Reviving Ophelia

Remember the book Reviving Ophelia? That’s the one that explains that girls tend to excel at school until they hit adolescence and discover that it’s socially encouraged to hide their intelligence.

Soph may be hitting adolescence at age 5.

She is a fast learner, so she gets pulled out of class once a week for an advanced reading group — and she doesn’t like this.

“Mom,” she told me, “if I learn even more than my friends, then I’ll start finishing my work even earlier than my friends, and then I’ll be REALLY bored. I’m not allowed to talk to them when I finish early, because that distracts them and they still have work to do.”

She’s right: she is a distraction to her classmates because she does finish seat-work quickly. She’s sweetly responsible, trying hard not to distract anyone, and it breaks my heart to see her think the solution is to learn less.

I assured her that once she learns to truly read, she won’t ever have to be bored, because once she can read, then she can find out on her own what happens to Ramona or Cam Jansen the Girl Detective next. In the meantime, I asked if she can color, or something, whenever she finishes her work early. Her teacher gave her a basic reading book to store in her desk and gave me some tips on challenging gifted children. We’re not quite facing the adolescent challenges of Reviving Ophelia. But I’m afraid it’s just around the corner.

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