In Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, how does Freak describe reading and writing?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Philbrick's Freak the Mighty, Maxwell has a difficult time learning, so his grandparents sign him up for the resource classes. When Freak discovers that his big friend is not as skilled at reading and writing as he is, he jumps to the task of teaching him. Freak starts out by telling Max stories such as those of King Arthur and his knights. There are words in Freak's daily speech that Max doesn't understand, though. Freak then decides that Max needs to learn to break words down into parts and how to look them up in a dictionary for his own personal edification. At Christmas Freak constructs his own dictionary with his favorite words as a gift for Max. Everything that Freak teaches him really sinks in because of how much he believes in Max.

Then, when Max is allowed to join Freak in his smart classes, the teachers demand a lot from him. Freak tells him not to worry because he will help him through every assignment. Max does his best to learn what Freak teaches him, but what he remembers most is the following:

"Like Freak says, reading is just a way of listening, and I could always listen, but writing is like talking, and that's a whole other ball game" (82).

This helps to simplify things in Max's mind. Max can easily listen just as well as he can talk. If he simply transfers these skills to reading and writing, his academic abilities should develop more quickly.