Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Reading by Numbers


My son likes calendars.
If you know this already,
skip ahead. He really likes
them and started studying/reading
them in Kindergarten. This means
he can tell you the day of the week
for any given date and is an oracle
on matters such as when Easter or
Rosh Hashanah will be.

This summer someone asked him
what day of the week she was born
on, and when he told her, she said
no-he was one day off because she
was born Easter Sunday. He didn't
get upset, but I checked and he was
right-her family just had a nice myth 
going about their Easter Sunday

He's not the only one, but the ability
is uncommon enough that some think
of it as a savant skill-I do not 
because he studied to attain it and
he uses calculation skills to do it.

But does this number focus help
or hurt his reading? 

Soon after my son read fluently on
his own he began to stop whenever
he reached a date or a day. He wanted
to know the exact date. To keep him
reading we taught him to look at the 
copyright date. We've tried to explain
that fiction does not usually stick to
real dates, but without some aid he
gets stuck on when something 
happened and won't keep reading.

Since he already has more interest
in what page a chapter starts than
what happens in the story, this is
a compromise to at least get him
back to the words. Still, watching
him flip to the front of Frindle
(a good 5th grade book with some
picture support and a story without
too much subtext) to find out
what day Nick's school started
gives me pause.

So far, we have not been able to
harness this interest to history
or send the numbers down 
useful channels. We'll keep 

Children with Asperger's often
have one subject they read
voraciously about. Have
any of you using that interest
to introduce other related 
topics? What about children
who love timetables or bus
schedules or baseball
statistics? How do those
interests translate to reading
in general, for learning or

Hoping you have a good
number of the day (I suggest
six. Or two. Really, they're
all good).

-Spectrum Mom

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