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READING, WRITING, ARITHMETIC (MATH)



WHICH IS MOST IMPORTANT?


DOES IT REALLY MATTER?

Over the Christmas holidays we were together as a family for several days. Our family consists of my wife and I, our daughter and her 18 year old son, our oldest grandson, our son and his wife  and four children, twin girls, ten years old and two boys, four years old and two years old. 


My wife, daughter and son are educators. My wife is a retired elementary school teacher who is still involved in education as a clinical supervisor of student teachers. Our daughter is an assessment manager for an online university and our son is an English and Creative Writing instructor on the college level.


Our oldest grandson is a freshman in college, and our granddaughtors are becoming good readers. 


The reason for this family background is to let you know that the emphasis on reading has been very important in our family.


As we were together our four year old grandson wanted to “read” his favorite book to me.  Marcus (four years old) “read” “PETE THE CAT, I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES” and he didn’t miss a word. (He had it memorized.)  The book is about Pete the Cat who goes walking down the street in his white shoes. Along the way he steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes. But no matter what color his shoes are, he keeps moving and “grooving” down the street.


Marcus and his Mommy checked the book out of the library. Guess what Papa is sending Marcus? His own personal copy of PETE THE CAT to encourage Marcus to develop a love for reading.


One of his sisters, Claire, has become fascinated with the LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE series and has started to do her own graphic novels. She has done a great job. I promised her I would send her a LITTLE HOUSE book. I found THE LITTLE HOUSE COOKBOOK, FRONTIER FOODS from Laura Ingalls Wilders classic stories. She and her sister have started cooking classes. I hope they enjoy the book! 


Reading in our family has always been a very important activity. Believe it or not, our college instructor son was once a struggling reader, but through a daily regimen of family reading he improved. We also had another son who is deceased that struggled with learning disabilities and reasoning skills but became an excellent reader by following along as he was being read to and started to read at an early age.


I asked my wife at dinner the other night which was more important, reading or math. She said reading, I agreed with her. As we think about it, reading lays a foundation of learning for every other subject plus many more advantages. 



FAVORITE AUTHORS


I love the quote by Dr. Seuss: “The more that you read, the more things you will know, The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”


I also loved Dr. Seuss!  Wikipedia tells us that Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American author, political cartoonist and animator. He wrote more than 60 books under the pen name of Dr. Seuss. He was born March 2, 1904 in Springfield, MA and died September 24, 1991 in La Jolla, CA at the age of 87.


I also loved his “Quicky quotes” such as: “Don’t cry because it is over. Smile because it happened,” OR: “Today you are you!  That is truer than true!  There is no one alive-er who is you-er than you!” 



Another favorite author is Mark Twain or Samuel Langhorne Clemens. He was born November 30, in Florida, Mo and died in Redding, CT. He was 75.


Some of his quotes:  “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” OR: “The secret of getting ahead is to get started.” OR: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”


Another favorite author is  Eric Carle. His book THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLER has been translated into more than 65 languages and sold 46 million copies. According to Wikipedia, that is the equivalent to 1.7 copies sold every minute since it was published. Eric Carle received his education at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. He was born June 25, 1929 and lived to be 89 years old.


READING DEVELOPMENT


As I was selling books in schools I really admired the dedicated volunteer tutors that were in the hallways working with struggling readers. They were engaged in Eric Carle and Dr. Seuss books which proved to be excellent beginning reader books. I am sure I will date myself when I say that I learned to read with the “Dick and Jane” books.


I was excited to see that Wikipedia had a reference to the “Dick and Jane ” series. “Dick and Jane” were the main characters in the popular basal readers published by Scott Foresman, that were used to teach children to read from the 1930’s through the 1960’s.”   That was my era!


I was impressed to learn that first editions now “fetch” as much as $200 US dollars. And, for those who may be interested, some titles are available from Amazon. They were and still are “truly classics.”


Teaching children to read and making sure children became confident and capable readers has been the mission of a couple of caring women who are the wives of our national leaders such as Barbara Bush and Margaret McNamara wife of Robert McNamara, US Secretary of Defense.



The Bush family founded the Barbara Bush Foundation of Family Literacy. The vision of the foundation is to foster the opportunity for every man, woman, and child in America to secure a better life through literacy. Quoting the Mission Statement: The legacy of Barbara Bush touches every corner of the US today. It is felt when Moms and Dads read a bedtime story to their children. It is noticed when our nation’s youth graduate from high school. It is evident at our yearly Celebration of Reading events across the country.


READING IS FUNDAMENTAL was founded in 1966 by Margaret Craig McNamara.

RIF, Inc is the largest non-profit children’s literacy program in the US. RIF  provides resources such as books, STEM-themed classroom activities, professional development for educators, and parent engagement materials.


CONCLUSION


Reading is important because it develops the mind. Understanding the written word is one way the mind grows in its ability. Teaching young children to read helps them develop their language skills. It also helps them learn to listen.


Ten benefits of reading:  Why you should read every day:


Mental Stimulation


Stress Reducation


Knowledge


Vocabulary Expansion


Memory Improvement


Stronger Analytical Thinking and Critical Thinking Skills


Improved Focus and Concentration


Better Writing Skills


There is so much more we could say about reading. We have merely scratched the  surface in this article. In future articles we will address some more important facts concerning reading such as learning styles, how to address reading challenges and many more.

Thank you for reading and come back soon!


Michael Inman


The Bookman

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