When the Student is Ready
by Evelyn Hardesty
My six-year-old has decided she wants to learn to read. I wondered how learning to read would work, however, without anyone teaching her, since there is no reading class for her to attend at Diablo Valley School. I have helped her learn the alphabet, and other students and staff members at school will read with her or listen to her read stories, but the number one person in charge of her learning to read is my daughter herself.
I want to provide an example of her dogged determination to learn how to read. At home, I often have to sit through what I call the extended long play version of The Cat in the Hat, full of stretched-out words like “c-c-cold” or “sh-sh-should.” One night, I was too impatient to sit through it, so I got up midway through the story.
When I came back a little while later, I found my daughter steadfast in her determination to finish working on her reading. She had her pet rat, Emily, on her lap, and was reading out loud to her. I was reminded of the expression, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” What I saw that evening was a young person with enough serious desire to learn that she had become her own teacher. No need for credentialed professionals or even human beings to share in her learning experience!