Friday, January 25, 2019

It's Up to Us

Here are the startling facts from Jim Trelease's The Read Aloud Handbook:

  • 54% of kids in 5th grade read something for pleasure every day
  • 30% of kids in 8th grade
  • 19% of kids in 12th grade (The Read Aloud Handbook, pg. 1)
He also shows that, not surprisingly, when we stop reading to kids aloud is when they lose interest in reading.

Trelease also points out that a "child spends 900 hears a year in school and 7,800 hours outside the school. Which teacher has the bigger influence? Where is more time available for change?" (The Read Aloud Handbook, xvii) 

It's easy to make assumptions about what schools should or should not be teaching. It's easy to assume that all it takes is a passionate teacher or the right school. It's easy because those are, at least to some extent, out of our control as parents.

But let's look at what is in our control: us. Not our kids, not the decisions they make, not how they act in public, but us and our actions. 

If we want to see change, we have to man (or woman) up and do it. 

I recently heard a friend speak to our local MOPS group about how terrified people are about where to send their kids to kindergarten. With twenty years of teaching experience, she reassured us, "It doesn't matter where they go to kindergarten. It's the home that matters." And while that reassurance might not make some of us worry, it SHOULD make us realize what is most important: namely, the values and principles that we encourage and instill in our kids at home. One of those should be a passion for reading.

Because no matter how good the school is or how good the teacher is, if we aren't promoting reading at home, then, according to statistics, we won't raise up readers.

Let's stop blaming teachers and schools for poor reading scores and instead do what we know will have the most influence: read to them at home. 


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