Many, many times when I have suggested titles for students in their later years (by which I mean high school), I have gotten the, “Oh, I read that in fifth grade,” comment. It is frequently accompanied by the vaguely superior attitude that tends to distinguish a precocious reader.
In response, I have this to say: Reading something as a child is not the same as reading it in high school (or later). Yes, the words are the same, the characters are the same, and the plot is the same, but you, dear reader, are not.
The Chronicles of Narnia series, by C.S. Lewis, is a classic example of this. Easily digested as a fairy tale in one’s early years, in the hands of a teenager, it can boggle the mind with its innuendo and double meaning. So can The Hobbit. And Watership Down. And practically every other book not exclusively intended for the younger crowd.
Even when perfectly capable of understanding the words and following a complex plot, the preadolescent reader (even a gifted one) just doesn’t have the maturity to recognize the nuance and subtlety embedded in most literature.
Think I’m wrong? Dust one off and read it again.