Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Genius Squared

It's March in Colorado, which means we have lovely, sunny days perfect for playing tennis (yesterday, Madhubby and I tied 6-6 in our first set before we had to get the girls from school) alternated with days where fat, water laden snowflakes fall incessantly. Today, is the fat snowflake day, which is nice but kinda puts a damper on doing fun things like going for a run, finishing up our tennis set, or admiring my grass. I'm a gardener, so watching, tending, and generally coddling the grass is fun for me.

March is also Parent-Teacher conference time. When Lizzie first started school, I always looked forward to parent-teacher conferences. I was obsessed with her school progress and her social growth. I also needed constant affirmation from her teacher that I was not one of "those" parents who thinks their kid is really smart when she's actually really dumb.

Last night was our last set of parent-teacher conferences for the year. The girls were praised for their love of learning, reading abilities and general demeanor since they are perfect little Mary Ingalls' who skip to school in the morning and always ask for more work (yes, please!).

However, Lizzie's voracious reading has presented quite the problem. She has maxed out on age-appropriate reading. Her teacher has capped her reading level at 6+, which means she actually reads at a higher level than 6+, but the books in the higher level have (potentially) too much mature subject matter for her ten-year old brain.

Unfortunately, I forgot just how mature Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye was until I saw it Lizzie's bedside table and flipped through it for old times' sake; I read it in college and the copy Lizzie has is my old one. Waaay too much mature subject matter (and the language!). I had forgotten about the language. Does Toni Morrison write anything geared towards a younger audience? Needless to say, I hid the book for the time being.

Olie reads a lot, too, which is amazing for a kid who proclaimed earlier this year that she "hates reading and will never learn how to read!" Now, she reads two levels above what is required for Kindergartners. She is helpful at school, which is so hard to believe since she makes it her personal mission to annoy her siblings whenever possible.

Lizzie, of course, is always helpful. I say of course because she's the firstborn, she's five years older than Olie and eight years older than Bubba, and she is a natural leader. My advice to any reader who has a toddler: get thee a ten-year old! They have really useful and valuable skills, aside from sweeping and sorting laundry, like the ability to make a toxic waste diaper totally disappear. It's magic, I tell ya.


Zuska said...

Yep, I recently went through the same thing with Em! Too high of a reading level, and nowhere really to go with it. There's this great but little known series out there which we have LOVED: The Lightning Thief is the first one, by Rick Riordan (the premise is that the Greek Gods are still active, and the main characters are their offspring ... like Hercules, but in modern New York City, and 13 years old). I really like them a LOT (I've read them all), and so does Em. It also really got her interested in Greek Mythology, which led to other ancient civilizations and coincided nicely with the units they're doing in school right now.

Let me know if you want more brainstorming from this House With a Reading Ten Year Old.

LawSchoolMom said...

Up until now, I have been culling through my old books trying to find age-appropriate material for Lizzie. You can tell from my post that plan isn't working so well. :-)

The Riordan series seems like it may be a good fit. I will certainly look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!