Learn To Read OR Watch What Happens!

Most rollercoasters are fun, right? But a child who doesn't learn to read is on a rollercoaster that crashes. While researching for this article, I read a number of articles about the consequences of not reading well, and while I think these were polite, encouraging, and hopeful, I really think they fell short of the mark. So here's my take on the problem. People who don't or can't read (Really, it's about the same thing.)

  •  sound ignorant and aren't respected.
  •  cannot control their own lives
  •  don't think clearly or critically 
  •  cannot write well and have nothing important to say

There, that's better. Those children of yours who will inevitably become adults are in for a world of hurt if they don't learn to read. And right now, parents, (since you're in charge of them) it's your job to see they learn to read. 

If you homeschool, you have a better chance of being successful than if you leave them in the babysitting institution, A.K.A., the public school system,

But a child doesn't just learn to read between the hours of 8 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. Reading is a lifelong journey. In fact, a good metaphor for reading is to compare it to breathing.

Your poor children won't die as fast, but it is a death-- a slow and painful one every day of their lives. So let's review:

...Ignorant and Disrespected

You've met these types of people.They're everywhere.  Everything they say is LOUD (of course) and shallow like sound bites or blurbs on a billboard. Why? Because that's what influences them. They are lacking insight and depth just like most television programs. Remember, TV is for entertainment, not serious evaluation.

A smart person can tell how poorly educated a person is within a couple of minutes just by listening to the person talk? Did that person ever learn to read? Nope, I don't think so. 

Why were buttons with pictures invented in fast food restaurants? So ignorant people who didn't learn to read and think could get it right. And minimum wage reflects the disrespect that the company has for these people. 

...Can't Control Their Own Lives

Books can change people's lives FOR THE BETTER, so they aren't rudderless. Books bounce ideas off people's brains. Children and adults who don't read are little more than floating bottles in the ocean, tossed about by the numerous storms that are inescapable. 

Here are some synonyms for aimless that I found at dictionary.com:

goalless, irresolute, pointless, accidental, frivolous, undirected, drifting, careless, blind.

These certainly aren't words that I want directed toward my children. How about yours?

...Don't Think Clearly or Critically

Let's brainstorm this. What sorts of things happen to people who don't think well? They usually

  • remain poor because they can't evaluate whether something pitched at them is a good deal or a waste of money. (You're familiar with "a fool and his money are soon parted.")
  • Don't recognize propaganda, which is everywhere.
  • Have few options other than “Go along to get along”
  • They are afraid to “ trust anyone” because they haven't learned to recognize truth. I found this especially true of the teenagers I taught for 25 years. I regularly had to remind them that I wasn't totally evil, and they could believe at least a few of the things I was trying to teach them.

By the time kids make it to high school, they have caught on to the fact that school has an agenda for them, but they are either too lazy, too intoxicated, or drugged by poor nutrition and other substances to create a proactive agenda for themselves. So they hate and distrust everything out of fear and ignorance.

By the way, this at least partially accounts for the rise in gangs in America. Kids, at a fearful, subconscious level, recognize they need some kind of help, so they hook up with (See how I used a colloquial expression there?) and jump in (another one) a gang that will "protect them."

I mean, really, if a person can read and think for herself, does she really need to associate with a group that will eventually lead to criminal activity and possible incarceration. Ask any prisoner now, if his or her reading skills were better, would they have made better choices?

...Can't Write Well and Have Nothing To Say

After 25 plus years of forcing teenagers to write 300 to 500-word essays, I have learned that if they never learned to read, they can't write anything worth reading. They haven't gained the benefit of other people's thoughts and opinions, so they haven't processed them into their own ideas and beliefs. 

Oh, they can put 500 words on paper, but it's just babble, mush, or gruel. Their writing is composed of simple sentence patterns full of circular reasoning like the  Campbell's soup phrase:  "It tastes good because it's good for you." Words like "sorta, like,"  and "you know" flow with abandon in their speech and writing.

 I knew they were not readers because they could not expound beyond the couple of ideas their mushy brains could concoct. Don't get me wrong, I loved teaching teenagers; in fact, it was my privilege, but they should have known how to read long before they walked into my 11th grade classroom.

SOLUTIONS: The Good Parents' To Do List

  • Parents must read to their children.
  • Parents must allow their children to see them reading.
  • Parents must provide reading material for their children. 
  • Parents must take away distractions from reading. ( You can cut the TV cord in their bedrooms, you know. Even if it's their TV, it's your electricity, house, etc.)
  • Parents must ask questions and discuss reading with their children. 

Parents are the answer.They always have been and they always will be. 

Click here to begin helping your child learn to read. 

Click here if you would like to learn more about a Lexile test for your child. 

To read my other recent blogs on reading, click here. 

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