"At the beginning of the year I couldn't read good. I was struggling," said Benjamin Graham. "Now I'm reading along very smoothly."
"We are practicing our reading," said Jamie Graham. "We're trying to set flexible times in the evening so that he can read, preferably not when he's real tired."
Third grader Benjamin Graham and his mom are tackling that TAKS at home. The effort takes commitment.
"I'm afraid that's not his cup of tea," said Jamie Graham. "So he's still an 8 year old who like to play, so reading can be difficult simply because it's not his most favorite thing to do."
On most nights Benjamin has a "can do" attitude. He's offered a wide variety of reading material. He even takes practice TAKS tests.
Jamie is a health worker, but so much time is spent preparing for TAKS she's beginning to sound more like a teacher.
"Some of them do require higher level thinking where there's not a specific answer in the text," said Jamie Graham "But they actually deduct an answer from the material they read. Because, for a lot of the questions all the answers are correct, there's always the most correct answer. And that's probably going to be the most difficult one for them to be able to tackle."
Jamie downplays the consequence for third graders who don't do well on the test. They may not go to the fourth grade. However, it doesn't get past her son or most other third graders. He shares this advice.
"I think they need to be practicing a lot because they surely would have to be held back if they don't do good," said Benjamin Graham. "And you really need to learn how to read because everything is about reading in life."