Goodbye Cupcake Days, Hello Big World
I've been hearing a lot of the same from parents about the challenges of watching their little ones leave elementary school to enter a much more challenging environment in middle school. Parents notice the change immediately. It's as if once the kids entered the 6th grade everything and I mean everything changed drastically. Gone are the pizza party birthdays, the bake sales, and the ballroom dancing assemblies that made us laugh and cry in elementary school. No one tells parents that once the little ones graduate from 5th grade that they are forced to become, well, more sophisticated and more grown up. It's bittersweet really. We know they aren't completely ready but we have to let them go into that new world and be who they have to be. Just like we did when they were toddlers for the first time playing at the park. We had to let them go, at least a little to help them discover what they were capable of doing on their own. No matter how much it hurts us, no matter how much it scares us, we have to let them go.
As a mom, with a son now entering 7th grade, I know all too well the anxiety of that new middle school challenge. Believe me, it IS a new world. One of things I hear frequently from parents is they feel their kids aren't prepared for the 6th grade ELA test. Why? Well, we went from reading 25 fun books in a year (that parents and child picked out) to now reading assigned books that are now much more literary in nature and not so Wimpy Kiddish. Reading and writing suddenly became serious business. And maybe this isn't everyone's experience. But I can tell you that in NYC, that's all I hear from parents. They need help and their children need newer strategies to improve their Reading Comprehension and Writing.
I guess you can say my son is lucky. He has reaped the rewards of his mom being a professional published writer. I know how hard writing can be. I know how hard it is to read something so boring it's putting you to sleep. I also know how to work around that. I was able to work with my son on creative strategies to help him become a much better READER AND WRITER. I taught him to become a thinking reader. Someone who thinks and visualizes as they read. This is what I teach all my students. I want them to see a movie in their head using their imagination. Kids get bored with reading because they don't know what they're supposed to do while their reading. The words become a task. They become robots just reading what they are expected to read and then writing summaries that reflect their boredom and frustration. They write brief sentences about obvious details when they should be giving us a more in-depth analysis.
I can help your son or daughter see the movie in their head. I can help them become more creative, more efficient readers. They will remember what they have read and most importantly they will be able to communicate what they have read.
I enjoy working with 5th-8th graders and I've been very successful with this group. I understand their challenges, their needs, and their quirks. As a writer, I'm young at heart and I speak their language which makes them feel comfortable and willing to try new strategies.
Reading and writing shouldn't make kids anxious, it should be an adventure kids want to engage in over and over again.