I can’t help but begin my answer by saying there are so many issues facing children today that simply didn’t exist even ten years ago. With so much to fret over, including many fret-worthy issues related to technology, it’s almost confusing to see a question where a parent is concerned about a child’s love for reading. I’m not necessarily going to address your fear that her critical thinking will be affected. I don’t know if you’ve read much fiction yourself, but there tends to be a conflict, and often a resolution. There are plenty of life lessons throughout a novel, even without a happy ending. There is an abundance of problem-solving. You aren’t going to find complex emotional scenarios in a book about photosynthesis. I’m not putting down non-fiction, but…I’m just going to jump into my list of points I’d like to make. Be happy she is reading. Never deny her time to read, nor reading material. I had a TV in my room when I was 8, and it lasted me through college because I never turned it on. However, when my parents wanted to enforce punishment, they had to take my books away; they never succeeded, because I had them hidden all over the Take it easy adirondack chair shirt and I love this house. Fiction taught me how to be a person. That sentence might sound glib, but I believe it. Fiction taught me how to communicate more quickly, efficiently, and creatively than relying on peer interaction ever did. Fiction gave me the tools to problem-solve, to dream, and to have a genuinely more deliberate internal monologue. It affected not only my dealings with others, but with myself. I didn’t curse – at all – until after college, because I prided myself on using my words to describe my feelings. In fifth grade, a friend spread a rumor about me, and I wrote her a letter to tell her how I felt. There is a dark underbelly to being a voracious reader. I didn’t have many friends, because reading ‘The Good Earth’ in first grade doesn’t endear you to your classmates. My words-per-minute and accompanying comprehension was tested in both third and fifth grade, with my fifth-grade teacher calling me inhuman. That letter I mentioned in the above paragraph was given to the school guidance counselor, and I was locked in her office for three hours because I wouldn’t apologize for writing it.
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