Reading with Covid: An Acrostic in Isolation

Editor Linda Jane Keegan and her whānau are struck down with Covid. Reading never stop in this household though, and Linda Jane shares how her seven-year-old (couch-ridden for two days and now bouncing off the walls) keeps up with the written word in the most refined art style she knows: the acrostic poem.

R is for Race Car Drivers

Roaring down the track, PS4 controller in hand, this child can read all the race car driver names as he bests me in every race.

E is for Eddie’s Office

They are making a video game in there together, and the seven-year-old is reading all the moves, magic points, and character names. Something goes boom or crash or something I don’t know but they’re doing it over there and I am over here in bed.

Image description: Child sitting in an office chair pointing to a computer screen with a dragon-like and a duck-like creature on a white background.

A is for Activity Books

Look, a dot-to-dot book is still a book, and reading numbers is still reading. And look! It’s a turtle. Turtle was his first word! And now look at him drawing a turtle by reading numbers. #proudmum #blessed

Image description: Dot-to-dot activity page with a completed turtle drawn with a blue pen from dots numbered 1 to 101.

D is for Dragons

Kiddo reads all the chapter titles while I read to him through a blocked nose and noisy breaths, and he knows all the different kind of dragons, and you know what, two books in and I’m pretty invested in finding out the motives of the Talons of Peace, what the heck is going on in the Nightwing Kingdom, and can Starflight read minds after all??

I is for Icing Sugar

He can read the label written in Vivid on a Tupperware in the top of the pantry but don’t worry he can get a chair and find it to sprinkle on his popcorn and no you absolutely cannot eat it on the couch okay fine I guess you can eat it on the couch.

N is for Netflix

Not only is N a letter that he can read, he can read the names of the shows he wants to watch and even type into the search bar! He’s basically a genius.

G is for Goosebumps Card Game

It’s like Story Cubes but for 90s kids sitting outside their classrooms making up “spooky” stories as a break from madlibs-style storytelling with characters like the Hanson brothers and Justin Timberlake. The small human and I came up with some stories of questionable narrative and then he picked three cards to write his own very in-depth story, pictured below.

Image description: Child’s writing book opened to a page with the words written “My brother has a puppy”, a child’s pencil drawing of a puppy eating a slice of pizza, and three Goosebumps card game cards, one with a kid brother, a puppy, and a slice of pizza. There is also a stack of facedown Goosebumps cards next to the drawing.
cartoon character with long hair smiling

Linda Jane is the lead editor of The Sapling, a parent, and a writer of picture books, poetry, and other tidbits. Her background is varied, including work in ecology, environmental education, summer camps, and a community newspaper. She is Singaporean-Pākehā, queer, and loves leaping into cold bodies of water.