As far as I’m concerned, if they’re reading, it’s a good thing. Agreed? So if DD#2 can only read Sleeping Beauty, but can read it almost fluently, that’s fine by me. I can hear about golden caskets and sealed invitations over and over, because my 6-year-old is telling me all about them. No matter that similar words in books about zoo animals, say, are illegible. We’ll get there.
I’ve always believed that once you can read there are no doors closed to you. You can do anything, be anything, know anything. You can find out anything.
This is why, if I find my kids reading instead of doing – well, pretty much anything else – I normally “let it go”. In other words, I pretend that they should be doing whatever task I had set, but they can carry on reading “for a little while”, since it is clearly so engrossing, and they’ll want to know how it ends, of course. It’s a trick, you see, so that they don’t think I’m too supportive of their disobedience. This is because:
a) I really shouldn’t encourage disobedience.
b) I want them to think reading the book was their idea alone, and let them maintain the pleasure that comes from clandestine activities for as long as possible. If reading is the “naughty” thing they do, that works for me. As long as they never really believe reading is “bad”. But we model enough addictive reading patterns in this house for that to be an unlikely scenario.
c) I’m at least as guilty of many, many hours of reading instead of – well, pretty much anything else. Who am I to judge, after all?
(Purists: yes, I know.)
So this afternoon I was delighted to find my eldest daughter reading a book instead of – well, pretty much anything else. And not just any book. A science book. With dinosaurs in. I subtly complimented her and obliquely encouraged her to continue without squelching her enthusiasm by actually approving too much. You know.
She looked at me sweetly and said, “Oh, I’m just trying to choose which dinosaur to be in the game. This one looks cool to me. Do you like it?”
And of course, I did.