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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: A Wise Choice for Samuel
By Lisa Harris


Samuel sit down.

Stop fidgeting.

Put your pencil down.

Samuel stop picking at Haley.

Exasperated, Mrs. Nelson put down the chalk and walked over bending down in front of his desk. “Samuel, I know it’s hard to sit still but you must try really hard not to distract the other students.” With a half-smile of encouragement, Elese Nelson sighed as she stood up. Her hands were tied somewhat discussing sensitive issues with his parents, however, knowing Samuel’s parents were Christians helped determine her plan of action.

Turning to face the class, she asked everyone to get out their chapter book and turn to page 49. After a few moans, everyone had turned to the page except Samuel.

“Samuel, why haven’t you pulled out your book?”

“I dunno,” he said with a shrug.

“Get it please,” asked Mrs. Nelson.

Samuel leaned over and retrieved his book showing every emotion that had to do with boredom and lack of caring about reading. He plopped it on his desk and slowly found page 49. Mrs. Nelson continued, “Class today is a pop quiz and I want you to read to page 70 and when you’re done turn this sheet over that Anna is giving out and take the quiz. You have thirty minutes to read and complete the quiz.”

Samuel sat and stared at the words. Each word was torture; he hated reading and didn’t want to do it. But, he knew if he didn’t his parents would ground him when they found out. So, slowly he read, not focusing on what the words were saying but just trying to figure them out.

After skipping a few pages, Samuel took the test. He did not know any of the answers to the questions so Samuel picked up his pencil and wrote whatever came to his mind. Frustration filled his soul and tears clung to his lids. He wrote his name in the top right-hand corner and turned in the pop quiz.

Mrs. Nelson watched with great concern as Samuel struggled. Unable to focus, or sit still he also struggled maintaining friendships because of his annoying ways. But reading was her foremost concern because if he didn’t get reading down in third grade he would be held back.

Turning to her computer, she pulled up her AOL account and sent Samuel’s parents an e-mail requesting a meeting for tomorrow. Hitting the send button, Mrs. Nelson felt a small amount of relief that the first step was in motion. Maggie Townsend noticed an e-mail from Samuel’s teacher and quickly read the request for a meeting. Almost with a sigh of relief, Maggie hoped that somehow an answer could be found for Samuels erratic behavior and learning skills.

Maggie, Samuel’s dad, Parker and Mrs. Nelson prayed before any words were spoken. After much discussion, questions and positive affirmation it was decided that Samuel should get tested for learning disabilities.

On the day of his four hour testing, Samuel was a bit apprehensive.

“Mom, I don’t want to do this.”

“I know sweetheart, but if you will do your absolute best, then we’ll go to Wal-Mart for a small treat,” not caring that she had stooped to bribery.
“Oh, alright, so can I have a new Wii game?”

“I said a treat, not a birthday present,” she scolded; although, if that’s what it takes to get him to have a positive attitude then she’d consider it.

Two weeks later the diagnosis came back. With each area came an in depth discussion on which was the wisest course to take. Going with a more organic food plan and a tighter structure at bedtime we began to feel encouraged. Along with those changes came the matter of focusing and concentrating which medication was highly recommended. Parker being a Pharmacist took over from there discussing all possibilities. Finally, a low dose of ADD medication was agreed upon. So, after much prayer we felt God’s peace and anticipated positive changes.


One month later, Samuel ran from the bus stop all the way home…hollering.

“Samuel, what is it Honey?”

Samuel pulled out his very first “A” on his Math test he also had an “A” on his reading test.

After a high-five and a mother’s hug, Samuel picked up the phone and called his dad.

“Hey Dad, its Samuel, guess what?”

“What, son” he said.

“Dad, I am now a reader, he stated so proudly, “just like the other kids in class.”

“I’m proud of you son,”

“Thanks Dad…me too!”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 04/24/10
What a heart-breaking struggle. I think your story will give hope to some parents. I enjoyed the transformation of Samuel after he received the diagnosis and medication. Nice work!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/27/10
I like this story and can really relate to it. my daughter struggled with reading, it wasn't until 11th grade until my constant pleas for help were heard. She now has her Masters in school counseling. It's amazing what patience and the right methods can do.
Jackie Wilson04/29/10
You gave this a very personal feel, and Samuel's behavior was captured in a true to life way, too. What a heart-warming story!