I didn’t really know what to do. I couldn’t fathom how to help you. You have written so eloquently in the past that I was shocked by your first effort at a book review. Simple one-liners with poor spelling – that’s not my girl, what’s happening here? I tried to suggest improvements. I was met with coldness, anger, even rudeness.
You’ve had these phases before, and you always come out of them and revert to the helpful, mature and funny girl we love. Sometimes we find the reason and help you out of them. Others we never know their origins, but they pass, we blame it on growth spurts or tiredness. But we have never had a problem with your schoolwork.
It was a blow, I’ll be honest, finding out on Parent’s Evening that you have exhibited this bad attitude at school. “It’s just her creative writing. It’s like she can’t be bothered.” Writer’s block? “Sometimes she just writes about poo.” Oh no! What the hell did you write? It’s brown. It stinks. Is there anything else? For a girl with so many outlets in her life, even a girl with a 4 year old boy in the house, that is really scraping the barrel.
It is our fault – the parents. To Daddy, everything you do is ‘brilliant, amazing, so clever!’ And whilst previous members of my team at work might have considered me a despot, I have adopted the ‘praise sandwich’ with you, never wanting to dent your confidence too much, always wanting to talk rather than stamp it out.
This time I tried helping you with your work, I tried cuddling your reasons out, and eventually I resorted to coercion – no more new books or library trips until you got it together and started writing less crap and more brilliance.
But I have seen the light. Like a good parent I have attended the Literacy workshops at school this week, where I have learned about how children decode language, and I understand what I never knew before – you went too fast. You called yourself a speed-reader and I exulted in your brilliance, but we paid a price for that vanity. I had no idea how to help you with your reading. But I do now. We are starting again.
Next week we will write about how children learn to read, and subsequently write well. We will share the errors we have made, and how we are learning to rectify them. And then we will post that book review, a much improved version, and feel proud again.
Love, hugs, recriminations…… and full-blown support from,