Let me just start by saying that my daughter can virtually read ANYTHING. And by ‘read’ I mean just that. She can read long multi-syllabic words by sounding them out phonetically and she usually gets the pronunciations correct. HOWEVER…she does not always comprehend what she is reading. And by ‘always’ I mean OFTEN. Do not get my wrong, at her grade level she comprehends just fine. She is able to grasp the meaning and if there is a lesson, she pretty much is able to figure that out as well. The problem with this is that she flies through books that are at her grade level. As any other parent that is completely blown away by this, I started feeding her more and more books. In her home library she has over 100, and that is not including what is on her Kindle apps on her Ipod and Galaxy…or my Iphone. In Kindergarten, she started reading Junie B Jones chapter books. And just last week, she got her first Harry Potter book after her constant begging for it.
As much as it prides me that my 7, soon to be 8 year old is able to pick up a dictionary and read each word with ease, it kind of worries me that 5 minutes after she reads a book she has no idea or has a hard time summarizing what happened. I felt like this was very problematic, hence her re reading Junie B Jones book 1 that she read 2 years ago. At first, I was hesitant to go back a few grade levels because I didn’t want her to get bored or to stop trying to excel at reading. I didn’t want her ultimate goal of reading “big people” books to be forgotten or abandoned. To my surprise neither of these things have happened! She still enjoys reading books like Junie B, if not more so now then when she was 5. She still flies through the book, but with the shorter chapters and larger print, it’s not as much information for her to have to process. Now when I ask her what happened, it is a lot easier for her to recall and she has a very good understanding of what happened.
Now that I think of it, she is more like me than I thought. About 3 years ago, when the first Hobbit movie was coming out, I decided to re read the book because I am ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE. If there is a book to movie, it is imperative that I read the book first (this excludes books based on motion pictures). I know, I’m a snob:) Anyway, keep in mind that I have not read The Hobbit since high school. It only took me a couple days to read it…because I was reading it at work. I absolutely LOVED it! I cannot remember loving the book in high school. I don’t know if it is because I was forced to read it, or because my imagination and level of comprehension has expanded since then. Either way, the dots connected and the light bulb went off.
Seeing and understanding how this works for her now, I will continue to encourage her to read more grade level appropriate books for her level of comprehension. However, we have already made the agreement that for free reading time, she can read anything she wants. Of course, this is within reason as she is also itching to read Game of Thrones. I told her maybe in middle school. Maybe. Probably. We’ll see. 🙂