that he had been acting out--even pushing the other kids!--because he was getting so bored during their literacy period (which is taught in English).  Normally she pairs up the students who already know how to read; they read books together and do worksheets and projects together.

But Griffin, who's already reading easy chapter books like the Magic Treehouse series, is so far advanced that the teacher can't do that this time.  She tried to arrange for him to go to another grade level class for reading, but it doesn't fit their schedule.  Her solution sounds reasonable to me: he will read nonfiction books on his own, then write about what he learned, how it connects to his life, and so forth.  (She's putting together a little book for him with writing prompts and places to draw pictures about what he reads.)  The teacher and the aide will supervise what he is working on.

I hope that he can handle working independently--while he can spend an hour reading by himself during "quiet time," no problem (and then sometimes turns off his timer so he can stay in his room and finish a book), he does not enjoy being forced to answer questions about what he read or being told what he needs to write about.  (Welcome to school, kid.)

But, ultimately, I'm not too concerned.  He loves books, he's learning in Spanish.  (What I am worried about is the possibility of the Spanish supplanting the French--but I'll save that for another post!)

Gwyneth was less excited than the rest of us.


  1. I have been following this blog since before Griffin was born but I never knew that Griffin could read...Did I just miss those posts or did you not write too much about it?

    Can you please share how he learned to read?

    1. Oh! I suppose I never did mention it. I can't seem to keep up with much of anything on this blog any more.

      Griffin's been reading well for a year or so and can write two or three sentences at a time, coherently (with some creative spelling), on his own, for about six months. The reading developed very organically--we didn't explicitly teach him, but of course we have read to him every day of his life, and he played lots of games (board games, card games, iPad games) that reinforced letters and easy reading, and then that was reinforced in preschool.

      In January of this year, halfway through his preschool experience, the teacher had the kids start keeping journal that they would write in when they arrived in the classroom. (The top half of the paper was for an illustration, with lines below it for a description.) It is so amazing and gratifying and inspiring to see him write down his ideas! I'll have to take pictures of some of the journal pages and post them here.

      Thanks for your question! I'd like to write more often and will try harder.

    2. So I guess my next question is what about his French reading? Do you have any plans to teach him to read in French?

      It seems like Kindergarten would be the year to do it, since he is a strong reader in English already, he'll probably pick up Spanish reading in a few weeks at the most once they teach them las silabas.

      Can you please write about how you develop literacy in the minority language.

  2. That is an adorable pic!! Glad the teacher is proactive too.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I was pleased that she realized that Griffin didn't need the "the word 'balloon' begins with B" lessons and that she has ideas of how to keep him engaged and learning.

  3. Hi! Would you please write about cultivating literacy in the 2nd language (French?).

    Now that Griffin is reading in English at a good level (wow, a kindergartener reading 2nd grade chapter books!!!) what are you going to do about his French reading?

    They will probably begin teaching some basic Spanish reading in K and get them reading in 1st, so would this K year not be a good one to get him reading in French?

    Do you still do French school at home? Do you play phonics literacy games or use any programs to teach French reading?