Hey, cousin. Sorry I'm behind on writing, but just read this article--More than 5,000 Mississippi third-graders could be held back this year for low reading scores. Yeah, my buddies and I are freaking out. It's all we could talk about at lunch yesterday; Fat Joey couldn't even get down his entire juice box, he was so upset.
I've been feeling bad for you down in Florida, and we both remember what happened to Cousin Alice in North Carolina. I just didn't figure it was really going to happen here.
You and I-- we've both been enjoying third grade. It's been the best grade so far-- better time for recess (well, at least back in September before they cancelled recess so we could do more test practice) and I love my teacher. She is so awesome and I just want to see her look at me like she's proud. Kind of like my mom-- I swear, I would walk through fire for that woman and her peanut butter sandwiches. And man-- it is so much fun to learn stuff. Third grade is just the bomb.
You remember my plan. I was just going to not learn to read. Just kind of a goof. True, I want to make Miss Chalkthumper proud, and I want to make my mom proud, and I love it when my dad hugs me and says, "Good job," and it's just so much fun to, like, understand stuff! I could understand stuff extra hard, all day, like a boss.
I was just going to not learn to read. Stand up for myself, stick it to the man, not live in little boxes, not actually try to learn that stuff.
But now they tell me we have to learn to read, or at least learn to pass the reading test, or else we can't go on to fourth grade. Well, hell, that just changes everything!! I wasn't going to try to learn to read, but now that my fourth grade promotion depends on it, I will totally take a different approach to school and like try and stuff (which I so wasn't going to before they threatened me).
I'm sorry I ever made fun of you for living in Florida and having to actually try in third grade. And I'm really sorry about Cousin Alice, who my mom says is just not very bright so they just sit her in a room every day and tell her they expect her to stop being dumb, so stop already. No wonder she sits in the corner and won't talk to anybody at family reunions.
But I guess if they threaten me, I have to learn to read whether I feel like it or not. It's funny-- I always thought that mostly what got me to do things in school was just that it was so much fun and making my teacher and my parents proud made me happy; I might even do a special project just for a pack of gummi bears. But I see now that threats and punishment are what reallymake me want to do my best. I just hope the idea doesn't spread through the whole school. Otherwise in fourth grade they'll probably tell us we have to learn calculus or else they'll beat us. man, school just gets harder and harder.