Benchmarked: Small Boy, Large Victory


This post from the blog Jodifur will speak to any parent who has ever loved a child with challenges, or taught one or wondered about one. †And it’s not even sad. †That’s why we sought permission to post it here, although its author prefers to remain private.


One of the many problems with Michaelís teacher last year was the fact that Michael was woefully behind in reading. And she never noticed. In fact, around spring break last year I emailed her to tell her how concerned I was about Michaelís reading and her email back to me was basically, ďI hadnít noticed.Ē

You really donít want to know about the yelling that ensued. And the meetings. And phone calls with the principal. And fighting for time with the reading specialist.


This year Michaelís first grade teacher called a meeting with me very early in the school year to express her concerns regarding Michael and reading. Was I aware how behind he was? (AHEM.) This was after we spent a summer with a private reading tutor. But the one thing she said to me, that I never let go, was ďwe will get him there. There is not doubt in my mind, we will get him there.Ē

Yesterday, while I was volunteering in the classroom, Michael took his year end reading test. He made benchmark.

For those of you who never had a kid who struggles, who never held your breath when a report card came, who never went to a conference and heard about how hard things were for your kid, might not know exactly what that means. Michael not only made benchmark, he FLEW through benchmark. She is going to keep testing him to see exactly where he ends up. But I donít really care. Because Michael, Doug, our tutor, and this amazing teacher, we all did this. We all made this happen.

This kid, who years ago, I was told,†would never read, is no longer below grade level. Truth be told, he hasnít been for a really, really long time. And the only thing he wanted, was a trip to his favorite ice cream store. Iím pretty sure I can make that happen.

Iím so stinkiní proud of him. And there is nothing in the world I can do to thank his teacher enough.


Related stories:

Should Kindergartners Be Required To Rate Their Teachers?

The Food Revolution and the Future of Kids With Disabilities

Eighth Grade Science Report Card: Could Do Better

Do you have a story related to a Causes issue that you’d like to share with our community? †Let us know at



Photo from Pepper Express via Creative Commons

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june t.
june t.3 years ago

Imagine what it's like for the kids that don't have anyone who cares....

Kevin Cline
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Gloria W.
Gloria Wandless3 years ago

It took the Navy to turn my son around...teachers, principal, school board said, "he's doing
good enough". After the Navy he went back to the university and graduated 3 years later with a degree in engineering with a 4.0 GPA....and they all said "C's" are good enough. Keep up the good work parents.

John Mansky
John Mansky3 years ago

Way to go!!!

Wendy Johnson

Kudos to Michael and his family. I am glad this little boy has parents who care about him, and can afford to get him the extra help he needs as he grows up. But isn't there anyone else out there who is a little bit shocked at the thought that teachers were predicting this boy's reading future WHEN HE WAS IN PRESCHOOL? Or that the mother was so horrified that his KINDERGARTEN teacher wasn't paying enough attention to his reading? Have we really so lost perspective, that if Baby's not making it through all the Harry Potter books by the time he's 6, we're ready to go Defcon 5 about it? Have some perspective, people. 50 years ago, children weren't even taught to read until First Grade. -- I remember being promoted from Kindergarten to First Grade, halfway through the year, JUST BECAUSE I KNEW HOW TO READ ALREADY. -- Somehow the Republic survived anyway. And apparently, according to other stories in the headlines (, we sent smarter people to Congress back then as well.

Kate G.
Kate G.3 years ago

I am that private tutor, I have 13 kids that I work with and out of those kids there are 5 parents that have their children read out loud to them. I know they are tired, but two hours a week with me is not going to cut it, they have to continue what I do, when I am not there. It truly is the best job I ever had. Read, read, read.

Robin B.
Rob B.3 years ago

Parenting matters. So many can't find the time to see how their children are doing and to contact the teacher(s) for help. They also can't find the time to make meetings, sit with their children and watch them do or struggle with homework so that the teacher can get that feedback. Thanks for being a great parent and advocate for your child.

Sue H.
Sue H.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing this story. Great that Michael got the help needed instead of "I hadn't noticed".