Saturday, June 13, 2009

Emotional level vs. Academic level

For some reason, I decided it was time I set my mind to writing a blog post. But this isn’t the one I was going to write. Instead, it’s what came to me after following my way around some links.

I’ve just read a fascinating article called “All in the Timing” that suggests that children reading ahead of their age level isn’t always a good thing. Not that it’s bad children are advanced readers, but that by pushing their reading level, they miss out on enjoying books that they are deemed to have “gone past” or read books before they are emotionally ready for them. It’s a very interesting article that I recommend reading, and one with which I mostly agree.

It got me thinking about Marcus. Sure, he’s only five now and still learning to read, but the days are coming when Dave and I, as his parents, are going to need to start helping him read appropriate books, read with him and monitor his reading to some degree.

I can’t help but be proud that he’s in the highest reading group in his class, even if his reading material is still Honey for Baby Bear or Naughty Max Monkey. As a reader (who currently isn’t managing to read, which is the blog post I was originally planning to write) I want Marcus to know the joy of books.

But by that I don’t mean reading at as high a level as possible to show off how smart he is. I mean that absolute joy of getting caught up in a story and having it speak to your heart. I can do that with adult books, YA books and even children’s book and I’m not ashamed of reading any of them. Why should it be different for a child? (Although obviously in concept rather than with regard to the same books.)

And while I wouldn’t consider Marcus to be an immature five year old, he’s certainly still a little kid and I think it’s very important to cater to his emotional level as well as his reading level. Finding books that do both those things may well turn out to be a challenge. I guess it’s time to start making a catalogue of useful links and resources.


orannia said...

Yes, it's good to stretch children (not literally :) but it's also good to remember that they are children, and they need to have fun and be children.

I think there is such a race to grow up that we become serious too's important to keep our imagination ;)

Very, very interesting post Kerry - thank you!

Susan said...

I would also let him go to the library when he gets a little older, and let him choose books for himself. To my surprise, my 4 year old came home with an Arthur book, from his library trip at school, and has had us reading it and rereading it all this week.

I also remember being allowed the freedom of picking whatever book I wanted as a child, in the library, books even, and that was such a delight. Most important though, is reading to your children as much as you can. That's the best encouragement of all. that, and they see you reading, too! Another lovely post, Kerry.

Erin said...

I always read at a very high level, and while I was pushed in school to read high (which is part of the purpose of school), my parents always let me read whatever I wanted (within reason) at home, "high" or "low." I understand the sentiment of it being important for your kids to see you reading, but it is so hard for me to read when he is being so noisy all of the time! LOL I usually only read after he is in bed. I hope it gets easier as he gets older.