Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Fine Print

I hate, hate, HATE being proven wrong.

Sure, I'm actually wrong from time to time. Or more than just time to time. I'm definitely not perfect, and I wouldn't ever claim to know everything.

But I hate thinking I'm right, arguing that I'm right, and then being proven wrong. By the fine print, hidden there in the details, ready to take me down.

I love finding deals when I'm shopping. I love when I can take a sale and a coupon and combine them into a fantastic bargain I can crow about.

Until I get caught at the register by the fine print and realize that my fantastic bargain has been thwarted, but something that was glaringly obvious, and clearly written.

I love thinking that I've caught a company in a mistake, until I call, disputing a bill, and realize that...nope, I was wrong. I am arguing a point that is very clear stated, right there, for anyone to read.

You want to make sure you're getting exactly what you want, and to differentiate the "sales speak" from the "actual speak".

Fine print.

Fine print is EVERYWHERE, just waiting to trip you up and make you feel stupid.

I was thinking about this the other day as I was working with Madison on her reading. Madison is becoming quite the reader, which is awesome. When that reading code is finally, really, cracked, and moves from decoding into really reading, it's amazing to see. She loves that feeling of independence and the world of stories and information open to her, and I feel like she's really growing up.

Anyway, she was reading aloud the other day, and I realized that her brain is starting to read and skip those "filler words". Rather than "Jill went to the store," she might read "Jill went to A store." Basically, the same thing. The meaning didn't change. And in isolation, she can certainly read the sight words "a" and "the". She's not misreading...

Except that she is. This stage is where fine print reading starts. You need to combine the new skill that new readers love - fluency - with the original skill of reading every word. 

No, no one is waiting in the wings to scam her out of a good deal or a warranty. I pray that it is a long time before she's buying a car or signing a lease.

But careful reading is a skill that we all need to have, whether we're six or ... no longer six. And it might be frustrating to slow down to get it right, but it's much better than a frustrating phone call when you realize that your six year old probably could have saved you the trouble.

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