Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
A week later when Ally stays after school, Mr. Daniels says he has news: Ally does have dyslexia, she's very bright, and he needs her help. He says that it'll take time to arrange formal accommodations, and he's currently going to school to get a degree in special education, which would help him help kids like Ally. Mr. Daniels asks if Ally would stay after school and let him help her a few times per week. It'll help him with degree, and Ally can learn to read.
Public schools are legally required to provide accommodations for students like Ally but coming up with those can take time—time that Ally, given her low self-esteem, doesn't have to waste. By offering to help her now, Mr. Daniels shows that he cares about her and wants to make her understand that she's worthy of attention.
Themes
Dyslexia, Intelligence, and Learning Theme Icon
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon
Ally thinks that she'd sleep at school if it'd help and agrees. They shake hands and then Ally asks what "learning differences" are. Mr. Daniels likens it to how there are multiple ways to get somewhere; there are different ways the brain processes things. He says that Ally has trouble learning words with just her eyes, so she's going to learn with other senses. Ally is a visual learner—which is why she's a good artist and good at chess—so they're going to write letters with her whole body. He asks her to cover a metal sheet with shaving cream so that she can write huge letters with her finger. Ally feels hopeful.
Mr. Daniels's habit of shaking hands with students when they make agreements like this shows that, first and foremost, he views his students as people worthy of his respect. He understands that they need to buy in fully when he introduces opportunities like this, as if Ally isn't entirely on board and participating fully, his lessons won't be nearly as effective.
Themes
Teaching, Mentoring, and Trust Theme Icon
Identity and Self-Esteem Theme Icon