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    Joined: May 2012
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    Hey all,

    My 12 year old daughter is reading at a lexile score of 1550 (which puts her in the college age range as far as vocab/comp goes). In her school reading class, they are insisting that she read books at her lexile score. The problem is that so many books at that level--that are on themes that she is interested in--just aren't age appropriate. She may read and comprehend at a high level, but that doesn't make her emotionally mature enough to read a lot of what is out there. She is quite young in the maturity department (i.e. she still likes to play with dolls, is not at all interested in boys, would rather read than do just about anything else...)

    She loves fantasy and adventure books and has devoured things like the Rick Riordan and J.K. Rowling series in the past. She read the Hunger Games series when it came out (early 09?), although that is emotionally challenging for the age. I've tried to encourage her to branch out into mystery, sci-fi, etc. with some success. She very much enjoyed Patricia Briggs' Mercedes Thompson series, but that has a lot of violence, some intimacy, and even a rape incident (we had some interesting conversations when she came to that book...eek). At least the main character is non-traditional and powerful (she is an auto-mechanic who owns her own shop).

    She still enjoys reading things at a lower level (heck, I think we all do at times!), but we are trying to meet a school requirement here, so I'm a bit stumped.

    Do any of you have suggestions for what she might read?

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    Oh gosh, this problem is so familiar to me! My DD age 10 has the same Lexile range as a high school junior. She is also very into fantasy like your daughter.

    We keep heading to the Young Adult section of the library, and because fantasy seems to keep to pretty safe themes (though there can be a lot of violence which never troubled my daughter even when she was three), we are getting as many fantasy novels as possible. DD is almost through the Warrior series, and thank the Lord, appears to want to move onto the Seekers series next.

    Okay, I have a few suggestions. Try to find a great series, or a prolific author, because that will save you a bit of time (we all know how quickly our HG kids devour books.)

    Did you try the recent offerings from the British Isles? Perhaps the different perspective and different way of phrasing things might appeal to your daughter. I do remember from my childhood in Britain that books for children are revered over there, not to imply that they're not over here! Try browsing a bit on a current mum's website that discusses books.

    Continuing in that vein, I bet there are some great foreign (German, French, Japanese etc.) translations of books that might be age-appropriate.

    What are some current classics at the college level? Jack London, Nathaniel Hawthorne etc. are authors that come to mind. They can't be too racy, can they?

    And finally there are the good old non-fiction offerings! I'm thinking of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau etc. not to mention all those lovely science and history books in the library. You'd have control over the subject matter, and your daughter might really enjoy them.

    Let me know what works! I'm right behind you in terms of where my daughter needs to go, and I've been thinking about this issue, too!

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    Here's some food for thought that makes one realize how serious this subject is.

    My daughter just won her 4th grade spelling bee.

    The first list that all 4th graders got was exceptionally difficult, but you'd think that a HG kid would know most of the words. However, I was surprised that my daughter didn't know a good 25 percent of them. Thanks to her exceptional memory, she learned them in 2 weeks, and then went on to the final.

    It dawned on me later that she had had no exposure to "challenge" words (for her) all year, even in her gifted program. Hence, she had really learned no new vocabulary through her school.

    Again, the importance of getting reading material at the right level!


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    Have you talked with the teacher about this? I think if they are going to insist that she read at her Lexile level, then they should also help her find appropriate books. It seems really silly, a case of following the letter of the rule and missing the spirit. The idea is to help people improve their reading skill by reading "just right" books. In your dd's case, there seems to be little need for her to improve since she has already reached a level higher than most adults.

    And of course, even very few college-educated adults read college level reading material on a regular basis. I would hazard a guess that very few mystery and fantasy novels would meet this lexile requirement. And even most literature read in college is probably not a 1550. My only suggestion would be non-fiction and have her read journal articles on a subject of interest to her. But that may not appeal to her at all if she is looking for fantasy fiction! lol

    Sorry we're not much help here. I would go to the school and insist that they either provide appropriate reading material or change their requirements.

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    Even Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Sir Walter Scott, H. Rider Haggard, Daniel Defoe, and Charles Dickens aren't up at 1550. Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea books, and Jules Verne are even further away. But they are all significantly closer to 1550 than what she has been reading so far, and she might enjoy them.

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    Do schools usually test reading level with Lexile level? My daughter was tested for her reading level but I was never given any scores or grade level. She is at the highest reading level in her class, where they group kids. She is a DYS kid.

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    There isn't much of anything in that range (1450-1600) that is age appropriate or even readable for a 12 year old. At that level it is mostly non-fiction, and rather dry prose at that.

    I'd push back on the people who want her to read at her level to provide *you* a list of appropriate books. And then you can shoot down their choices based on theme or content.

    A search on the Lexile website gives 22 "fantasy" books in that range, all of which are non-fiction, some about fantasy ("seeks new approaches to Guinevere's shadowed, negative image in the Arthurian legends"?) and a lot are misclassified (political psychoanalysis, economics...).

    Asking for all categories and fiction only gives exactly 26 books. Pearl Buck, Joyce Carol Oates, Boccaccio (OK, *I* would totally have read the Decameron at 12), Cervantes, and... a few non-fiction essays/critiques.

    Yep, have them run the search and then shoot down anything with explicit sex scenes or too much gore. This could be fun for you wink

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    Originally Posted by aculady
    Even Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Sir Walter Scott, H. Rider Haggard, Daniel Defoe, and Charles Dickens aren't up at 1550.


    Wait, there are two Walter Scott at 1560! Rob Roy and Bride of Lammermoor.

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    Originally Posted by SiaSL
    Wait, there are two Walter Scott at 1560! Rob Roy and Bride of Lammermoor.


    Good find! Clearly, I gave up too soon, or the site I was searching glitched.

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    Originally Posted by SiaSL
    Wait, there are two Walter Scott at 1560! Rob Roy and Bride of Lammermoor.

    The Bride of Lammermoor is... not too nice at the end. Insane and bloody in a wedding dress. A 12-year-old might like it, though. You could go see the opera.

    Just so the sensitive are forewarned. I don't know Rob Roy.

    DeeDee

    Last edited by DeeDee; 05/11/12 04:20 AM. Reason: can't spell
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