A few days later, a guest in my home asked "Why do you have bobby pins in a bottle coaster?"
Apparently the gift was a bottle coaster. As my favorite beverage is filtered Brita water, I had never heard of such a thing. My guest politely showed me how the object was intended to be used.
After a good laugh about the whole situation, I realized that knowledge gaps can lead to some strange behavior.
Think about students who enter your classroom without the background knowledge to be successful. They might make strange choices or even make inferences that seem "odd." This is likely because they can't put the events in context.
So, sometimes, poor readers are students who haven't had the experiences to understand the stories underlying the words.
As teachers, the most important thing we can do is provide context and background students for teachers before reading. Tell stories, develop ideas, show LOTS of pictures.
Let's keep as many "bottle coasters" out of the powder room as we can this year!