Silly mommy! Structures are for YOU!

So, L is drawn to non-fiction, specifically science content. Almost exclusively, in fact. Unless the fictional content includes heavy information, she’s not particularly interested. She isn’t drawn to most children’s shows (Dinosaur Train being a notable exception), preferring instead shows like Walking with Dinosaurs, Cosmos, How it’s Made, and various Nature/Nova type documentaries.

In terms of reading, she does enjoy the Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems and gobbles up her High Five magazine when it comes each month, disappearing into a corner for hours and coming out with the issue completely internalized. For the most part, though, she devours non-fiction text aimed at much older children. She rejects books with inappropriate information – great examples:

  • State that the sun is made of ‘gas’? The word will either be crossed out and replaced with ‘plasma’ or rejected as accurate altogether.
  • Dare list Pluto as a planet? A disappointed look will cross her face and she will explain solemnly that “In 2006, Pluto lost its status as a planet.”Again, either the book will be edited or rejected.
  • If a Tyrannosaurus Rex is depicted with three fingers, she will either declare it “a different type of theropod” or simply reject the book.

One of the other exceptions to her focus on non-fiction is the Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel. She has all of the books, including audio recordings, and will sit by her cd player and listen to them repeatedly.

So what did mommy do? Decide to ruin that for her, of course!

See, I am still stuck in worrying about “what will happen when she goes to school!”

She doesn’t like fiction? But I know that most teachers use fiction as a bridge into non-fiction content – and in fact, read-alouds are almost exclusively fiction. There are expectations about what a kiddo in a given grade level ought to know about fiction, including being able to imagine an alternative ending, empathize with characters, and connect events in the book to events in one’s own life.

I came across a really great Frog and Toad response journal on teachers pay teachers. It’s seriously excellent! Incorporates vocabulary, building prior knowledge, capturing information while reading, and reflecting on the text. It’s high-interest and well-formatted. I even paid the $4.00 for it, which I rarely do!

I printed it off, excitement building in me. “Oh boy!” I thought. “This is just the thing! She loves Frog and Toad and has already read the books, so it will be familiar content. That will let her focus on building proficiency with the response format. This is going to be great!”

Silly mommy.

After fighting our way through four of the five chapters, it’s finally been drilled through my thick skull. She. Doesn’t. Like. Fiction.

She fully comprehends the book already. She knows all of the factual information that she’s supposed to record as she reads. When asked “If Frog hadn’t fallen asleep, …” she replied, “But Frog DID fall asleep!” I attempted to re-direct her: “Yeah, but what if he hadn’t?” Silently, she turned to the appropriate page in the text and pointed to the sentence where it told that Frog had fallen asleep.

Ok, kiddo. You can read. You can comprehend. If you’re given information you’re drawn to, learning is a joy. It’s really only when mommy decides what we SHOULD be doing that things fall apart.

Breathe deeply, mommy. Everything will be ok.