Middle School Reading Appropriateness for Sensitive Kids - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 08-20-2013, 12:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS just started Middle School (5th grade) and I was looking through his book list for this year and it includes the book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. Ds read another Paulsen book last year, WindRunner, and was very disturbed by it (ds is Aspergers, highly sensitive with anxiety issues and gets really upset by realistic violence in books). I read Hatchet this past weekend and I'm worried that the animal killing scenes and the anxiety that the boy faces keeping his mother's Secret will be too much for him. On the other hand, ds really wants to be "normal" and I hate to ask the teacher to give him an alternative novel because the rest of the class will still be discussing the book. Any suggestions on how I should handle this? 

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#2 of 7 Old 08-20-2013, 04:40 PM
 
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Read it with your child long before the class does.............and talk about it.......this way when he reads it in class, it won't be a shocker.  Don't down play it too much.......BUT going thru it first with him with almost de-sensitize him to the parts that may be uncomfortable.  (Yes, this is a bad part, but I read it with Mom and we talked about it, so I'm confident that I can handle it, etc).


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#3 of 7 Old 08-21-2013, 11:58 PM
 
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My boys with Aspergers loved that book and probably read it around that age. There is violence in there but there is also a lot of beauty and personal growth, especially as you read the whole series. I would take a wait and see approach. He may have better coping skills and may be more able to handle sensitive material this year as compared to last. Keep open communication, but let it unfold for him without too much influence from you. A lot of literature is kind of disturbing, if its any good. Its meant to be - to get us out of our comfort zone or invest our interest in the characters or teach us some hard and beautiful life lessons. To make us think! My then 14 yr old had to read Night by Elie Weisel last year about the holocaust. Its a horrifying book about a horrifying experience. I read it along with him, though only on my own time. We talked about it and it led to some great moral discussions. I think he's a better person for having read it, even though it led to some loss of innocence about humanity and what people are capable of. But part of letting my boys grow up is allowing that protective shield I put over them pull back little by little. I am not saying you are being overprotective or anything, just sharing my own thoughts and experiences as I have felt some of those feelings you are feeling. I hope that helps! 


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#4 of 7 Old 08-22-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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Read it with your child long before the class does.............and talk about it.......this way when he reads it in class, it won't be a shocker.  Don't down play it too much.......BUT going thru it first with him with almost de-sensitize him to the parts that may be uncomfortable.  (Yes, this is a bad part, but I read it with Mom and we talked about it, so I'm confident that I can handle it, etc).

 

I tend to agree with this. At the very least, I'd spoiler the whole thing for him with a summary even if you don't read all of it together. I'd also suggest he read ahead to the happy ending before he reads much beyond the introduction, so he knows that it all works out. If it does. It's been so long since I read that book that I don't remember what happens.  

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#5 of 7 Old 08-25-2013, 11:50 AM
 
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I asked my ds, who read it in 5th grade.  He thought the book was excellent.  He said the animal killing was related to survival and was not bothered by it as a life long vegetarian.  Kids really read books different than adults and take in different nuance based on their experience and interest, so I would not spoil it for him or stop him from reading it.  Ds even liked the movie, and he gets really emotional with movies.  His class also went on a field trip that was about survival in the wilderness (kind of more of a fun day at camp).   

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#6 of 7 Old 08-25-2013, 12:16 PM
 
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I asked my ds, who read it in 5th grade.  He thought the book was excellent.  He said the animal killing was related to survival and was not bothered by it as a life long vegetarian.  Kids really read books different than adults and take in different nuance based on their experience and interest, so I would not spoil it for him or stop him from reading it.  Ds even liked the movie, and he gets really emotional with movies.  His class also went on a field trip that was about survival in the wilderness (kind of more of a fun day at camp).   

 

 

Yes, it is a very good book. Kids are individuals with needs that differ from each other, not just adults. Not all kids respond the same way to books. Alysonb has specific concerns about her son. He has a special needs diagnosis. She describes him as "highly sensitive with anxiety issues" and he recently had a bad reaction to reading a book by the same author. All of that is important information that probably distinguishes his situation from your DS's and makes it appropriate for her to provide him with a little more guidance and support.  

 

 

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Originally Posted by alysonb View Post

DS just started Middle School (5th grade) and I was looking through his book list for this year and it includes the book Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen. Ds read another Paulsen book last year, WindRunner, and was very disturbed by it (ds is Aspergers, highly sensitive with anxiety issues and gets really upset by realistic violence in books). I read Hatchet this past weekend and I'm worried that the animal killing scenes and the anxiety that the boy faces keeping his mother's Secret will be too much for him. On the other hand, ds really wants to be "normal" and I hate to ask the teacher to give him an alternative novel because the rest of the class will still be discussing the book. Any suggestions on how I should handle this? 

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#7 of 7 Old 08-26-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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Yes, it is a very good book. Kids are individuals with needs that differ from each other, not just adults. Not all kids respond the same way to books. Alysonb has specific concerns about her son. He has a special needs diagnosis. She describes him as "highly sensitive with anxiety issues" and he recently had a bad reaction to reading a book by the same author. All of that is important information that probably distinguishes his situation from your DS's and makes it appropriate for her to provide him with a little more guidance and support.  

 

 

Well, as the parent of a special needs child, I have a differing opinion on the subject.  Probably, in the end the OP should be talking this over with the teacher to understand the intent with the curriculum instead this.   5th grade was an awesome year for my ds after a tough 4th grade, and so I feel that you can not rely strictly on what happened in the past as a guide for the future, even if it is just reading class.  

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