One of my favorite ways to spend my free time (I know, it’s an oxymoron for a kindergarten teacher…) is with my sprouts from last year. From time to time, they invite me to come listen to them read and there is no better way to spend part of my lunch.

Today, Valerie, a dear student from last year, invited me to listen to her read. I walked in, she grabbed her book box and I was a little skeptical. The books in her box looked more like second grade books to me. Valerie is smart, but I wasn’t sure these books were going to work… I wanted her to feel proud about her reading, but this was her show and I was just her audience.

She pulled Sammy the Seal from her box. This is a long book. The first thing she did was flip to the last page…

“Look, it’s sixty-four pages,” she pointed out.

“Can you read the whole thing?” I wondered.

“Oh sure, I read it this morning, here, elbow to elbow and knee to knee,” she instructed me.

We buddy read this way in kindergarten and I was happy to see she either remembered it or was continuing the practice in first grade.

She read Sammy the Seal with more zeal and enthusiasm than I think the author ever intended. I soaked up her every word. I was aghast. She was not just reading, she was more fluent than I could have ever anticipated. I kept giving amazed looks at her first grade teacher.

When Valerie finished, I just looked at her.

“Wow, you have become a wonderful reader!” I exclaimed.

She smiled.

“Who do you read with at home?” I asked.

“Mainly just myself,” she said.

“Well, you keep it up. Keep learning from Mrs. ________ doing your best… remember how smart you are and how being smart can take you anywhere,” I finished.

“I know,” she replied.

“Well, you made my day, thank you so much,” I finished.

I’ve had enough of the smart girls aren’t cool routine I see and I don’t want Valerie falling into that trap. With that I gave her a hug and headed back to my class. She really did make my day.