Not YOUR teenager, of course. Your kid can read.
Are you sure? Stop reading this right now. Call your high school kid in, grab a book, and ask him/her to read it aloud.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
One out of four of you will be heartbroken.
Your first mistake was assuming school took care of that.
Today, I sat with a boy who is going into his senior year of high school. He struggled with word recognition. He couldn’t pronounce or understand most words over 2 syllables.
Before you assume he’s a minority living in a low socioeconomic area, he’s a very white child in a very upscale suburban neighborhood. His father is an attorney. He goes to an exclusive private school.
He is functionally illiterate.
He was never fully diagnosed with a specific learning disability, nor was his reading concern addressed. He does get extra time for all school and standardized testing, but how will that help him? You could give him an entire day, and he still won’t be able to pronounce nor recognize the word “adequate.”
What can you do at this stage? If your reading impaired child is preparing to apply to college? (Applications that you, no doubt, will be heavily assisting with.)
I really don’t know.
The sad truth is, most kids who are really not “college material,” still go. Even if your kid can’t read, he or she will still likely to be able to attend and graduate college, providing it’s not a top-tier university. How is that possible? Again – I don’t know. I’m not there. Maybe, the same extensive cheating that enabled them to pass all required high school subjects?
You could save that money you put aside for his education, and perhaps buy him a Jiffy Lube franchise. People will always need their oil changed. I have a friend who owns 108 of them. He’s a bazillionaire.
If she’s a girl, maybe sending her off to college is not such a terrible idea. Do a little demographic research, and ship her off to a school with a wealthy incoming freshman class. Invest a little money in her grooming and wardrobe so she looks cute all the time. Hopefully, she’ll snare a rich husband and this whole “not reading” thing will become a moot issue.
Because basically, at this stage of the game? In terms of your child becoming a proficient reader? Unless he or she really WANTS it, you’re screwed.
And You Have No One to Blame But Yourself
In theory, it’s the school’s job to make sure every student is reading proficiently. But in reality, there are 25 or more kids in an elementary school class where I live. It’s impossible for one teacher to keep tabs on every student.
As they go up in grades, this benign neglect transforms into something more toxic. In high school, the only kids who get any attention are at the very top and the very bottom of the class. The boy I discussed at the beginning of this story? He’s a B student, and not the focus of anyone’s attention. All the kids in the middle are just nudged through, one grade at a time.
If they did detect a problem at school, then there are services provided for the students. But if they didn’t? Or if you didn’t?
These kids just got pushed through.
Making sure your kid can read is YOUR responsibility as a parent.
I’m sure many of you have your hackles up over that one. Considering how much of your tax dollars go towards education, why should YOU take over this job?
Because, look what happens when parents don’t manage their child’s education!
WE GET ILLITERATE KIDS!
It has to be SOMEONE’S responsibility. YOU birthed them. At the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of the 12 years, they leave school. But they’re your kids, full-time, for your entire life.
So I am hereby delegating every one of you who has a child to take an active role in whether your child can read.
STOP YOUR STUPID EXCUSES
When Little Dude was a really little dude, I read to him every single night. From the time he was an infant, actually, up until he was about 9 and started reading on his own every night. I essentially turned him into a little reading machine, which I plan to write about in detail.
I’m not some kind of super parent. Trust me, I’m fucking him up in all sorts of ways. Just not when it comes to reading.
So many of my friends complained that they simply couldn’t do this, what with having three kids. And perhaps only parent present at bedtime.
These are the same parents who have to juggle those three kids in 18 different after school activities. Someone has to get Johnny to his private golf lesson while Katie trains for her equestrian trophy and Spencer practices underwater hockey. When it comes to extracurricular activities, parents will enlist anyone – grandma, a neighbor, frenemies – to tote these kids around.
Get creative when it comes to getting your little ones read to at bedtime! Do it in shifts.
FIGURE IT OUT!
And if they don’t like books, and reading? MAKE THEM LIKE IT.
Act out the characters. Engage them.
it’s not just about doing well in school, although reading is everything there. It’s about nurturing their imagination, building their creativity, and expanding their understanding of everything around them.
Teach your kids that through reading, that they can be inspired, and enchanted. They can travel the world; explore the galaxy –
one book at a time.
“A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.”
Have you encountered this kind of situation?
Why don’t people read to their children?
Talk to me. I’m listening.
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