I was introduced to Christian, a first grader, early in October about six years ago. He was a shy little guy with a look of neglect and he did not respond to my cheerful welcome to SMART.
In the weeks ahead, I tried every approach that had worked so well in the past, but Christian showed little interest in those wonderful books. Progress was slow.
It was early in February when he picked up Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel. There was a spark of interest , and he grew to simply love those stories. We laughed about their amusing adventures, and we talked about what was funny, sad, scary or happy. We played games: “Christian, how many times can you find the word Frog in this story?” “Seven,” cries Christian triumphantly. After we had enjoyed all four books in the series, Christian began to choose other books.
Finally, it was the last day of SMART for the year. Of course, we chose to read a Frog and Toad book. I asked Christian if he had a friend like Frog or Toad,someone to play with, someone to help him, someone he realy liked. He paused for a moment and then answered “yes.” “What’s your friend’s name?” I asked. “It’s you” he said. Holding back tears, I assured him that he was my very dear friend, too. We said our goodbyes hoping we would be reading together again in the fall.
Christian did not return. I hope that wherever he is he still remembers our happy times sharing books. As for me, in my heart we will always be Frog and Toad together.