Posted in Dillan's Strengths


Lover of Books. Dillan as a baby. 2003

Like most babies, Dillan had toy books. But most of the time they were used as cloth bibs. When he was little, a typical day included time in the playroom––alone or with his brothers. Dillan was a cheerful boy.

The first time I noticed something different about Dillan, his oldest brother, Xiang, was four; his second older brother, Jie, was three.

Xiang––a preschooler at the time––was learning the alphabets. I taught him how to read and write, preparing him for kindergarten. When I worked individually with Xiang on his early childhood literacy development, Dillan and Jie got to enjoy their free-playing time. Sometimes they shared the same desk with Xiang, drawing or coloring or doing a puzzle. Always they were next to me.

Dillan (center) with his two brothers. 2004

One early morning I went to Dillan’s room to see if he’d awaken, and was shocked to find him standing on his crib mattress, reading a picture book, out loud, on his own. And he made no mistakes. I knew. I’d read that very book to all my boys numerous times and I’d had the entire book memorized.

That morning when I found Dillan reading on his own, he’d barely turned two.


Allison Merrill is a full-time mother and a writer.

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