The struggles of a young student.

Early on as a kid I remember learning that it is very important to develop interests and to be determined and put forth genuine effort. I remember learning from my parents through their patience and dedication. As a young boy growing up I had to work hard when it came to my studies. I struggled with math and reading but I had a built in support system with my mom’s love and patience in sitting with me and making sure I was able to do my homework and with my dad’s encouragement and fatherly advice. I was also lucky I had teachers who really cared and provided me encouragement and support also. As a young student I remember having difficulties with my reading and I was reading at a grade level lower than I should have been age wise. I liked to read but my comprehension was where I had struggled as it was hard for me to relate the facts and describe the story. It seemed I had to read passages several times over and over again before I understood and it took me much longer to finish the questions after the reading exercise. I had to really concentrate hard and literally had to tune out all the noise around me as it seemed I would always be easily distracted. I never got discouraged though and patiently worked through my difficulties. I was always a below average reader but I improved through the years and my teachers were proud of my accomplishments and dedication. They guided me like my parents did and encouraged me and it certainly helped me because I learned to compensate for my comprehension difficulties and really did find an interest in reading.

I remember the scholastic book club in school and how I looked forward to ordering books that interested me. I always loved baseball as a kid and would always look for books about baseball players and I remember ordering a book about Pete Gray an amazing ballplayer who played during the war. He was a hero and a role model and an inspiration. He was very talented and played with a disability as he only had one arm and managed to play the outfield and bat and he was a great player and was loved by all who saw him. He was a fighter and had so much courage. I remember I could not put the book down as I read it cover to cover and learned a lot about Pete as a person and not just a celebrated ball player. He had a talent and the courage to strive to play and succeed though the odds were against him and he proved he was a major league ball player and a special person. I was very inspired reading his story. As a testament to him his glove is proudly displayed at Cooperstown in the hall of fame.

I remember always being encouraged to read and my mother would take my 2 sisters and I to the library in the summer so I would continue my reading and develop interests through reading. It was a special time as I enjoyed our visits to the library and whenever I pay a visit to the local library it brings back those special memories of my childhood and my mother who was so special to us.

When I see my son doing his homework when I am home early and he is having some difficulties I try to explain to him that he needs to stay focused and not get discouraged. I also try to see him attempt the problem and if he still has difficulty I try to help point him in the right direction always trying my best to have him figure it out. He usually does after my persistence. Maria usually sits with him when he does his homework and she always makes sure he completes his daily assignment and helps prepare him for his scheduled tests. I know as a young student it is easy to get discouraged but we try to explain to Matthew that he should welcome his assignments and look at them as helping him in setting a foundation for further learning. I also instill in him that he should always look forward to the opportunity of learning and being challenged as that is essential in growing and maturing and in helping him find where his interests lie.

I always remember my dad would give me very meaningful advice and the phrase he would always say to me which was simple and which would resonate in my mind even to this day and helped me was “Bloom where you are planted.” It really helped me understand and however simple it was it was very true as we should always focus on our strengths and that will help us develop confidence and high self esteem. My parents always gave us well thought out and meaningful advice that I share with my son also.

So all that I learned as a child and as an adult I try to teach to my son and help him in his perspective. He is a child that has his share of difficulties like most kids but he has a support system that is there for him and we always explain to him that having discipline, being responsible, striving to achieve and enjoying himself is what is most important and if he realizes this as a young kid then he will grow and find learning and homework assignments can be fun. This attitude will also help him unlock all his potential which is a priceless gift that should always be sought after. I am very proud of my son as he loves to read and write and his favorite subject is math. His reading is advanced and I am happy that his comprehension is above average but I do see that he also sometimes needs to reread passages like I did and I told him there is nothing wrong with that as that helps him reinforce what he is reading and helps him retain what he is reading which helps in contributing to the learning process.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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