Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Try, Try Again - Romeo and Juliet and Big Nate

This morning my youngest asked me to turn off the radio news so he could read.
     He's a factual, fact-checking boy and for years has brought home books about sharks, dinosaurs, and people doing terrifying things to get into books about people doing terrifying things.
This morning he was reading Big Nate. A book with a
story. Well, a story and lots of cartoons.
     This isn't his first time with Big Nate. I introduced those
books to him back in first grade. And we listened
to a Big Nate audiobook, and read some of a Big Nate
cartoon book together.
Now, in third grade, he's reading this on his own.
     This pattern of introduction/reintroduction/acceptance 
holds true for a lot of kids. Partly it's because parents and schools 
increasingly push kids a bit too fast - they have to pass that
standardized test right now! In Kindergarten! (I wish I were
     Part of it is oh so usual. Just as pediatricians
advise exposing kids to a wide variety of foods so that eventually
they start eating something other than PB&J, so exposing them
to a wide variety of written materials gives them the chance
to sample, reject, and eventually read new texts.
     As with foods, the process may take longer with kids on the
spectrum, and some may not proceed visibly for years. Currently
a friend's boy wants PB&J every day, which actually seems 
easy and usual in comparison to some food routines, but which
can still wear on a parent trying to help their kid experience the
whole world of food.
     My fourteen year old boy still wants verse and picture books 
every day, and Romeo and Juliet is not what he has in mind. 
     We used the winter break to go through the play, 
read R and J picture books (there are a lot), watch two movie versions, and answer questions on it - but back at school it's as
if he never read a line.
     Enter the graphic novel. I wish I could say it's made a huge
difference, but there's no discernible difference when I ask him 
     Still, I think he's reading it. I've found it on the floor (when permitted, he reads with his whole body).
     And, like the little miracle in the back seat of the car, that
will do for today.

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