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So you raised a bookworm!

If you raised a bookworm and are concerned, don't be. You could have done worse. Your young one will already have many of the basic literacy skills.

The primary problem with kids that are avid readers is that they often focus on their few favourite subjects. This means their reading ability, vocabulary, and the like are being well developed but narrowly focussed. Skills improve greatly while knowledge is limited in scope. This is where the negative connotation comes into play. It isn't that a given child reads all the time. It's more that he or she only knows about fewer things. Therefore, the bookworm becomes, in society's eyes, the dweeb or the nerd or whatever the latest label is.

For my part, I took in everything to do with dinosaurs and the planets. It helped with spelling and grammar, but overall, science geeks aren't very interesting at a party, or comfortable in a hockey arena.

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My suggestion is to make use of short story writing as a way to ultimately broaden the child's subject matter. This is a natural progression. To read about the planets, for example, is fun, interesting and full of reference material, statistics and pictures... of round things. However, to write about them is quite a 'different story'. If the child follows my Five W's of good writing, he or she is bound to discover, quickly, that coming up with ideas to be read by others is a lot tougher. Most of his friends won't want to hear about Jimmy's adventures with his telescope, once again, only, this time, in another form.

The planning that goes into writing must cover more ground and the subject matter should be diluted to keep more people interested. By its nature, a short story cannot go into depth in any one area. The reader would lose interest. I bet that many short story readers are impatient people, looking for the quick fix.

After even the first story, it is likely that the child will have had to dream up ideas never before thought of. Being proud of that story, a good one I expect because they already have great skills, will push the motivation factor even higher. And who knows... you may be on your way to creating an inspiring speaker.

On the flipside, if you wish your child was more of a bookworm, again, start with writing, this time as a way to direct him or her into reading in order to discover research material. In the process, a new interest might bubble to the surface, and the rest will take care of itself. All you have to do is facilitate, sort of as in unschooling.

The skills being used in writing of any variety surpass most other activities by miles... kilometres in Canada.

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