More thoughts on reading

My son said his first word yesterday. No, it wasn’t “mommy.” It was “doggy.” In fact, he has been saying “dadoo” for weeks now, and we assumed he was talking about my husband. But, now it seems he’s always been referring to the dog.

The reason I mention this is that it caused me to think about the process of learning speach. Our society takes it for granted that kids will learn to speak by being surrounded by speach.  In other words, in this one area, we TRUST our kids to learn what they need for life. We don’t have speaking programs, and we certainly don’t break the words down into sounds. (Can you imagine the lunacy of that? “Can you say ‘da’? Now say ‘aw.’ Okay, now say ‘ghee.’ Now put it together… da aw ghee… doggy! Good!”)

Maybe, to make a point, I should come out with a video series that requires chilren to listen for 15 minutes every day while I sound out the alphabet. We could teach oral phonics.  Why learn something naturally, when you could call it “education” and learn it unnaturally?  All you have to do is take something out of its context, break it up into arbitrary pieces, and teach it completely separated from the rest of human knowledge and experience. 

So, if this “educational product” would be considered ridiculous by most, why are the myriad of reading programs and curricula (yes, actual worksheets and school-like lessons for 3 and 4 year olds) dominating the market? Parents have completely bought the propaganda that if they don’t force their child to read before school, they will be hopelessly behind for the rest of their lives. And you know what is kind of scary? There is some truth to that. But, that’s another topic. For a post that I’m not writing at midnight.

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2 Comments on "More thoughts on reading"

  1. Susan Gaissert
    12/03/2010 at 1:23 pm Permalink

    I like this post. I just saw the film “The Miracle Worker’ the other day and, in it, Annie Sullivan, Helen Keller’s teacher, explains that she is signing words to Helen to immerse her in them, regardless of whether Helen knows the meaning of the words. and. of course, that’s how we all learn to speak. We hear words and live them and, eventually, we speak them.

    It is scary that not reading very early puts one behind in school, possibly forever. Kind of makes school ridiculous, doesn’t it? (I think so. )

    Thanks for listing my blog on your page.

    Take care,

  2. Cassi
    12/03/2010 at 2:42 pm Permalink

    I completely agree, Susan. I just heard a speaker touting her early reading wares, and she said that if kids don’t read by 2nd grade, they will continue to fall behind their peers and will be placed in remedial programs (forever carrying that label). She was using this as a reason to buy her reading book, but I saw it as a reason not to buy into the school system.

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