It's been coming for years. And maybe I already knew, but I was living in denial. But I have realized something.
Mary does not like to read. It's not that she can't read. It's just not--dare I say it?--fun for her to read.
I would expect this from the boys. Boys are all about dirt and noise and action. But my guys were always readers. They taught themselves, it seemed. Yeah, I read to them constantly. But each of them, sometime before the end of kindergarten (for Jay it was before kindergarten,) came to me and said, "Mommy! Look! These words! I can read them!" And they did. We even had a deal as they progressed through school and Grandma bought them a Nintendo. "You can play it," I would say, "after your schoolwork is done and you've been outside for an hour." (I called it a deal; it was more of a rule, but it made me feel better enforcing it if I thought they had some input, I guess.) More often then not, I would find them outside, sure, but they would be reading, or sitting together, talking about something they'd read or some plan they were hatching. Not the physical activity I meant when I said, "Be outside."
Mary, on the other hand, was always physical. There are times, still, when she'll say, "I just have to go outside," and she'll be gone an hour or more. She rides her bike, or tramps through the fields, or plays with the critters. When she was younger, she'd be out there for hours. Now it's a little shorter, but it still happens. When she was in first grade and capable, but still not reading, she told me, "If I read, Mom, you'll never read to me again." I thought she wanted the cuddling, but I'm beginning to see that she just didn't want to do that kind of physical labor.
Where's the little girl who was going to like "Anne of Green Gables?" We were going to share Rosemary Sutcliff books together; she says, "It's OK, Mom, but, really, kinda boring." Historical fiction? Boring? I could do a Bronte swoon right now. This week we're watching Gone With The Wind, kind of a Civil War movie. It is not enticing her to read the book. Scarlett, in her words, is "emo," which is not a complimentary term for Mary.
And how are we going to do high school without Tolkein? Beowulf? Shakespeare, for goodness sakes? She will read C. S. Lewis, so there may be hope yet. She does like the Eragon series, and Harry Potter finally got her reading in about 5th grade. But I am afraid I may have to resort to...gasp...video learning.
Say it isn't so.