Las Vegas Sun

August 30, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

Make reading a priority at home

I am writing in regards to the new star rating for Clark County’s struggling schools. Statistics show 81 percent of Las Vegas high school students are not passing the Algebra I exam, and 50 percent of elementary and middle school students are not reading and writing at grade level. This is not a problem with the school. The problem lies with the lack of reading in the home.

Parents cannot expect their children to gain proficiency in reading with the little reading that is done during school hours. Reading needs to be part of home life. Parents should read to their children every night, seven nights a week, until their children start to read books by themselves, at about second grade. When children are proficient at reading, all other school subjects become easier for them because they comprehend the instruction, even Algebra I. When your child says, “I don’t like to read,” that should be the parent’s wake-up call; it is time for them to teach by doing. Reading is a leisure activity, done for pleasure, and every parent can use more of that.

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  1. I agree with the letter writer. When parents, guardians, and/or mentors take an active interest with students in their academic success and achievement, the students inevitably excel. Reading is the key that opens the door for students into their future.

    Carmine D

  2. Enjoyed the letter. Reading is important.

    My father always told me, son, you need to read...don't matter what it is...comic book, dictionary, adventure, War and Peace, don't matter how big or how small, and if you learn one new word as a result of each and every time you read something, you'll be that much better off.

    He was right then. And he's still right.

    As a matter of fact, I am still a voracious reader.

    I am proud to say I still use the very first edition of FaceBook.

    I buy a book.

    I stick my face in it.

    I read.

    And I'm not changing.

  3. That would be a excellent idea except for the fact that Las Vegas is a 24 hour city with 3 different working shifts. Not everyone has a 9-5 job and can be home to help young children with their learning skills,such as reading. A lot of parents also have to work weekends when children are home from school, and this would be a perfect time for children to be with their parents for just that, (reading).

  4. airweare,
    I agree with what you are have said.I pointed out the difference between Las Vegas and most other cities in our country,where most parents work 9-5 and are off on weekends.No disrespect to the teachers or the parents,but it is what it is.

  5. Dr. Ben Carson, the head of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, was raised by a single mother who was unable to read and write English. She instilled in both Ben and his sister the need for education and reading while she worked at two jobs to support them. They never knew she was unable to read and write. She refused any government assistance saying it leads to dependence. She subsequently learned to read and write after her children were well advanced in their academics and she was awarded an honorary college degree.

    Carmine D

  6. Reading is becoming a lost art. Far to many people get their information from watching television or movies. Ask a younger person about "The 300" and the answer will be the latest Hollywood version of Spartan history. The same applies to other distorted versions of history. I've read some statistics claiming adult illteracy is about 14%, but my personal observations suggest it is higher than most might believe.

    As long as we have people thinking privatization is the answer to education we can expect things not to get any better. Unions is not the problem causing poor education, lack of funds and qualified teachers is the problem. Who wants to teach in an overcrowded environment that pays little and where teachers use their own money to buy school supplies? Add the fact that teaching has become large scale baby sitting with just a handful of parents engaged in their chidrens welfare, and we get what we now call education.

    Solutions can be found, but only if everyone concerned recognizes just how bad the problem is.

  7. "Early life

    Carson was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was raised by his single mother, Sonya Carson.[1] He struggled academically throughout elementary school and emotionally with his temper. But after his mother reduced his television time and required him to read two books a week and produce written reviews for her, he started to excel in middle school and throughout high school. After graduating with honors from Southwestern High School, he attended Yale University, where he earned a degree in psychology. He chose to go to Yale because in College Bowl, an old knowledge competition television program, he saw Yale compete against and defeat many other colleges, including Harvard. Carson wanted to participate in College Bowl, but the program was discontinued. From Yale, he attended University of Michigan Medical School, where he attained his M.D."

    Carmine D

  8. "The part that may be especially surprising to the reader is that Dr. Benjamin Carson was raised in poverty by a single mother. She was married when she was 13 years old, according to his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, and she only had a 3rd grade education. She was divorced soon after her marriage when she discovered her husband was a bigamist. So, it is certain that there was no prep school or country club for young Benjamin Carson. Yet, Benjamin Carson credits his mother's belief in him as the reason for his success."

