sometimes normal is outstanding

I tend to be careful in what I share about my kids as they get older. So I’ve only talked about Catie’s struggles at school superficially here and there.

The short version: she’s a really smart kid, and she does great at math, science, and pretty much any subject that doesn’t involve reading. As far as I can tell, her struggle with reading had nothing to do with any lack of ability on her part, it was that she didn’t want to try. But it was enough of a concern that during the last few months of first grade, she was working with one of the school’s “reading intervention” teachers. And we’ve also had a tutor working with her after school three days a week. (Her tutor was a senior in high school when we found her last spring; she’s now a freshman in college, but she’s still local enough that she can work with Catie in the afternoons. And I’m thankful for that, because Catie loves her and they’ve made really good progress together.)

I knew that Catie had improved in reading significantly in the past few months, but I wasn’t sure how much. I emailed her teacher because if Catie was still struggling this year, I wanted to make sure that she could get in the reading intervention teacher’s group sooner than later, so she wouldn’t fall too far behind.

The school recently gave the literacy evaluation tests that they give at the beginning, middle, and end of every school year.

Catie’s teacher emailed me back that all of Catie’s scores were in the normal range, and there’s no reason to think that she needs to work with the reading intervention teacher at all.

I had to re-read that email a few times.

All. Scores. Normal range.

I knew she had made progress, but dang. Go, Catie! I’m so proud of her, because she’s really worked hard on this and it’s paid off.


And not to keep rehashing how much I didn’t like Catie’s first grade teacher, but I remember toward the of the last school year, Dave and I met with her for a parent-teacher conference. I said that I was worried about Catie starting off second grade behind her peers in reading.

She replied, “Well, she’s going to be behind, nothing you can do about that.”

Thinking of that conversation now, I am overcome with the urge to scream at her. I want to make a copy of Catie’s test score results and show them to her, because Catie has made this much progress NO THANKS TO HER.


I know this entire post basically comes off as me bragging about my kid, but man. I’m just so stinking proud of her. I know it’s really hard for her to break out of her comfort zone and try something new, because it goes against her cautious nature, but she did it. And I’m overjoyed to see how far she’s come.

Catie drew Spyro from Skylanders (both on a TV screen & the action figure on the portal). #gamer

(She’s a pretty good artist too.)

4 thoughts on “sometimes normal is outstanding

  1. Yay Catie! Her first grade teacher sounds like my high school chemistry teacher, someone I still dream of hunting down to have a loud “discussion” with, mostly that ends up with me displaying all my academic diplomas and telling her she was the pits.

  2. It’s not bragging at all to be super proud of her hard work! Go Catie!!

    Not sure if she likes graphic novels but the boys recently read the Zita the Spacegirl series and it seems right up her alley. Strong female lead and really science-y. They have all 3 at the library.

  3. I had a high school math teacher that I asked for help once. To stay after with me, anything. He said no. He was not there to help me. He told me to ask another teacher. I did. She helped she was cool. When it came time to be signed into a class for next the next year, he didn’t sign me into trigonometry, he said I’d fail in the first two days. So I got signed into “dumb math”. Ten years later I ran into him at a party for a mutual friend. The distaste for him just rose in my throat. But he said something I will never forget. He said “I’m sorry”. He said “you asked me for help and I said no. I will never forget that. After that you made me a better teacher. I hope I didn’t hurt your learning after that”. I told him he didn’t and I got a B (which was true) in my college math. He was relieved.

    You never know what the future holds. But your Catie? She’s tough. And she handle anything thrown her way. She’ll be reading those chapter books so fast it’ll blow your mind.

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