Chrstmas Spirit

Chrstmas Spirit
My wife and kids having a little holiday fun

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures (Reading Between the Lines)

Good morning to all.  Today's blog is on reading.  This is the most important subject in education and it's an essential skill for all children.  The importance of reading can not be understated.  I also believe in the following saying: All readers may not be leaders; but all leaders are readers. 

One complaint that is common in our educational system is kids do not read on grade level.  I found this to be true for between 50% and 75% of my class depending on the year.  The first thing you should know is from my experiences, schools/teachers are working their hearts out to teach reading.  Unfortunately, they don't produce the results we'd like to see.  Schools generally block an hour to an hour and a half on various reading skills alone.  This does not even incorporate reading in other disciplines such as math or science.  I'm not sure what more we can expect teachers to do based on the current school model.

Regular readers of this blog know I don't like to completely depend on the school system.  It's not that teachers are unqualified.  It's certainly not the amount of money given to schools.  It's simply due to the teacher/student ratio.  The job has always been too enormous for teachers when they don't have solid parental help.

If you know someone who has a child who struggles with reading, the following will give parents part of the story with my own children.  I'd strongly encourage my readers to pass it along.

If you are new to the blog, here's some insight about my kids.  My oldest son has tested in the top 1% nationally in reading on two different tests.  My youngest son is behind with his speech because it was discovered he had fluid in his ears.  It's estimated by doctors he may have not been able to hear well for months.  Regardless, the fluid is clear now and his speech along with his reading have skyrocketed.  Because he is three, he hasn't been formally tested.  Based on what I've seen, by the time his reading is tested; the results should be very positive.  The following three ideas have been implemented with great success.   
First, I used my library.  This option alone, if used properly, can skyrocket test scores for most kids.  The librarians are trained well and can lead you in the right direction to find books suitable for your child- no matter their level.  Obviously, it's free.  There's very few excuses to not regularly visit a library.  What should also be obvious is if other children are regularly using a library and your child is not; it would be equivalent to running a race and giving the competition a significant head start.  Why would you do that?

Second, I subscribe to a newspaper.  I hide the front page if it's not suitable for children and read the rest every morning.  It's critical my kids catch me reading. They look up to me and all I do (and don't do).  If I didn't read, they could catch on and follow in my footsteps.  Though a newspaper subscription may not be essential; children had better catch you reading if you expect them to take it seriously. 

Third, books are strategically located in my home.  Books can be located in the playroom, in their bathrooms, in the dining room, and in their bedrooms.  No matter where they are, my boys have access to books and don't have to work at all to find them.  In my opinion, books are as essential to knowledge as food is to nourishment.    

Next Monday, my plan is to give you another look inside my home to see how reading is promoted.  For now, please consider the three suggestions given carefully.  I wish you the best!

Also, Wednesday's behavior blog will focus on San Francisco's banning of the Happy Meal toys.  Both sides will be presented and discussed.  In the end, it seems to come down to one word---No, I am not giving it away yet!!!   See you Wednesday.   

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