We told Jono that we intend to have him repeat first grade today. It went something like this:
The M and I sat down on the couch with him and she said
"Jono, guess what? You get to be in Mrs. W's class again next year!"
"Am I being held back?" he says.
I didn't even know he knew what "being held back" meant. But he knew.
The M says, "Well, yes. Your papa and I think that would be best for you, and we always want what's best for you. And Mrs. W is excited because she loves you and is happy that you get to be in her class again next year. You will be her special helper because you will know how her classroom operates and you can help all those new kindergartners coming in next year."
We went on to explain that he was not being forced to repeat because of his grades, but we thought it would be better for him to improve his reading and handwriting before moving on to second grade.
He said, "I really like that idea, and I'm never going to change my mind."
Well. I couldn't ask for more than that.
We went on to do some role-playing with him to help him deal with anyone that might tease him. I think he is confident and prepared. I am relieved it didn't upset him.