Monday, September 15, 2008

Lice by Any Other Name

Sweden has had this focus on lice (see two posts ago) - known in Swedish as "lus". So, when they want to set up a national reading development scale (Läs-Utvecklings-Schema), what better name could they come up with than LUS. So if you want more information, like on the internet, you have to get past all the literal small bugs to get to their site. I guess the lice were ahead of the educators in grabbing that all-purpose url - (The actual reading guide is buried at - catchy title, that one.)

The LUS-guiden, the one related to reading, is pretty detailed in the first phases. Phase 1 is recognizing your name. 2 is knowing that writing goes from left to right. 3 is understanding that what is written corresponds to words... and so on. There are 19 steps, and not all adults have made it that far. But Annika, just starting the 3rd grade, is somewhere around step 16 - and though I'm her mom, I would hasten to say that she is not unusually ahead of her class, more like above average. So somewhere in the next 10 years of schooling, she needs to make it from reading Bella, the Bunny Fairy to War and Peace (step 18). How we get there is a bit up in the air.

There are suggestions on the well-hidden site (which is owned by Bonniers, and only recommends Bonniers Education books, and not dear Bunny-Bella), but I looked through a few and found them somewhat inappropriate. They deal with boyfriends (oh my - not yet), divorced and arguing parents... and include The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (which I thought was for adults, but haven't read it)... and most disturbing, one called E som i Ecstas, which deals with drugs and features an E-pill on a tongue on the front cover.

She's 9. We'll stick with Bella.

The teacher's suggestion is actually more amusing. To speed up her reading, Annika should look at TV programs subtitled in Swedish. Right. Almost everything that is subtitled is originally in English, so we are left with finding obscure French childrens' films that are subtitled in Swedish, or watching TV in silence.

Back to Bella.

One of the moms in Annika's class was actually quite disturbed with the literary qualities of the Bella-type books (this is a whole marketing event - we have been through Jewel Fairies, Weather Fairies, Carnival Fairies, Pet Fairies - each series having 6-8 books). In my "book", anything they are reading willingly is fine with me. Last night, Annika plowed through all 186 pages of Summer, the Holiday Fairy in one sitting. She was quite surprised that I allowed her to stay up reading as late as she wanted.

"Mama, here's the deal. I want to stay up until I finish this book." she said. Fine. Deal. With no conditions. And she did it.

When I think back to the number of Bobbsey Twin, Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden books, not to mention whole series of Enid Blyton books that I devoured one after the other... Hmmm... I haven't quite made it to War and Peace, but I haven't done that badly either. Go Bella!

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