This year we are starting off our year with Fish in a Tree. It’s a story of a child with dyslexia struggling to fit in at school and in the world when she is not able to read.
In many respects it’s been a challenging read for my Year 4s – they often struggle to see connections the main character made to gain a deeper understanding of the text.
Yet just as I became despondent about the text my ESOL student, the same one who I was concerned was missing so much of the story due to the lack of language, made a lovely connection to the title of the book. In grade 6, reading is like water to fish you can’t breathe without it. The child then made a rich connection to their own life – and said it’s like the struggle to start at a school where you don’t know the language.
Sometimes we underestimate both the power of our ESOL learners to understand and the beauty of great story.