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held back

I was held back in kindergarten. Sat through it twice. For years, my parents told me that they decided to have me repeat the grade so that I would have a year to grow. You see, I was a tiny kid. In fact, I was a tiny kid until the ninth grade. Smaller than almost everyone else in my grade, even though I was a year older. So this was a very believable explanation for my repetition of kindergarten. Unfortunately, as believable as it was, it was also a lie.

In the early part of 2005, I finally learned the truth. I was sitting at dinner with my family and some friends. The subject came up, as it has been known to do, and someone asked why I was held back. I started talking about being smaller than everyone else and my parents wanting to give me a chance to be the same size as my classmates. I glanced over at my dad, who was looking at me kinda funny. I paused. He just stared at me for a second and said, “No… You couldn’t read.” He went on to explain what happened.

I switched schools after my first attempt at kindergarten. There was a test. Sort of an aptitude thing. I remember sitting in an office and drawing a stick figure. Apparently, the test somehow gauged my reading level. It was not good. The school wouldn’t let me go to first grade. I had to repeat kindergarten there or go somewhere else.

Allow me to clarify. I couldn’t proceed to Grade One because I couldn’t read at a first grade reading level. Know how well you have to read to enter the first grade? I’ll tell you: not at all. I was held back because I couldn’t not read. I didn’t not read as well as everybody else my age. Everybody else who couldn’t read could apparently get much more accomplished in their time spent not reading.

2 Responses to “held back”

  1. # Anonymous anne arkham

    I switched school districts between fourth and fifth grade. The kids in my new school had already been learning fractions. I'd never seen them before. I did well enough on all the other placement tests that they put me in the fifth grade, but math was a huge struggle for me that year. It didn't help that the teacher arranged the seating chart according to the scores everyone got on their last test. Plus, she was a big believer in having kids do problems at the board, etc. It took nearly 20 years for me to get over my fear of math.

    I was the shortest kid in the class, too, 'till 9th grade, when I became one of the tallest.  

  2. # Blogger aimee

    i was always one of the shortest too, but that still hasn't changed  

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