I teach a group of four 4th graders who were reading on a first grade level at the beginning of the year. They have moved into second grade level reading through 3 hours a week of direct instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, and spelling. They have experiences daily with controlled text as well as additional guided reading lessons.

I think these students are so brave. In my classroom, they work so hard at what is hard for them. They make mistakes and they struggle to see the patterns that seem so clear to me. They have become a tight little group and are patient with each other. They know if I’m giving wait time to a friend to respect it. They know the next time it could be their turn to be given time.

Today was a packed lesson full of identifying syllable types in single syllable words, analyzing two-syllable words, listening to vowel sounds, and reading a one-page text applying the word knowledge they have. The 45 minutes went so fast.

Near the end of class, one boy quietly said, “Mrs. M., are we going to get coronavirus?” Then another boy said, “Yeah, they said that we are getting coronavirus because they put bats in the soup.” That took me by surprise. I was taken a bit off-guard, but I assured them that adults would take care of them. Most of all, I was pleased that my room was a safe place for questions about things that matter.

In this time of uncertainty, I’m grateful for the trust in my little classroom with four brave 4th graders.

5 thoughts on “Four 4th Graders

  1. I teach fourth grade also, and I have a couple that are in a similar situation. It is really cool to see how well they do when they are in the comfort of a small group. That is where you truly get to see them shine, and work to their full potential! Good luck the rest of the way!

  2. Wow. That’s a lot to handle from some young ones. You handled it beautifully, and they are lucky they have someone they feel safe enough with to ask.

    I’m also thinking about how hard it was for them to think about syllables and words and reading when what they really wanted was, are we safe? Having you there to answer them must have been reassuring.

  3. Love the dialogue snippets and explanation of your instructional techniques. I teach reading using structured literacy practices, too. That is fantastic progress- in reading and in questioning!

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