6.13.2007

She Reads!

Nerds of a feather, perhaps?

Well, it seems like my daughter's public school education has so far been worth the taxpayers' expense. Natalie has recently achieved the end-goal of Kindergarten class, and perhaps the most useful skill she will ever have in her life: Learning to read. I have to admit that I didn't see it coming. Before Christmas, she was still working her way through the alphabet and could write her name and spell a three letter word (cat, bat, mat) here and here. I honestly wasn't sure if she was going to master reading before the end of the school year. Then one day in March she started sounding out the words on the side of her kid's drink cup at Applebee's and I found myself utterly overwhelmed with delight. She could READ! Real words! And by gum, she was actually ENJOYING it!

She was able to recall the sound of the double "o," the "ch," "th," and what she referred to as a "quiet little 'e'" at the end of certain words, the one that makes the difference between "not" and "note." To say the least, I was ecstatic. Her father and I both being avid readers, Natalie could very well have the same lust for the written word, and that area of the parental mind that always pines away for the possibility that spawn will emulate spawner started ticking away at innumerable scenarios.

-- Natalie begging for trips to the bookstore, and perhaps hanging out there as a teenager for hours at a time.

-- Natalie staying up all hours of the night with her nose buried in the latest in a series of novels. Maybe The Sword of Shannara, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potter.

-- Natalie being the only kid in her class to tote along an 800 page book to read just for fun, possibly facing ire and alienation from most of her peers, but gaining a certain measure of respect and/or fascination from her teachers and smarter friends.

Okay, so by the sounds of that, part of me is hoping that Natalie will be exactly like her mother was. At least the bookworm part. It's not that I think raising a carbon-copy of myself would exactly be a good thing for society or that I think she'll get into less trouble than most kids her age. After all, even a nerdy little bibliophile can sneak a boy into her house or stay out way after curfew with her friends and get grounded (*cough*), but it would be nice to have another little person in the world who can appreciate the infinite value and impact of a limitless imagination.

She's only just getting started, of course. Nat won't understand for awhile why "mould" and "could" don't rhyme, and other little idiosyncrasies of the English language that confound and frustrate millions of adults to this very day, but I can see before her so many possibilities now. To be a child surrounded by millions indecipherable letters, words, and symbols, and then to suddenly gain a sense of clarity and familiarity with them, and then to eventually befriend and gain the ability to manipulate them -- there is power in that. I hope she uses it to her advantage.

9 comments:

  1. Go, Natalie! That's an adorable picture!

    I was a super nerd bookwork in school as well, and other kids were always giving me "the look" when they say my big nerdy books. "The look" meaning, how big of a nerd can you be? Why are you reading a 500 page book for pleasure? At least Harry Potter has made this acceptable for the next generation of bookworms!

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  2. Oh how I wish we'd gone to school together! lol I might not have felt so alone!

    And I am very grateful for JK Rowling for bring fun reading to this generation. I just started reading the series myself and find it utterly delightful.

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  3. My intellect is surpassed only by my shallowness...

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  4. That's not all it's surpassed by. By far. lol

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  5. YAY Natalie! I guess some of the nerdy-ness could come from our side as my room could double as a library. I spent a lot of time lugging around books larger then my head. Hooray for nerds!

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  6. I hear ya, Allie! Add me to the Secret Nerd Brigade. Secret because we are all way past nerdyness, n'est pa??
    My Molly is on the verge, the cusp, the edge of recognizing herself as a reader, I can't wait!!

    One thing I treasure about my membership in the Secret Nerd Brigade is my Knowledge of Words. My office mate thinks I'm the bees knees because I know what stuff means. Payback!!

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  7. This is what it's all about, Allie. Great picture. Beautiful post.

    At the end of the school year, we stand at the door and wave them goodbye. We marvel at the progress -- social and academic. We've even been known to shed a tear.
    Then we grab our stuff from the staffroom and head to the bar, wondering how we made it through another year. (By the time my wife comes to pick me up, I'm already planning for September. C'est la vie.)

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