The Surprising Upside

The benefits of learning to read early are effortlessly apparent. It’s a powerful thing to be able to edify and entertain yourself. The merits of late learning are less obvious, perhaps invisible if you are in a literacy heavy school system.

Patience is eight, she has a good grasp of how reading works but she is far from fluent. To compensate she has developed heightened focus and discernment. Sometimes she sits still with her gaze fixed on the speaker, sometimes her eyes are down as her hands fiddle in her lap. A question is asked and she springs up with a pertinent phrase plucked from the reading or a reflection on how she sees the subject in her own life. The ideas are complex, her comments mature.

I asked her how she does it. She says as she listens she picks out words she thinks there might be questions on and she tries to remember them.

By comparison my brain seems sluggish, slumped on the print, never having to stand on it’s own.

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