I mentioned before that I have a non-reader. He came to my classroom on the first day of school so quiet and unobtrusive. I have a sense that he just wanted to fade. He was as close as a third grader can come to being invisible.
I was in a place on that first day of school where I saw someone who had become so good at hiding.
I remember on the third week of school, we were taking a district writing test. I am not allowed to read the kids the prompt, and he couldn't read, so he just sat there. I got permission to read it to him. Then I said to him, "It's okay, just do your best and that will be enough. That is all that I expect." He wrote one sentence, but his paper might have been blank.
Yesterday, I gave the kids a prompt that said, "teachers have heard every excuse in the book about not turning in homework, except for the one you are about to write, write Ms. Understood a letter with the craziest, zaniest excuse about why you did not do your homework." He came up to me and showed me his journal, with two paragraphs! "Will you read it for us?" I asked. So he read his crazy, zany excuse. I couldn't have read it because he is not literate enough yet for it to be easily read, but when he read it we all heard him.
I was watching him today interacting with other kids and laughing and smiling. I just thought, "there you are."