One of the things the students and I share is a love of the end of an hour. That doesn’t mean I dislike my job or any of my students – in fact, the reason break time is so great is that I have those few seconds to chat with the students without our work being the priority. Oh, and there’s the stickers. Choosing the appropriate sticker for the hour can be the highlight for both of us.

I have a set of pirate stickers that was the favorite of one of our students in particular. Braden Konzem is a second-grader from Great Bend, KS, who came to us in September, 2009 for intensive phonemic awareness treatment. Braden and I quickly became “pirate buddies” – we put the treasure chest sticker inside his flashcard box and decorated the outside with pirate ships, cannons and “Beware of Pirates” stickers as booby traps in case anyone came searching for the treasure. Braden made excellent progress, but I admit, I was pretty sad to see him go.

Last week, ALP got a call from Braden’s mom. She has been thrilled with Braden’s progress since he left. Whereas before he came to ALP, he consistently failed spelling tests, he has earned a 100% on every one since his return to school. She also said he is interacting with his peers with much more confidence.

At his nine-week report, Braden was put on the honor roll, something his mom never thought she would see. She is very happy with how her son is progressing, and so are we.