The year before last, her family moved to the USA from Mexico. She spent most of that year in her silent period. She was taking language in, listening and showing understanding, and learning to read English, but without speaking.
Last year, she hardly spoke at all. When she did, her voice was just a whisper. It wasn’t that she had nothing to say. Sometimes, when we were working in a very small group, reading mentor texts and writing, she had very definite ideas about what she wanted to write. She didn’t find the confidence to speak up in her classroom, though.
This year, she has bloomed. She speaks freely with me and with her classroom teacher. We get to hear her stories of life with a little sister who is learning to walk and talk, and sometimes, bug her big sister! Academically, she is reaching grade level. She asks questions when she doesn’t understand. She raises her hand, eager to take part in class discussion. She can hold her own when working with a partner, even to the point of disagreeing with her partner and defending her position on occasion. Socially, she has made a best friend-and they became such talkers, their desks had to be separated. It was temporary… she soon learned to control her newfound freedom of communication.
She has found her confidence! She’s finding her voice!