One of those moments

So Brenna has really latched onto Pokemon. Parker loves it too, but at this age she still prefers less “noisy” shows like Clifford and Daniel Tiger. Brenna likes those too, but Pokemon is, coequally speaking, her jam. She loves all the cartoons, she loves all the adventure, and the friends doing things together, but mostly she loves the pokemon themselves. And let’s admit it, these little things are made to be cute and cool and sell toys. And booooy howdy does it work.

Add to that recipe a bunch of references that adults get in the episode titles like “Forest Grumps, “The Apple Corp,” or “One Trick Phony” and it’s no wonder it’s made its way into popular culture getting referenced nearly everywhere.

Brenna likes to play with her Pokemon cards, which we call “doing math.” We’ll say “Charizard has 100 health points. If Pikachu uses Thundershock and takes away 20 points, how many are left?” We talk about how we can ignore the zeros on the end to simplify what we’re looking at, and essentially what I’m asking is “If you have 10 apple and I take 2, how many do you have?” But we’re doing it a way that interests her far more than apples. And she’s getting pretty good. The idea of subtracting rather than adding confused her at first, as did the concept of zero, but she’s pretty good at it now with some prompting. Let me repeat this: My 4 year old asks to do math. That’s exciting.

But here’s where I had a moment… Last night Brenna was playing Pokemon on Meg’s 3DS. That itself is pretty impressive considering it’s a game for kids 7+. But Meg was showing her how to save the game. She showed her how to navigate the menu, and asked Brenna, “What’s that word?” Brenna looked and sounded it out, “Buh… Aah… G… BAG!” I looked over and realized Brenna just read, completely unassisted. She knows the word “bag,” and sounded out the letters, associated it and read it. I saw the gears turn. A bit later, “what’s that word?” “SAVE!” I admit, I teared up a bit… she’s growing up. She’s reading. I mean, not well and I’m not handing her War and Peace or anything, but she’s reading, and she’s eager to read. And yes, Meg and I are a big part of that, and certainly her school and teachers are a huge part of that. But Pokemon is encouraging her to use these skills on something she finds interesting.

Anyway, so the upshot of all this seemingly never ending Pokemon marathon of toys, tv, video games, and cards is that it’s actually teaching lessons about friendship, overcoming challenges, winning and losing with grace (which we need a lot of work on), and is reinforcing Brenna’s math and reading skills.

And I couldn’t be a prouder “Pokemon trainer” if I was Ash Ketchum himself.

See ya next time with a short one about Halloween!

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1 Comment

  1. bblide@sc.rr.com said,

    October 31, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Wow, our Brenna.! She is so smart (not too surprising) both you and Meg are also, but still. Impressive to say the least.. I am proud, happy and a little sad too–(just knowing she is growing up so fast. I want these innocent years to last forever.. Sigh. Love you, Meg, Brenna and Parker so much. Thanks for giving us so much of your time. 🙂


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