How Important is Reading at Grade Level?
Grade level…As in, all seven-year-olds should read at this level and all ten-year-olds at that level. If your children attend school, I’m sure you’ve heard about reading at “grade level” and even worse…AR tests. If you homeschool, I’m sure you’ve wondered if your child is reading “at grade level”. It can be a wonderful feeling to know that your five-year-old can read at “a third-grade reading level” and devastating to know that your twelve-year-old reads at that same level.
Most of my children have picked up reading with very little effort. It came right along like crawling, walking and talking. At different times and different paces, but with very little concern.
Then Enoch threw me for a loop. If you’re new around here read this post about his reading. He mastered the basics of reading at six, but it didn’t come easily enough for him to read for pleasure. Age seven found us at the same point. Just after his eighth birthday, he began to read on his own.
Check out what he is now reading at nine.
From Bob Books to Michael Crichton
Yes, that is Michael Crichton’s 416-page novel, Jurassic Park. This is not a kid’s version or abridged version. This is the real thing. We did nothing special. No “remedial reading classes” or “special help”. Just let him come along at his own pace (I’m not saying those things are not necessary at times, just that I had confidence that my son had no underlying issues).
Now, I don’t what “reading level” Jurassic Park would be, but I’m pretty sure it’s beyond the 4th grade that he’s in.
Jurassic Park as a Springboard
And while we’re on the topic of Jurassic Park, let’s shift gears a bit. Chuck and I have been fans of Michael Crichton’s books for years. The children have seen us read them, and naturally. the cover of Jurassic Park has brought on questions from our children. I mean really, Chuck and I are reading books about dinosaurs? Apparently, I stopped Judah from reading the book when he was six, feeling it too mature for him. He recently saw something that reminded him of the book and asked again if he could read it. Since he is now 12, we decided it would be fine and requested it from the library. Adalia (13), Tilly (11) and Enoch (9) then proceeded to read the book. The great thing about a book like this is it is impossible to discuss it without talking about evolution, genetics, and cloning. Look- science class. Just like that.
At the library yesterday, the children brought home several books on the topic of cloning and biogenetics. How can you read Jurassic Park and not be interested in those subjects? Oh, and we, of course, brought home The Lost World. So, once again, “school” and “learning” arrive spontaneously through the children’s own interests.
I can’t wait to see where this interest leads us.