    Carmine D

  9. Adults and siblings can show younger kids how to read street signs, how to sound out the words AND how the pictorials relate to the words. We can show kids how to read food packaging to identify what is in the package and what is in the food. Cookies with raisins or with chips?

  10. We begin early in life to read. In our evolution, we learn to read faces, read behaviors, read traffic lights changing colors, read actions of animals, and eventually read the printed page. We interact with our world by reading it. There is no language barrier in that.

    As we grow and assimilate into our social structure, we derive meaning in what we see and read (assuming one is sighted). We begin to assign values to what we are reading in life, and continue to do so throughout our lifetime.

    Whether or not "reading is a priority at home," it is a vital force that goes on in our lives. If you fill a room with literature, one is more apt to engage with it. Just as if a room is full of technology or games,one will engage with that. A parent is a child's first and lifelong teacher, who, in that child's formative years, controls that child's world of exposure. So yes, parents are directly responsible for their child's development!

    The sad thing is that there are too many people who become parents who do not take on that responsibility to be a parent. It is a sad fact, one that is worldwide, however is more evident here in Nevada,where distractions divert the attentions of people who might be otherwise responsible. Who knows for sure?

    Why would a child NOT read? Abnormal physical and cognitive development. Defects in vision, defects in IQ, defective and irresponsible parenting. We have schools that attempt to "screen" for visual or learning problems that be addressed and remediated, but there, to date, is little to no ability for schools to affect parenting whatsoever, other than proving neglect and/or abuse and turning the case over to the authorities at Child Protective Services. In too many cases, children had been "screened" with vision problems or learning challenges, and parents take years to do anything about it, and then it is pathetically late, the affected child is so damanged that it takes years of intervention to get them up to speed, if ever.

    It is hard to compete with the many "distractions" to favor reading a book, or even on the internet, or Kindle. More nurturing, with both environmental and family support, will ready and quiet the body, mind, and soul enough to enter another's world (an author's writings) so that the heart can enjoy the written word.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  11. Jeff, I recall learning on my own. My abusive parents wouldn't...... Anyhow, I recall having to wait until 2nd grade or so before a teacher explained that the BIG LETTERS were to start sentences, used to start people's names....about the same time I heard that a "." was to end a sentence--see how I've morphed that with my ..... I don't know how it happened, but I always could read. I recall being someone unsure of the English language but I got the alphabet and sounds by osmosis or perhaps television in the days long before Sesame Street.

  12. At 7:11 a.m. Samspeaks (sam pizzo) commented: "Las Vegas is a 24 hour city with 3 different working shifts. Not everyone has a 9-5 job and can be home to help young children with their learning skills,such as reading."

    Very true - but one of the things to consider before having children is that it takes YEARS to change them into responsible adults. The time necessary to do so MUST be a high priority and MUST be considered before starting to have any. Otherwise, the necessary time MUST be found, or made, when the first one arrives.

  13. renorobert,

    What you say is also very true,and i'm sure some parents have done just that.But overall it's very easy to say and very hard to do for some folks, for a lot of different reasons living in a 24 hour city.

  14. @Carmine

    People are perfectly capable off looking up Dr.Carson. We don't need you to copy and paste the Doctors life story.

    Thank You"

    Be my guest. For those who enjoy reading about him and his mother here, I excerpted the brief parts applicable to the letter writer's point.

    Carmine D

  15. I have little sympathy, Sam. But then I managed to instill a reading habit in my #1 daughter while working my way thru college, supporting her and her stay-at-home mother in the high-cost-of-living SF Bay area. Currently I know grad students at UNR doing the same thing: granted, they have student loans...

    I accept few excuses for shirking basic responsibilities.

  16. renorobert,

    No sympathy needed,facing what reality is and has been is the real issue in our fair city. You are a exceptional parent and person,who has done well as others have also done and will continue to do so. Unfortunately we have many more who are not willing or simply cannot for one reason or another.