Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Reading is so important

Even the average newspaper reporter seems concerned about the current trends in education. And, while I don't generally agree with anything a newspaper prints on their opinion page, we actually do what he suggests. Right now, at 6:30am, Mary is reading aloud to Charlie on the sofa and doing a very fine job with different voices for the various characters, just like I have done for the past 8 years. Practice makes perfect!
"I was dismayed but not overly surprised to learn that the National Assessment of Educational Progress recently found that the reading skills of high school seniors tested in 2005 were significantly worse than those who were tested in 1992.
This comes on the heels of a study conducted over a year earlier by the National Center for Educational Statistics, which discovered that proficiency in reading among college graduates had declined in the past decade. How does one explain these things, considering that our nation spends billions of dollars on public education?
It is not too difficult to discern possible reasons for this state of affairs. There is the dumbing-down of far too much of public schooling itself...
Beyond that, over the past half-century or more we have evolved from a society rooted in the written word to a society which is image-based — and those images are constantly changing and shifting, almost never permanent.
The printed page has given way to MTV, "Mortal Kombat," and MySpace. And though words are to be found on computer screens, their existence is somewhat precarious, floating through cyberspace rather than firmly contained in bound volumes. Of course there is also text messaging, in which misspellings are the norm and the literacy deficit is abundantly demonstrated.
So what is to be done? It would certainly help if parents would take time to read to their young children, and do all they can to encourage a love for reading quality books as they grow older. For those who are up to the challenge, home-schooling should be considered an option for offsetting the negative trends in the larger society. ...I would suggest that parents seriously work to limit the role the television and computer play in their lives and their kids' lives. There should really be only one television set per household, and the computer should be confined to a special place where parents can easily supervise their young charges.
...The paramount concern here is not only that the young person knows how to read competently, but is also able to reflect upon what he reads, and apply his skills to addressing basic problems of life."

1 comment:

Milehimama said...

Well, I guess we're covered! We only have one TV and the computer is in the play room/school room, which is our converted dining room, so I can blog while I keep an eye on what the kids are doing. And blog while I am making dinner. And while they are finishing their work...
Blogging counts as reading, right? LOL

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