A Day in My Life, March 26, 2024 — School Days, School Days, Dear Old Golden Rule Days

Mar 26, 2024 | Day in the Life, Education, Life Experiences, Remembrance, Uncategorized | 9 comments

30-day blogging challenge

On Tuesdays I go to an elementary school in my area, via a program called Reading is Fun. I work one-on-one with two students–one in the second grade, one in the third–whose reading skills are lower than their grade level. It’s an inner-city school district, but it’s the same one from which both of my children graduated. Volunteering is one way for me to give back to the school district for educating my children well.

We start in October so that the teachers have a month to identify students in need. Of course, there are more students who need help than volunteers to help them. The program receives donated books through various foundations, volunteers read them with students, and then give books to the students to take home to start building their own libraries.

Today, the second grader with whom I work was tied up in a project. All the kids in the class ask me to take them if he’s not available. “Pick me! Pick me! Ms. Fischer.” Today one of the newest students went into the hallway with me. We read a “Fly Guy” book. This child recently moved back to Schenectady from Atlanta. “My grandma still lives in Atlanta,” he said, “And I still miss her.” It turned out that this child is an absolutely fantastic reader. He didn’t need any help from me, but it was a pleasure to hear him read every word.

Before I went up to the third-grade class to work with my second student, I told the youngster with whom I normally work that I’d see him after vacation (next week). He was still working away on his project. He smiled and waved goodbye.

After slogging up the steps to the third floor, I poked my head into the third-grader’s room. She was in her classroom and came out in the hallway (we always work in the hallway). This student loves books about a character named “Pinkaliscious.” I confess that I am not enamored of those books, but I try to get books for the RIF library to keep her interested in reading. She reads way below a third-grade level, although I have seen an improvement in her skills since we began in October.

This week, I didn’t have a Pinkaliscious book for her. I had a few about Fancy Nancy (a character who’s so sophisticated that she throws in French words or phrases during the course of her books). The student rejected those books. She was, however, interested in a story about Peter Rabbit and Mr. McGregor. It’s based on the Beatrix Potter series but easier to read.

She read the whole thing, start to finish, only having difficulty with pronouncing “McGregor” whenever it appeared in the text.

girl reading book

As I was sitting with her and Peter Rabbit, I noticed a billboard in the hallway, advising students about how to solve problems. One of the suggestions was: “Plan A doesn’t always work, there’s always a Plan B.”

I asked my young student who loves Pinkaliscious if she knew what that meant.

“No,” she replied. “Do you?”

“Indeed I do,” I told her.

“What’s an example?”

I told her how, last night, I had to sing in front of nearly three hundred people, and the two guitar players who had been supposed to accompany me contacted me yesterday morning and said they “couldn’t make it.” We had been rehearsing together for a couple of weeks.

I was at a loss. My name was in the program my guitar playing skills are pretty much non-existent these days, and I had committed to this several months ago.

I told this student that my Plan B was to sing it a cappella, or without any accompaniment. But my Plan B-2 was to try to find someone else to play guitar for me. I got on the phone and called my friend who plays the guitar but lives an hour-and-a-half away. He told me he was planning to come to the event anyway, and he would meet me about half an hour before the show so that we could rehearse. He also admitted that the song was one of his favorites of all time.

The student said, “I never would have thought of that. Maybe my mom would have, but not me.”

My friend met me, we went through the song about five times, and when it was appropriate, we took to the stage. He played, I sang, and Plan B-2 came to the rescue.

Reading school billboards has a way of influencing people of all ages, I’d say.


  1. Pat Garcia

    Hi, Wanda,
    You can say that again. I can’t count the times that I have seen a billboard or an advertisement that has been a pick-me-up for me.
    People tend to give up too easily. We make ourselves old before we really are.
    Have a lovely day.
    Shalom shalom

    • Wanda Fischer

      Hi Pat–Especially kids! I think that school billboard will be a valuable lesson for children as they get older. Maybe some day it will click because some teacher thought to plant that seed in their heads!

      Off to play tennis in a little while!

      Hope you have a wonderful day as well!

  2. Patty Perrin

    Hi, Wanda,

    I love that you read with kids who need extra help. So glad your Plan B-2 worked out so well! It was fun reading about it, and it must have been so relieving and satisfying to have lived it!


    • Wanda Fischer

      Hi Patty–Once I brought the book I learned to read from (Dick and Jane) to these kids. They all told me how boring it was.
      “Oh, Dick, see him jump. Jump, Dick, jump! Here’s Jane. She Jane jump. Jump, Jane, jump.” It was funny to see their reactions. Today’s kids want more excitement than watching Dick and Jane jump. But that’s where so many of us started–with Dick and Jane–and don’t forget Spot, the dog!

  3. Karl Morgan

    An amazing story, Wanda. You have so many talents. It is a true blessing to help those students improve their reading. It wasn’t so long ago that the government started the program Reading is Fundamental. The passage of time has forced our schools to find new ways to encourage reading.

    As I child, I loved to read, especially science fiction. My love for the written word continues.

    All the best.

    • Wanda Fischer

      I loved to read when I was a child, too, Karl. Sometimes it’s hard to think that kids don’t like to read. My imagination was always going wild when I read books. It still does. I just love books. I’m so fortunate to be able to be in RRBC so that I can read everyone’s books and enjoy the imagination of other writer.

  4. john

    I love it, Wanda. Keep doing what you are doing. These students will remember you for it throughout their lives.

    Yesterday, I gave my granddaughter Joy’s book, Pussycat Tales and told her to practice so she can read it to me. Mind you, she’s five years old in Kindergarten. She jumped on my lap and started reading the book to me. She had trouble with a few words, but kept a good pace while pointing to each word as she skimmed across the page. When she finished the first page, I asked her if she understood what she read; Scarlett told me all about the first kitty. I was shocked and then jumped for joy – both in happiness and for the author.

    Today, she sat on the couch for almost an hour, curled up comfortably while reading the book. When I asked her if she liked it, she told me that she did and would give it four stars!

    • Wanda Fischer

      Hi John–I need to get one of those. I have a grandson who will be five in July. I bet he will love it. He lives in Westland, Michigan. Maybe he and Scarlett can become reading buddies!

  5. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Wanda, I love hearing your stories about your kids.

    Keep bringing it.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Buy the Album

Related Posts

A Day in My Life, April 1, 2024 — No April Fool’s Joke Here

Although I'm no longer in the Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) 30-day blog challenge (it ended on March 30), I would like to take a moment to toast the four people who joined me in that challenge--Pat Garcia, Joy Lilley (who both live in Europe), Nonnie Jules (RRBC's...

Buy The Novel