Saturday, 18 April 2015

The tricky age

My daughter turned 10 a few weeks ago, which is a milestone, isn't it? I still remember the way I felt at hitting double figures.

So I'm posting in honour of her and the literacy-based issues she and I have been grappling with lately.

She's a fabulous, intuitive little reader, who is probably even more compulsive than me (and I always thought I could win every award going when it came to compulsive reading). She has a reading age between 13 and 14, but couples it with a sensitive soul and a healthy dollop of naivety, which I'm not keen to lose.

It's very hard to challenge her with her reading. She adores Enid Blyton, still, and seems to like pacy mystery stories. Sometimes my choices for her go down very badly, and she discards books half-read. I've been borrowing books from the library and having to read them first, to check if the content is innocent enough.

Today I finished reading 'The Great Unexpected', which was beautiful and lyrical, though I would have liked things a little more explicitly explained in it...there was a bit of boy-girl interest which I think she'll skim, but it wasn't inappropriate for a 10 year old. However, I'm not sure if she will enjoy it. She began it tonight, so the jury is out.

The teachers gave her 'Northern Lights', which she read with fierce interest, and it actually kept her busy for three days as opposed to one, but I felt it was pushing the limits of what I'm comfortable for her to be reading.

So - anyone got any much-loved suggestions that she might enjoy? Any help will be gratefully received.

The other thing that happened this week is that I had a letter from an organisation called 'Young Writers' saying that her short saga on 'Paradise' was entered into a competition by her school, and her entry has been selected to go into the East Midlands anthology (which I can buy for the meagre sum of £18).

I have so many problems with this, from the fact I've been exposed to this exploitation by the school, to my daughter's face when I told her I didn't think I'd be buying one. (Her dad says he'll buy it...but £18! For 100 words written by Bean, that none of us will ever read anything else in it! And, with all the motherly love and pride in the world, for a story she has written which is OK, but not amazing.)

Of course, it goes without saying that the contest Bean 'won' was also won by every other child in her class...

How can this kind of grasping money-making go on, exploiting parents and children - and supported by schools, at that? Have schools not realised it would be better to self-publish their own books and keep the profits for their own PTFA?

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