One of the things I do for the last few weeks of the school year is to evaluate the reading of every single French Immersion kid in my school, except for the Kindergartners (most can’t read yet) and the Grade 7s (they’re going to high school next year; I don’t care any more about their reading). In total, I probably listen to about 300 kids read a short story to me, and then I ask them 10 or 15 comprehension questions. I then get a fairly accurate idea whether or not each kid can read words at their appropriate grade level and whether or not they actually understand what they have just read.
It’s a time-consuming process that takes pretty much the entire month of June. But the information gleaned is important for report card writing and also for planning for next year, so I think it’s worth it and I do it.
This year, however, I experienced a first during these reading assessments. No, it wasn’t that a kid couldn’t read at their grade level at all. No, it wasn’t that a kid could read way beyond their grade level. It wasn’t that a kid could read every single word perfectly but not comprehend what happened in the story at all. It wasn’t even that despite being mostly unable to read most of the words, a kid somehow fully understood exactly what was going on.
No, this was nothing like that.
This was a little boy in Grade 1 who sang the entire story to me.
Yes. He sang it.
He was obviously creating the melody as he went along, but he sang me every single word in that story without a hitch. He even had terrific intonation and expression, and he stopped appropriately when there was a period at the end of a sentence (an awful lot of primary-aged kids don’t do this, for some reason).
I have never had this happen before, in probably 20 years of evaluating the reading of young children.
Unfortunately, he didn’t also sing his answers.
I should have taken a point off for that.