Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

To Twaddle is to Twiddle or Doodle; Neither Producing a Solid or Profound Noodle.

A great piece out of The Wall Street Journal, How to Raise Boys That Read brings a smile to this Classical Teacher's face :) The subtitle, Hint: Not with gross-out books and video-game bribes hits the nail on the head!
"According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, for example, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. " 
I wonder how "early education" has affected this trend. We push, push, push pre-school now, and from what I understand regarding the history of education, this was simply not the case in older generations.I only went to K for half a day and my husband didn't even attend K, him mom taught him to read.
"Plato before him," writes C. S. Lewis, "had said the same. The little human animal will not at first have the right responses. It must be trained to feel pleasure, liking, disgust, and hatred at those things which really are pleasant, likeable, disgusting, and hateful."
So, true. Modern education searches for the right answers. So much of the problem is hurry up and read little boy so you can pass the standardized test....my 3rd son took forever to take off with reading and now he's on the money, enjoying great books. If he was in p.s., I'm sure he'd be dubbed ADHD and performed poorly early on. Instead, he's wiggly and wry, and reads in his bed every night.
"meet them where they are"—that is, pander to boys' untutored tastes. For elementary- and middle-school boys, that means "books that exploit [their] love of bodily functions and gross-out humor." AP reported that one school librarian treats her pupils to "grossology" parties. "Just get 'em reading," she counsels cheerily. "Worry about what they're reading later."

Rubbish! This is probably a library with as many computers as books (another soap box for another post). Although we own the Grossology book and used it for science, meeting a boy where he is entails far more than butt-focused reading. My boys are all about adventure and Captain Underpants can't even touch Narnia, The Edge Chronicles, Frog and Toad, Wind in the Willows, even bible stories (sling shots and giants!).
"The secret to raising boys who read, I submit, is pretty simple—keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet, under control (that is to say, almost completely absent). Then fill your shelves with good books...Who knows—a boy deprived of electronic stimulation might even become desperate enough to read Jane Austen. " 
Reminds me of Laughing Lioness I haven't seen the need for that sort of desperation, although I made them read Pride and Prejudice for history  :)

Screen time SURELY makes all the difference..just last night no video games meant 2 chapters of The Edge Chronicles for the Ax Man. We play and enjoy video games and more than enough t.v., but the truth be told, less screen time ALWAYS means more reading or card/board game play, even for Oman and I.

"Most importantly, a boy raised on great literature is more likely to grow up to think, to speak, and to write like a civilized man. Whom would you prefer to have shaped the boyhood imagination of your daughter's husband—Raymond Bean or Robert Louis Stevenson?" Knowing a lot of 20-somethings that were raised on games....all I can say is FOR REAL! The prospects for husbands are disheartening. Thank goodness there is a strong movement in home education. Even as Adopted daughter tells us regularly people in her college classes can't write, spell or identify parts of speech in sentences, "We were just discussing that today. That's sad." was her comment while I was reviewing grammar with the 2nd and 3rd grader!

"I offer a final piece of evidence that is perhaps unanswerable: There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls. How many of these families, do you suppose, have thrown grossology parties?" 
Great point. Capt. Uhura from the WTM Forum spoke well,
...the lack of gap between homeschooled boys and girls could be due to phonics instruction compared to public school. It is likely a multitude of factors. HSers are more likely to be reading to their kids from a young age, to model good reading habits, to have plenty of good books in the house, to use phonics......and depending on the kid, the presence of electronics may or may not impact the love of reading at all in boys. My boys would love to play computer games for 2hrs every day but then would also stay up late into the night reading or wake up early and find them in bed reading. Many things in life labeled as cause and effect when they are really just correlations. 
I think phonics and free time are major factors. We work long and hard days around here, but even now, 12:51, my 3rd grader and his faithful companions, The Ant and AtG, are out front, in ninja warrior costumes, yielding weapons of choice (palm frond and stick), climbing and story telling. Would they play Lego Star Wars if I let them? Surely! But I'd much rather have them read Star Wars, act it out, then watch the movie for fun on Friday night! They can save the gaming for the weekend!

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