Over the weekend, I wrote a book review. I’m an avid reader, and I wanted book reviews to be part of this website. Most times, I’m on to the next book and do not write a review. The last time I wrote a book review on my website was early February 2018.
After reading Frindle, a book my son was required to read but did not want to read, many readers reached out privately or in the comment section to inquire why my son did not like the book. Before I wrote the book review, I could not answer that question in depth because all he would say is, “I don’t want to read it, and I don’t like it.” After inquiries from my readers, I decided to talk to my son to get a more specific answer.
In my book review, I said:
After winter break, with the principal’s approval, the second-grade teachers decided to group all the second graders by reading level. My sons, who read at a fourth-grade level, go to a different second-grade class for reading. I was excited about this because they would be able to read books at their level and be challenged.
My excitement about him reading fourth-grade level books was not matched by him. He said, “Mom, this book looks boring. There are only a few pictures. The pictures aren’t even colored in. Why are there some many words on each page? I miss the books I used to read before they made us switch classes for reading.”
As our conversation continued, he explained there was nothing in the story’s plot that he particularly disliked and that the book was easy for him to read, but he missed reading the fun second-grade books. This made me recall the training I received when I was an elementary literacy coach and gifted/high ability building coordinator and what I was told by two psychologists and other educators.
When my sons were in PreK-4, my husband and I were told that our son’s misbehavior was potentially tied to him being bored and that he might be gifted. I dismissed this information. As a teacher, I did not want to have a child not participate in class and not following the directions of his teacher. I also thought the skills he was exhibiting was not out of the ordinary because I was a teacher and was teaching him skills at home. We agreed to have him evaluated so we could put this suggestion behind us. Since he is an identical twin, we were told to have his brother tested too. The testing confirmed what we were told and my children were accepted into a gifted private school for kindergarten. Although we liked the school, we would have gone broke or into debt sending them to the school. Instead, they went to their boundary school.
This school year, both of them were identified as potentially qualifying for the Compass program for third grade, which is the gifted/high ability program for their school district. We are supposed to receive the results of the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities Test) by the end of this month. We have not received their scores yet, so I guess we will know by Thursday.
After being told our sons were gifted and I became a gifted building coordinator, I learned about asynchronous development. This means a gifted child’s social, emotional, physical, creative, and intellectual skills do not develop at the same rate. This explains why my son, who didn’t want to read Frindle, would read rock encyclopedias and books about the periodic table for hours, but also wanted to doodle and scribble random stuff on a paper for fun. Even though he can read Frindle, he misses the easier books and the pictures. He loves science and is willing to read difficult texts voluntarily, but when it comes to fiction, he wants to read books like Captain Underpants.
One option my husband and I could have pursued after we realized we could not afford the private school was having our boys skip kindergarten. They knew how to do all the kindergarten work before kindergarten, but their social skills had not caught up. As identical twins, they were still at a point where they would rather interact with each other than with other people. Even though they knew the academic skills, we did not want them to miss the experiences and fun of kindergarten.
I explained to my son that we had to focus on what we could control. I told him that I understand that he misses reading those other books during reading time at school, but that is the only time he has to read those books he does not like. I told him he could read whatever he wanted any other time. That brought a smile to his face.
He is also just as talented in math. He goes to Kumon with his brother to meet those needs. He is currently multiplying two-digit numbers by one digit numbers. He really enjoys learning new math concepts way more than reading a 4th-grade level fiction book.
My husband and I need to not make a big deal out of what our children can do. This situation with the book Frindle has reminded me to not get so caught up in how smart he is and forget that he just wants to be a second-grade kid.
To read more about asynchronous development, click here.
To read more about common characteristics of gifted individuals, click here.