On Sunday night Ally sits on her bed, holding the old copy of Alice in Wonderland that Grandpa gave her. Though the print is bigger than usual, Ally still can't read it. She feels heavy at the thought of having to go back to school and hopes that her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, will be a friendly grandfatherly type.
For Ally, books are impossible and represent whole worlds that she cannot open. Again, this shows just how much of the world Ally can't experience just because of her dyslexia.
Mr. Daniels turns out to be young, with a dark jacket and a tie with planets on it. Kids surround him, and Ally hears him telling them that they can memorize the planets by remembering, "my very excellent mother just served us nachos." Ally notices that Albert's arms are covered in bruises as he says that he feels bad for Pluto after it was demoted to a dwarf planet. Ally says that Pluto probably doesn't care and secretly wants to ask how Albert got his bruises.
A common symptom of dyslexia is not being able to separate words into individual letters or sounds, which likely makes a mnemonic device like Mr. Daniels is talking about seem even stranger to her. Ally's curiosity about Albert's bruises shows that she is a kind person, but her insecurity keeps her from actively caring for others.
Ally sits down and vows to do better and work harder, even though she knows it won't work. She thinks that if trying to read actually helped, she'd be a genius. Suddenly, she notices Mr. Daniels in front of her with his hand held out. He introduces himself to her, causing Shay, Jessica, and their friends to laugh and say that he must not know about Ally. Mr. Daniels tells Shay that her behavior isn't acceptable, which wipes away her smile. Mr. Daniels turns back to Ally, who quietly introduces herself and wonders what Mrs. Silver told him about her. He calls the class to attention by calling them "fantasticos," but Ally is lost in a mind movie of being tied to train tracks.
By reprimanding Shay immediately, Mr. Daniels shows that he's not willing to put up with her brand of bullying in his classroom. This will, in time, make it safer for students like Ally to try new things without fearing persecution from their classmates. This shows that when it comes to reaching students like Ally, a teacher's first step should be to put a stop to the nasty social structures that make school even more stressful than it already is.