I don’t post much about what Gohan has been reading, just because he doesn’t read anywhere near as many books as I read to Dora. This is partly because his books are so much longer and partly because he doesn’t read much for pleasure due to the fact that he has severe language-based learning disabilities. The only things that he reads for pleasure is manga. After last year’s success with the Cartoon History of the Universe, I had planned to have him spend this year reading graphic versions of the books that are at his grade level. His only request was there be some mysteries. When I mentioned Edgar Allen Poe, he was excited about reading Poe’s stories. I ordered two graphic novel collections of Poe’s short stories, but had not realized that they were written in the original language, just with illustrations. He had no problem with reading the stories though and having read them myself, I can assure you that the pictures were not enough to understand the story without having some major reading comprehension going on. I was very excited to realize how far he has come!
The other graphic novels I purchased, ended up being dumbed-down versions of the original novels. One of these novels was so confusing that I couldn’t even understand it, even though I was VERY familiar with the novel. Of course, after reading all of Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on twaddle, I did not feel comfortable having Gohan reading such books. Honestly, even with out Mason’s words of wisdom, I felt these books were an insult to his intelligence. So at this point, given his success with reading Poe, I ordered Norton’s Anthology of World Literature and plan to take more of a Charlotte Mason approach to literature with him. If we need to read the selections out loud together, so be it. Also, I plan to have him narrate a summary of the reading selection, rather than have him answer questions, to check for comprehension. After reading Charlotte Mason’s arguments for narration, I not only agreed with her, but also remembered that Primo, who also has a language-based learning disorder, but without dyslexia, had a really hard time with summary. His literature summaries were often as long as the original selection. So if I can just get Gohan to summarize his reading selections into 5-7 complete sentences, with proper grammar, I will be quite happy.
Given that Halloween is fast approaching, I found it rather ironic that the Poe books were the only ones that I felt were adequate to meet Gohan’s needs. Gohan, who tends to be a bit skittish about horror movies and so forth, had no problem with the stories, but they kind of freaked me out. In particular, there was a story about mesmerizing a man right at the moment of death, which I had never read before, that gave me the willies.
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