Thursday, August 30, 2007


Only a week ago this time, Maggie was lamenting that she did not have any homework. Fast forward one week: I enter the door to the after-school care program to pick her up - - she runs to greet me with a hug, then frowns, drops her shoulders and says, "I have more homework." I have explained to her a few times that her teacher said she would have a little homework every night, but so far, that hasn't sunk in.

So far, first grade homework consists of: 1) a sheet of math homework (usually counting and coloring are involved) 2) a sheet of basic reading work, like writing the beginning letter of each picture - - if there is a bird pictured, she writes a "b." 3) memorizing a new Bible verse every night (for those of you who don't know, Maggie goes to a private, religous-based school) 4) reading pages from her primary reader with a parent.

That last one is the crux of the homework dilemma. She enjoys doing the math pages and the reading pages, and so far, she hasn't had any trouble memorizing the Bible verses (and last night's was John 3:16 - - I thought we'd be in for trouble, but she did a great job!) No, the kicker for Maggie is that learning to read just ain't easy. And if it don't come easy, Maggie isn't a big fan of it.

I can't say that I really blame her. The plot line in her stories isn't exactly mesmerizing. Gone are the days of Dick and Jane in the primary reader, though not that they themselves had many fascinating adventures. So far in Maggie's primer, we have met Nan and Ann and Dan and Dad. They do a lot of running, as in, "Ann ran. Nan ran. Ann and Nan ran to Dad." They did introduce a new character to the story, "Adam" in last night's pages. I must admit, I was so glad to see someone new - - hallelujah! He even brought a new verb with him! Adam is apparently more talented than Nan and Ann and the rest, because he not only runs, but he also drums. That's right, Adam runs AND drums. Nan and Ann seem to be fascinated by this, but they unfortunately have a limited vocabulary with which to express themselves, so they simply continue to run while Adam drums. Maybe they will soon learn the word "sit" so they can quit running and take a break already.

In all seriousness though, I really do feel for Maggie as she sits and struggles through the difficulty of learning to read. I actually remember being her age and struggling with that very thing myself. I recall crying and putting up a fight when I couldn't make the words come out right when reading with my mom - - much like Maggie is doing now. She'll get there. . .I know she will. And in the meantime, Chris and I will dutifully listen to her regale us with tales of monosyllabic characters and their repetitive actions as she works on becoming a reader.


Gaye said...

I, myself, loved reading Dick and Jane books. Dick, Jane, Spot, Puff and Sally too....what more can you ask for?!

papadale said...

See Dick, See Jane, See Spot. See Dick and Jane teach Spot to attack the teacher when she assigns homework. Yeah, I really like composition in 2nd grade.