Jeff is officially finished with elementary school. His reaction?
The whole attitude of his classmates is one of long-suffering slogging through Grade Six. The band class learned how to play “The Final Countdown,” and this kind of became their unofficial theme song.
The “graduation ceremony” was perfect simply because it was only 45 minutes long. A 12 year old gave a speech that lasted 30 seconds (I turned to Brian and said, “That kid’s going places.”). A girl in a white dress sang “Stay With Me,” and I made my best attempt to pretend the song was really about friendship and not sex, while the audience made a fuitile attempt to clap along with its extremely syncopated beat.
Then they played “The Final Countdown” again, and all the kids began to raspberry along. Sixty 6th graders, all raspberrying.
Then Jeff got his . . . diploma? Certificate? Thing?
And he got to hug his teacher and eat cookies.
Jeff has come a long way this year. What I’m really proud of is this:
This is a record of Jeff’s Lexile scores during the 2014-15 school year. Lexlie scores attempt to quantify a student’s reading ability; his score went up 215 points over the school year; essentially two grade levels. He is now reading at a 9th grade level. It was the largest reading-score increase made by any of the students in his school. His teacher was good enough to recognize him for this during the school’s awards assembly the previous week. (His reaction? “Meh.”)
I am so happy I could burst. The kid who had to spend his summers in remedial reading programs is now an advanced reader. A year ago, I still had to bribe him to read with LEGO minifigs, and sit next to him during silent reading time to ensure he didn’t wander off or start daydreaming. Now he regularly reads unattended for 1-2 hours a day. I always suspected that once Jeff became proficient enough, his reading would take off — he’s always been a kid who loves stories. I was right!
So, thank you to all the authors who made the stories that my son loves. Thank you, Mr. Riordan, thank you Ms. Rowling, thank you Mr. Kirby, Mr. Grahame, Ms. Sutcliff. Thank you for being my partners during this rocky reading journey. We did it!