Friday, July 31, 2009

The Girl (Detective) Has Gotta Go!

I am a book fiend! There are books all over our house and if you ever look at the sidebar you'll see I'm usually barreling through 3 or 4 at any given time. My girl, on the other hand, is a reluctant reader. Not the classic definition of such though--when pressed she reads a full grade-level plus ahead of where she is in school. It's the pressing part that's the problem.

She'll occasionally pick up a book and read for pleasure, but the times are few and far between. When she does it's usually something digestible in short bites (kid's magazines), something way below her reading level (Dr. Seuss), or something that is all pictures with bite-size chunks of text (graphic novels or the Dorling-Kindersley nonfiction books).

These are all good, legitimate choices that have their time and place. That place, unfortunately, is not homework reading. She's in a charter school and last year in 2nd grade most of their assigned reading was done in class. She still had to read 20min a day at home--which she fought us hard on. Since the checklist from the teacher only had signature boxes for Mon-Fri she refused to read most weekends. Homework reading, though needs to be up to her level, i.e. chapter books; books that put the pictures in her head, not on the page.

She started school this past week and the homework battle began in earnest on Wednesday night. She CAN read longer works, she just doesn't want to put forth the effort and has yet to meet a skill-appropriate book that made her WANT to read. In desperation I spent my lunch hour yesterday consulting the children's librarian at my favorite library branch. I grabbed some of ~everything~ she suggested I try and several things she didn't and carted them home.

One of the suggestions was, unsurprisingly, graphic novels, which I enjoy, her dad loves, and I've reluctantly given her in an effort to get her to read ~something~. I grabbed this one:

because, like many of us, I grew up with the spunky girl detective--funny how the idea of a female character named "George" is no longer the oddity it was when I was young... Gawd I'm easily distracted.

As much as I love the original Nancy Drew, the books are a bit dated these days, even by my standards. Jay wouldn't even understand what a lot of the things ~are~ because the references are so out of date. This seemed like a good way to introduce her to a favorite character from my childhood.

While she was showing off the bounty of books I brought her to her dad, I started flipping through the above to see how badly the girl detective was mutilated. It was a bit vapid and shallow (sadly, this is somewhat expected in books aimed at girls these days) but basically harmless. I was going to put it back in her stack when I saw this:

Oh hell no. I showed it to Raidman and even he was annoyed by it, "you are father, eh?"

I tossed that sucker back in my bag and took it out to the car to return to the library posthaste. As much time and effort as I know goes into lettering and inking graphic novels this is, to me, an unforgivable oversight.

That and my girl has trouble with apostrophes. For the last six months she's been creating plurals by adding " 's " to nouns. I think I've finally broken her of the habit, but it's taken months and this sort of thing will not help.

The girl detective had to go.

In case you're curious, she did pick a book and read it (mostly) willingly last night and tonight. Sadly, it was this.

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