By Caroline Seabolt
For the past month, I have been working with a kindergartener named Lynell who, at first, could not recognize his own name. Lynell was incredibly sweet but was distracted and behind from too many absences at school. He also does not sleep at night. Constantly, the teachers in the classroom tell Lynell to “wake up” and to go to bed at a "good" hour. But honestly, how much control does a kindergartener have over when they go to bed? The other day when I was having trouble getting Lynell to focus, he responded that he was sleepy. I asked him what time he went to bed and he muttered “one in the morning.” Unfortunately, I can’t tell whether Lynell is purposely not going to bed or his mother is keeping him up, but either way it is affecting his performance in school. I’ve talked to some other tutors about this issue I’ve been having and they tell me that they encounter the same problem. As DC Reads tutors, we educate parents on how to include literacy in their children’s lives outside of the classroom. But what about getting enough sleep? Do parents know how much sleep their child is supposed to be getting a night? These types of facts are crucial to make sure children get the most out of their classroom experience. I would suggest at our next literacy event, we stress the importance of sleep to parents so children, like Lynell, can finally come to school well rested and ready to learn.