Saturday, September 23, 2006

Over bright and over here

Adora Svitak is an American child prodigy who has just arrived on our shores to teach the children of Britain how to read and write. Not before time either as serious numbers of British children complete school without a basic standard of literacy. Where no government has succeeded before, the Oprah approved ‘tiny literary giant’, ‘hopes to use her own success to inspire other kids to take more of an interest in reading and writing’, according to her website www.adorasvitak.com.

‘Nowadays children are lacking in reading and writing skills, and they are saying things like ‘I don't like to read' or ‘ I don't want to write.' That hurts me very much’, pines the diminutive guru.

At age eight, Adora is the author of over three hundred stories and a hundred poems and has just published her first book. At a whopping three hundred pages Flying Fingers claims to be ‘an innovative mix of fiction and instruction’, that ‘gives parents and educators access to the strategies that have been so successful with Adora’. These ‘strategies’ which her mother Joyce is so keen to promote appear to involve giving her books to read and a Dell lap-top to type on. I don’t know whether the fact that it’s a Dell is material.

Joyce has her own blog called The Wonder of Great Minds. She has two posts on it for 19th and 20th May 2006, both about the weather so perhaps Adora’s verbosity comes from her father, a blogging geek.

Flying Fingers is a collection of adventure stories, historical fiction, poetry, writing tips and a cornucopia of Adora’s learned opinions on religion, politics, media and education. Mum Joyce also contributes advice for parents on how to ‘bring out the best in their children.’ No mention of whether or not she gets a commission from Dell. The book is out this month and as the print run is only 1,000, I don’t believe J K Rowling has anything to fear in the immediate future.

As cloyingly earnest as Adora may be, she is not in the same stratosphere as her humility challenged first best friend, eleven year old Artakiane Kramarik, (artakiane.com). Like those other self-styled deities in human form that preceded her, Madonna and Prince, Artikiane goes by just her first name. Her website intones sagely,

‘I teach and they run away.

I listen and they come.

My strength is my silence.’

This is odd because Artakiane seems anything but silent. She seems to spend most of her time schlepping between television studios and silence is the one thing that television doesn’t peddle. She is claimed to be ‘the only child binary genius in both realist painting and poetry’, and has been 'selected as 1 of 20 most accomplished visual artists in the world by Tribute Entertainment (London) and ABI (United States.)' I wonder who the other nineteen are.

Artikane has been inducted into The Kids Hall of Fame. Seriously, it’s terrifyingly real. http://www.thekidshalloffame.com. Mozart, who at aged three is lumped in with precocious acting brats and toddlers obsessed with jigsaw puzzles is sadly not available for comment.

Despite Adora’s fame as a ‘writer, poet and humanitarian’, she is yet to be inducted into The Kids Hall of Fame. As she travels the world dispensing scholarly wisdom and churning out stories through the night with her ‘furious fingers’, perhaps she needs to ponder how many more humanitarian acts she needs to perform to gain her place in this coveted institution. It is sad to see a child falling short of her full potential. Adora – try harder

1 comment:

Katy said...

This reminds me of that depressing film "Spellbound" - not the one with Ingrid Bergman and wasn't it Gregory Peck? but the one where all those little kids study dictionaries ten hours a day so they can win a national spelling bee. They know all the words, but there was no sign that they had any regard for what words are capable of producing. These kids certainly don't have time to READ.

And you should have seen their parents. Oh, it was dismal.