Archives For Reading

frustrated-college-student 2

 

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.

WRONG.

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.”

–Neil Gaiman

 

 

Have you encountered this kind of situation?
Why don’t people read to their children?
Talk to me. I’m listening.

 

Ooh! I have a Facebook page! Come over and like me so I can have friends without ever leaving the house.

I’m also on Instagram

wu-tang221113

The real title to this blog entry is “How Reading Saved My Life.”

Fat chance you were going to check that out, Sean and Don.

I’ve decided to embrace the whole “Google search term” thing.

No use fighting it, or trying to class it up with highbrow intellectual titles.

Nope. I’m giving EVERY BLOG POST a lascivious title.

Otherwise, how will I continue to attract the meritorious people of the Interwebz who are looking for,

“wife is always dry with me but if she reed sex stories she gets wet.”

(this is just a guess, pal – but maybe she would be a little moister if you weren’t a complete illiterate).

But now that you’re here, stick around. I promise to jazz up the story with the pottymouthed language and sexual innuendos you come here to read.

Because I led you on, I’ll provide sordid details of  my deflowerication at the end.

Which did not happen, contrary to the post image, with the Wu Tang clan “en masse” (French for gang-bang.)

I wasn’t always the Happening Chick you see in my saucy gravatar.

saucy gravatar

saucy gravatar

I grew up on Staten Island, the forgotten borough.

The New York subway system doesn’t run there.

You get there via the Staten Island Ferry, which is like the Love Boat – only when you get off, you find out you have herpes.

I've always thought the ferry looked like the cover of a Doors album

I’ve always thought the ferry looked like the cover of a Doors album

I lived in one of the worst housing projects in all of NYC – The Stapleton Projects.

I had this lovely view just outside my front door.

So cosy- like Auschwitz.

So cosy- like Auschwitz.

We were one of the very few white families residing there.

Stapleton was made famous as the birthplace of the Wu-Tang Clan.

They were a hardcore gangsta rap group, back in the day when gangsta rap meant you had a prison tattoo and an unlicensed gun, not a trust fund and a beach house.

Staten Islanders believe the Wu Tang symbol is their own private bat signal

Staten Islanders believe the Wu Tang symbol is their own private bat signal

In case you’re wondering why we grew up there – my dad was a cop, and we moved there when the projects were built for city workers.

Unfortunately, dad died, leaving mom with six of us.

The projects morphed into Section 8 welfare housing, and mom couldn’t afford to move us out.

So there I was… a skinny nerdy white girl growing up in a gangsta rap video.

Pippi Longstocking meets Ghostface Killah.

Even I long to beat this child up.

Even I long to beat this child up.

I got my butt kicked on a regular basis.  Learned how to project fight – “hit them hard, fast, and FROM BEHIND.”

Being tough – awesome.

Feeling like an outsider your entire childhood – not so much.  I was desperate to find an escape.

So I read.

Constantly, because we were poor and books were available.

Fuck you, we had an elephant.

Fuck you, we had an elephant.

I didn’t know it yet, but I was actually working on one of the defining characteristics of my life –

RAISING MY CONSCIOUSNESS.

At 9, I tried to wrap my brain around “A Wrinkle In Time.”

A bizarre science fiction masterpiece of Inter-dimensional time travel, quantum physics, and plucky heroine Meg Murray fighting the iconic battle of good vs. evil.

Meg – trapped and unseen in a family of brothers, wild curly hair, braces, glasses. too smart for her friends, alienated at a young age by her lack of patience for utter BULLSHIT.

She was ME. My literary doppelgänger.

Reading A Wrinkle in Time is similar to taking a hit of really strong blotter acid.

This book twisted my mind up to where 35 years later, it has still not fully recovered.

download

But in a GOOD way.

A New York City program allowed poor slum kids to obtain their working papers at 13.

Yes. Isn’t that enviable? Instead of attending rainbow parties at 13,

Yeah, No.

Yeah, No. Not this kind.

like the entitled brats where I now live, I was told,

“Happy birthday! Now get a job!”

My first job –

The Public Library. Surprise, surprise.

The library owned every banned, highly coveted  book – but did not circulate them.

The banned book has a longstanding and ludicrous history.

Did you know that the innocuous Where’s Waldo was banned?

Amongst those thousands of characters a tiny woman on the beach showed microscopic side boob.

Some degenerate with a magnifying glass and a propensity for comic book erections actually found this.

The library sequestered all illicit books away in a super-duper top-secret file named “Banned Books.

I cleverly unearthed these nuggets of literary rebellion.

And read every motherfucker in that file.

I discovered On the Road by Jack Kerouac. It’s an American classic of crazy adventure and freedom.

It’s positively riddled with drugs, jazz, drugs, sex, and drugs.

I tore through Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.

Naked Lunch? This isn’t really a novel; it’s a twisted series of disturbing, drug ridden, sexually explicit vignettes.

Burroughs wrote it while living in Tangiers, in a one-room apartment above a male whorehouse, strung out on smack and male prostitutes.

Awesome.

I’ve decided to go the next school board meeting and demand that they put these on high school reading list.

Naked Lunch must be made part of the new “Common Core.”

common-core

The ONLY reason to see “The Notebook.” There is no reason to read it.

We finally moved when I was in high school.  *sigh of relief*

Were you hoping for the happy ending?

Not. So. Fast.

Back in those days,  if you were “bright,” you got “skipped.”

The misguided educators actually put you a grade ahead with kids a year older, forgetting about social, emotional, psychological and physical (especially physical) development.

I also have an end of the year birthday, so I was almost 2 years younger than most kids in my grade.

Get the picture? No more scary gangsta projects.

Instead, we’re talking TRAINING BRA in the GYM LOCKER ROOM.

I think my pal Ghostface Killah did less damage to my psyche.

So, guess what I did to heal all those psychic hits on my ego?

Yep.  I read.

Alongside Holden Caulfield, I gave “phonies” the metaphorical finger.

I still do. Some things never change.

I found a new doppelgänger in Lorraine in The Pigman – zero self confidence, intense desire to write, compulsive pathological liar…

(Am I? There’s lots of speculation in the blog world on THAT one hehe).

I knew the loss and alienation of “Anonymous,” the 15-year-old author of Go Ask Alice.

SHIT GOT REAL WITH THIS BOOK, YO.

This book had been banned for its graphic depiction of homelessness, prostitution, rape, and a stint in a mental institution,

everything this girl endures once she becomes addicted to drugs.

Her family finally rescues her.

And then…the Epilogue.

The frickin’ Epilogue (SPOILER ALERT) tells us that 3 weeks later, she’s found dead of a drug overdose at her parent’s home.

I was shattered.

The only chance you have of surviving the pain of being different is to find like minded souls- even if they only exist in books.

The true gift is this – reading will raise your consciousness.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of letting society determine your values.

No one wants to be the one who doesn’t fit in.

I know – hell, I live that shit.

So, you can do/look/be/act like everyone else.

Or you can RAISE YOUR CONSCIOUSNESS.

And possibly make a difference in this world.

You can expand your mind, one book at a time.

Luckily for me, I shed the nerdy cocoon in college. Or maybe, it was just cool to be nerdy.

Either way  – in college, I really hit my stride and began my outward development into the deeply hip woman you now see before you.

Just remember – I created her.

One book at a time.

Oh, right!  The virginity thing.

I promised if you stuck around, I’d get into it at the end.

I lied, perverts.

Go read a book.

Were you a nerd, or a cool kid? Did you “fit in?”
What were your favorite books when you were growing up?
Talk to me.  I’m listening.

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