child driven learning

Learning to read was hard for Cass.  Interpreting the written word is far different from interpreting body language, and Cass’s brain is wired differently as a result of her abusive childhood.  But after Cass had to ask Steph to read a ransom note aloud in order to continue chasing down criminals (Batgirl vol. 2), she realized that knowing how to read would be useful.

[Batgirl #67]

Because of Cass’s learning disability, it takes her a long time to make significant progress.  Babs coaches her and explores different methods of learning, and eventually Cass is able to read full length novels (albeit slowly).  When Cass did learn how to read, she fell in love with books.  A well-written book is far less predictable than a person, and Cass loved how words seemed to make places and characters come alive in her head.  She would read anything from historical fiction to high fantasy, but quickly became able to tell when a story was poorly written.  The characters would seem less real, and the words wouldn’t flow as easily.  Cass began to spend a lot of free time in the library, and Babs would point out good books that she remembered from her time as a librarian.  Tim also had quite a repertoire of books from his childhood, since he needed something to entertain himself with when his parents were away.  He let Cass have free reign of his collection and gave her recommendations.  The rest of the batfamily also began to gift her books that they enjoyed when they learned about her new passion.

Cass never grew tired of how written words could somehow transform into people as though personalities were interwoven into pages.  She marveled at how she could spend hours completely immersed in a story, oblivious to the world around her (or as oblivious as she can get with her skills).  Books had opened up entire worlds for her.  She secretly hoped that someday she would be able to create worlds of her own.