Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mamma's Little Merit Badge

I think it's dangerous for any parent to turn their kid into a merit badge, as if to say, "look what I did!" But may I brag, for just a wee bit? Abigail has done it. At CTA Liberty there is a hierarchy of "reading" dog tags. After passing tests on books ranging in value from 0.5 for a picture book to, oh, I think reading the final Harry Potter is worth about 32 points, you can start qualifying for cheapie aluminum "AR" dog tags. If you can answer all the test questions correctly, the computer keeps a tally of your "AR" points, and you get to begin your dog tag status seeking among all of the elementary kids. Shallow system, I admit it!

Abigail was eligible to enter the program this year. For little kids, they start them out fairly easy. After earning your first 15 points, the student is given a blue dog tag to wear on a chain every Friday. Then everyone in your class knows that you, um, can read and pass tests up to 15 points. Then . . .
25 points = additional blue tag
50 points = additional blue tag
75 points = additional bronze tag
150 points = additional silver tag
300 points = additional gold tag.

Today she topped the 76 point mark after finishing a quiz for "Hank the Cowdog" mystery novel, thus qualifying her for the bronze dog tag for Advanced Reading. So, that's 3 blue dog tags, and a bronze for passing tests on books she's read. Awesome in it's own right, however . . .

Okay, praise of men, and all that, but it's really quite remarkable because . . . no 1st grader has ever done it. Actually, she broke a record being the first 1st grader to get 3 dog tags at all, but the 75 point bronze tag is just the frosting on the cake. I'm so proud of her! I didn't read the books for her, I didn't take the tests, I had precious little to do with her ability to read, but it doesn't make the achievement any less sweet for me. She did it!

Will anyone give a darn? Oh, I'd say not. There is no prize beyond the cheap aluminum tag; no money, no parade, and no guarantee for college acceptance. Abigail said that the other kids got to oogle her tag, but not much beyond that. Okey dokey, but still. It is quite satisfying, as a parent, to see your kid succeed.

Lest mommy be puffed up with pride, though, there was a pin to pop the perfection. Right on the heels of this groundbreaking announcement was paperwork that said she needed additional drilling in her math skills because she couldn't complete all the math problems correctly in 6 minutes. So. So the pride was in check right away.

But still . . . no one has ever done it! Hooray Abigail, your mama is so so proud! Now go get a pencil so we can start reviewing subtraction and sums . . .


Reggs said...

YAAHHH!!! I love love LOVE bragging about my nieces. And puh-leeeeze, you NEVER brag! Brag away, big sister. Mom always told me that good spellers are people who read a lot of books! And reading books is a great way to learn about the world. I wasn't great at math, either. That is why I had to get by on sex appeal.

Meredith said...

I have always marveled at her reading skill! That is cool! Lindsay, on the other hand, is excelling in math and decently reading. She has taken ONE A/R test! It is not her thing yet, I guess. But she wants to enter a Math Competition from a flyer that came home last week!

Lisa said...

Way to go Abigail!!!! WOO HOO!! That is awesome that your school makes such a big deal out of the AR program At our school, yourn ame gets put on a bulletin board when you reach 50 and 100 points. Whoopee. Our dog tags are given out for minutes read in a month. And personally, I think she should be able to wear that thing every day if she wants to! C'mon! She earned it! We're proud of you, Abigail!