Reading Specialist and Interventionist

I wrapped up my reading interventionist coursework over the winter.  The practicum was done in May.  July rolled around and the B-I-G Praxis test was staring me in the face.  I found out this morning that I passed the exam.  That, along with my endorsement diploma from Concordia University, makes for a special day here in the Cacak household.  I want to share this moment with you for a couple of reasons.  1) I am proud of my hard work, and 2) I hope it inspires you to continue being patient and spending extra time with students who need the extra support.

It's official!  I am a certified reading interventionist and specialist.
If anyone would have told me 25 years ago that I would someday teach tiny humans numerous reading skills that would set them up for a lifetime of success, I probably would have called them a liar...or off their rocker.  It's funny how life takes twists and turns along that way.  It's even funnier when you look back at your own education and discover that path had been formed long before you realized what was taking place.

I started off as a very eager learner.  My mom bought me this super-groovy school desk at a garage sale when I was four years old, and I would sit there for hours drawing, practicing writing my name, writing "I love you" notes to my parents, etc.  I loved writing and reading.  Mom bought me as many books as she could, and I poured over them each and every day.  She provided paper of all types, pens, pencils, crayons, name it...I had it.  Of course, it all came from Dad's office. (Shhhh...don't tell).

Practicing writing my name as a four year old!  So sweet!
Somewhere along the way, a strong hate for reading and writing developed inside of me.  I hated reading as a child.  I mean, I *HATED* reading!  I was highly aware that I was a struggling reader, but there was no help for me at the time.  I went from being a very happy, fun-loving child in early primary grades (kindergarten and first grade)...

A basket as a hat is clearly the mark of a happy kid! a defeated, hopeless older student (second grade through middle school).  I distinctly remember those feelings starting as early as second grade.  I remember being caught cheating on a second grade spelling test.  I also remember how the entire episode felt.  I remember thinking it was the only way I would ever pass that test.  I remember feeling completely dumb for not knowing how to spell the words, no matter how much I practiced at home.  I remember my mother being told, "She just doesn't apply herself!"  I remember getting to the point where I simply didn't apply myself anymore.  Why?  Because it did not matter how hard I tried, the situation only got worse.  Looking back, I see realize my struggles held me back as a learner, and that with support, I could have soared as a student.

During this period of time, I had that look on my face in EVERY picture.
I have been working toward my certification as a reading interventionist for over a year, but I have been actually doing the job of an interventionist (in my own classroom) for much longer than that.  I believe most of us teaching primary grades do.  To some degree, it comes with the territory.  However, I am feeling super proud this morning.  I am not great at a lot of things in my life, but I am a fantastic teacher. 

It always feels good to be rewarded for hard work.  I consider love notes, like the one above, the be the ultimate reward!  However, today's reward of a passing test score and diploma is special, too.  It's not every day that official diplomas come in the mail.  It's not every day that I have to take a two hour exam to prove what I know as an educator.  This feeling of joy and pride will be carried into my classroom with me this school year.  I have a new goal to reward and acknowledge student milestones more this school year with special awards that celebrate where they are in their reading and writing development...simply because it encourages us to keep plugging along. 

Do you use awards or certificates in your classroom?  How to you acknowledge growth for your little learners?  I would love to hear how you honor childhood milestones in the classroom in a developmentally appropriate way.


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