Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Four-year-old Selina Grace Rutherford reads a library book inside her home. Selina started reading when she was 3 1/2 years and isn’t allowed to watch television or a movie until she’s read a certain number of books.
Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Four-year-old Selina Grace Rutherford reads a library book inside her home. Selina started reading when she was 3 1/2 years and isn’t allowed to watch television or a movie until she’s read a certain number of books.

The Dart: Who are you going to call? Book busters

Published 12:29am Monday, February 24, 2014

NATCHEZ — Cole and Robin Rutherford believe the capabilities of a child’s mind are highly underestimated.

That’s why the couple prefers to homeschool their two children, Selina, 4, and Quintin, 1.

Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Cole Rutherford, left, shows his 1-year-old son Quintin Rutherford a “Your Baby Can Read!” card with the word “Elephant” on it,  while Quintin makes an elephant sound. Rutherford’s 4-year-old daughter, Selina Grace, started reading when she was 3 1/2 years old. “I think people underestimate what kids can do,” Rutherford said.
Brittney Lohmiller | The Natchez Democrat — Cole Rutherford, left, shows his 1-year-old son Quintin Rutherford a “Your Baby Can Read!” card with the word “Elephant” on it, while Quintin makes an elephant sound. Rutherford’s 4-year-old daughter, Selina Grace, started reading when she was 3 1/2 years old. “I think people underestimate what kids can do,” Rutherford said.

When The Dart fell on Brentwood Street Wednesday, it looked like Cole had books out to read to his child. However, it was young Selina who was reading to him.

Cole, a fireman for the City of Natchez station No. 2, said Selina started reading clearly at three years old, and it comes from the help of “Your Baby Can Read!” and other teaching methods.

“We were given the packet, and she started with the word cards, and we would go through them,” Cole said.

Now, Selina has a book list, and she has to read a certain amount of books to get entertainment time.

Reading one book gets her television time, and reading three books gets her movie time.

When it comes to movie time, Cole can pretty much guess what movie Selina will pick.

“She loves the Ghostbusters,” he said. “Of course, we’ve edited some scenes out.”

Selina said she couldn’t count how many times she’s seen the 1984 movie, which was re-released on DVD in 1999.

But it was evident that it is more than most adults.

“My favorite character is Ray (played by Dan Akyroyd),” Selina stated with no hesitation.

Her love for Ghostbusters became so great, Cole and Robin decided to give Selina the ultimate birthday/Halloween present last year as her birthday falls in October.

“We had a friend that could sew make the outfit for her with her name on it (Rutherford), and I made the (ghost trap) while at work,” Cole said.

Selina now walks around her house, sporting her custom-made Ghostbusters uniform and ghost trap, catching the apparitions on the lose.

But most importantly, Selina is well aware of what is real and what is just movie magic.

“It’s just pretend,” she said.

Quitin has his own costume as well, though he’s not aware he plays the bad guy in the picture.

Robin had a Marshmallow Man costume made for Quitin the same Halloween, and Selina was quick to take out her ghost trap and blast what was once her brother.

“I thought she would be really surprised, but she just grabbed her wand from the machine and pointed it at him,” Robin said. “It was so cute.”

Quitin is following in the footsteps of Selina.

As a toddler, Quitin is able to decipher word cards and communicate with Cole.

When a card shows a picture of an elephant, he makes the trumpet-like noise. He knows to growl like a tiger when the animal is displayed and point to his mouth when the body part is shown.

Robin said the word cards are instrumental as the first steps for a toddler to learn to read.

“The word cards help make the association that the words actually mean something,” she said.

Cole said his ultimate goal is to make learning fun for his children.

“We want to enable her to do what she is capable of doing,” Cole said. “We don’t want to push too hard or too fast, but we want her to reach her full potential.”

The Rutherfords plan to homeschool their children until they feel it is time to take them to school.