Friday, March 05, 2010

An ode to my bookworm

As if it wasn't troubling enough that my 5 year old can more quickly and confidently identify the countries of South America or the faces and places on U.S. coins than I can, I've found myself in the awkward position of wondering if she's reading too well, too soon. And trying to figure out what that means (if anything) long term.

A brief history. My daughter learned to read somewhere between 4 and 4 1/2. Shortly before she was officially 4 1/2 she fluently read me a 28 page book she'd hadn't seen before. It was then that I acknowledged she really was reading--not merely memorizing her favorite books.

Z is 5 now and her reading and writing skills are tremendous. Her Montessori teacher deserves a lot of credit for teaching her to read and continually challenging her, and she's probably inherited some natural verbal ability from me and her father as we're both professional writers. But still.

It is no longer sufficient to lug home a bag of picture books from the library each week. We need to get those picture books plus a bunch of early reader chapter books. Z can devour Crystal the Snow Fairy before she leaves for school and finish a Judy Moody book in the afternoon. Last night, after I'd read her a chapter of A Little House on the Prairie, she flipped her bedside lamp on and plowed through 3 chapter of Charlotte's Web. Then I discovered her reading Roald Dahl's The Twits as she pulled on her socks, put on her coat and rode to school in the back seat of our car.

I'm proud of my daughter (and I love to read as well), but I worry that that she might find content she can read but isn't emotionally mature enough to understand. I feel like my husband and I should be reading along with her, checking her comprehension and asking her to sit back and reflect on what she's read. But really, it's virtually impossible to keep up