The Investigation Begins | The Secret of the Resistant Readers (Part 1)

by Melissa on March 1, 2010

I remember my car speeding along the road on my way to work, the second week of my first year teaching.

I remember gripping the steering wheel as I confronted the harrowing realization that most of the third graders in my class were resistant readers, there were even some who were not reading at all.

I remember my brow furrowing as I contemplated the situation.

Day six, and there was already a big puzzle to solve. My kids weren’t readers.

Day six.

I already loved them so much, and was determined to help foster a life-long love of learning.

It was a sticky situation, even for a seasoned detective. I was merely a gumshoe, 23 years old, fresh out of grad school. But I was eager to take on my first official case!

A Lonely Road

That weekend, when I had told my family and friends about my situation, I heard:

“Why are you obsessing about this so much?”

“You’re doing a great job!”

“It’s your first year teaching, it will come.”

I found myself feeling a total void where patience usually resided. Despite their responses, I felt a major sense of urgency.

Clued Out

I grew up loving learning. Everything about it.

I was one of those kids who snuck a flashlight under the covers after bedtime, read every chance I got (to this day I still read while I blow dry my hair), and I’ll admit, there was always a part of me that was sad when summer approached. I loved learning. Still do.

Reading had been my friend, growing up, my escape. A way for me to set my moral compass. It served as a form of connection with me and my mom, and my aunts and uncles, who were always talking about books.

A Harrowing Thought

I remember driving to work that day and having visions of my kids trying to navigate through life without this comfort, the love of books, a comfort that had brought me so much solace. It was a possibility that I was unwilling to accept.

I made a pledge to myself that I would solve this puzzle.

At the time, I had no idea how difficult it would be.

If you are teaching, or have children of your own, you might be chuckling right now. Because you have a great insight into how mysterious these puzzles can be.

But I’m willing to bet that there’s also a part of you that has felt this fear and sense of urgency.

And when you shared your concern with friends and family, you might have heard the same messages I did,

I am almost certain that you’ve felt the weight of the responsibility of wanting your kids to experience something you know would bring them great joy. And the fear that it might not happen. That goes with the territory of loving any child deeply.

I knew I didn’t have a choice. I did what any seasoned sleuth would do: I set out to examine the scene of the crime

Takeaway Tip: When your gut tells you that you can unlock the clue to your child’s mystery, and you hear people tell you that your taking it too seriously, always listen to your gut. No one else can understand your sense of urgency like you can, and no one else can understand that you are completely capable of solving the case!

Invitation: Would love to hear your thoughts about a time when you “followed the clues” to discover your child’s mystery. Or about a time when you felt like something was wrong and people tried to talk you out of it.

Melissa is the founder of Tandem Teaching and teaches in the inner-city. She blogs weekly about tips parents can implement to enhance their connection with their children and ways to bring out their children’s inherent gifts. Contact her for a private consulting session.