The small student arrived at the elementary school with his parents who registered him. Larry behaved in an unusual manner, looking up at us and then hastily looking down as though he had offended someone.
His behavior was the same in the fifth grade classroom, which provided fodder for those students who pounced on anyone who was different. To make matters worse, he had difficulty reading. In the cafeteria where I observed so many students day after day, I noticed Larry ate alone. His classmates ignored him during this thirty-minute period, which was probably a relief to the self-conscious child. Meanwhile, we conferred with the counselor: how could we help this student?
A teacher announced: every Friday after school anyone who was interested could come by and learn how to play chess. Many students showed up, some to enjoy the cookies and drinks; others to play chess.
Larry turned up at the door one Friday where the teacher taught chess and entered the classroom reluctantly. The teacher greeted him in a pleasant and warm manner. Larry stayed and paid attention. Surprising his fellow classmates, he learned to play Chess. Very well.
I noticed in the cafeteria now his fellow students said to him, “Larry, sit down to eat with us.” They all sat and conversed in an animated manner.
One day in the cafeteria as they walked in a line a student said to him, “You can’t read.”
Larry looked at him squarely in the face and answered, “And you can’t play chess.”
I realized then Larry was going to be all right.