Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Moving on up

Well, I guess this is something of a milestone: I took my daughter to the bookstore today, and the books she wanted turned out to be in the "Teen" section instead of the children's. Now, of course, she is a teen, so that shouldn't be any big deal; but her reading level has never been up to her chronological speed. She's still into the "Magic Treehouse" series, which is about a second-grade level, and the most recent standardized tests they gave her (and we all know how reliable those are, right?) showed her reading level hovering around fourth grade. She's two years behind in school, and had mixed success with sixth-grade reading materials last year -- good comprehension of stories with strong plots and characterizations, poor comprehension of mood pieces with lots of figurative language. The times we've plucked promising novels with teen themes from her school's Scholastic Book Fairs, they've proven to be way over her head. Yet there we were today, in the Barnes and Noble, being directed back out of the children's room and into the teen shelves. Yee-haw, we're age-appropriate.

Or maybe not. The books she was looking for were "7th Heaven" books, novelizations of the TV series, re-runs of which she watches obsessively on ABC Family. We found one at the library (yes, in the children's room) and she liked it enough that I thought I'd pounce on any small sign of reading enthusiasm by buying her a few more. According to, the reading level of these books is in the 9-12-year-old range, which is about right for her. Maybe they're filed in the teen section because the show's first-run episodes are on the WB, and someone thinks that means teens? Maybe the themes are considered too mature for kiddies (although they're certainly less traumatic than the death-themed books my daughter keeps getting assigned, and they're in the children's room)? Whatever the reason, I'm glad for the little morale boost that comes from picking out big-kid books. Now if I can just get her to read the books instead of watching the TV series, we'll be getting somewhere.

The titles she picked today will eventually make their way onto my Summer Reading 2004 page, but for now, for other parents who may want to be taking advantage of TV tie-ins, they are: Sisters Through the Seasons, Secrets, and Nobody's Perfect.

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