Every so often, a newsletter from
hits my inbox with a message that I really needed. This week was one of those times. This week's contributor, Ruth, writes about learning to cook via small victories-learning one simple dish well and then building off of that new strength. Oddly, her first small victory was soup, something that I continue to attempt with great wariness, always doubting my ability to add things in the right order or with the right combination of ingredients. Soup is daunting.
This year, my family and I have decided that we need a new home. Our kids aren't getting smaller, and the house isn't stretching to accommodate us. My family loves to cook,but our current kitchen only allows for one cook and maybe a small sous chef at any given time. As we look at houses, I've come back to our cramped kitchen and realized the amounts of amazing foods that we've created on our tiny sections of counters-measured best in inches, not feet.
But moving is daunting. It's easy to stall out and lose momentum. We're waiting on the handyman, or we ran out of good boxes, or there's no space to store extra furniture so we can stage our place. All these excuses run us aground. And yet...every box that goes to Savers or Bookmans is a small victory. Every shelf that is cleared off is another. The stack of boxes growing in the shed and a friend offering space in her garage...more victories.
We have an adult student who recently recognized his own small victories. Learning to read as an adult is daunting. It's slow. It is easy to run aground. There's so much to do and the expectations and needs of adulthood don't slow down to accommodate you. About 6 months ago, during his annual reassessment, he realized that his reading wasn't going to improve unless he started to practice more on his own. Our staff person started finding books for him to take home and read, one a week. He'd bring them back the next week and discuss
with his tutor what he'd read and where he got stuck and what he had learned. And then he'd get the next one. Small victory...one book done.
Last week his savvy tutor gave him one of the first books that he had started with. He was amazed at how simple it was and recognized how much more complex the texts are that he takes home now. His independent reading has increased 4 levels in 6 months. An accumulation of small victories.
Spring break is over. We're on to the 4th quarter of the school year. The victories have been accumulating, but sometimes it's hard to recognize. If your reader can now sit still through a whole book, it's a victory. If your readers can ask questions while reading or pick out a book on their own or write their own ideas without asking for the spelling of each word...it's time to celebrate!