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Do you think enough emphasis is put on reading to children?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on November 20, 2005

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Photo of Anthea Scouffas

“Absolutely not. My mother read to me at the library, and it really made a difference in my life. I think reading, writing and communication skills are the most important skills a child can learn.”

Photo of Kurt Cooper

“No, it’s not. I like reading to my niece and nephew when I get a chance. It’s important to read to children, and we can introduce great concepts to children through books.”

Photo of Keena Tarrant

“No, I really don’t. I don’t think people spend enough time with their children, and parents aren’t told to read to their children anymore. It was very stressed to the parents of my generation. They should bring those commercials back.”

Photo of Tristan Wagner

“I don’t think so. Any commercials about kids reading these days are just about products that read for them. The parents need to step up and spend some time reading to them and helping them read.”

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Adam 12 years, 4 months ago

The problem is that the school system has been so underfunded for so long that most of the parents today can barely read themselves. While at a restaurant the other day, I overheard a mother helping her son with his math homework, and according to her 8 x -4 = 2. Very sad.

Cait McKnelly 12 years, 4 months ago

I just did the math in my head and 8X-4 does =2. To multiply a positive X negative you have to invert one of them (makes no difference which) so 8/1 X1/4 equals...duh...TWO! Go back to fifth grade Adam.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

Say: Since 4 x 9 = 36, then we could also write 9 x 4 = 36, 36 / 9 = 4 and 36 / 4 = 9. If that is the case, then what multiplication and division sentences could you write for the multiplication sentence 8 x (-4) = -32?

Hopefully, the students will write -4 x 8 = -32, -32 / (-4) = 8 and -32 / 8 = -4. If they have trouble, show them.

WHEW! I was worried for a minute!

You owe Adam TWO apologies, Cait48.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

Wait - isn't it -32? positive 8 times minus 4?

Cait48, I'm going to penalize you 25 yards for unnecessary words. Stop it.

GreenEyedBlues 12 years, 4 months ago

Oh my goodness! Are you sure it wasn't Cait48 in that restaurant, Adam?

My mom was the grammar police and overall homework coordinator, and my dad, having worked at Boeing for umpteen years, had a good handle on the math/science realm. BUT... if ever they weren't familiar with the subject matter [I.E. the "new" math topics they weren't teaching back in those days...] they would come out and say it.

But Dad can figure out anything, because he's a supergenius. No lie.

Oh yeah and parents should read to kids. And take them to plays and galleries.

Have a great Sunday guys! =)

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

I've always read to my girls from the time they were born. They have wonderful programs in school (Tonganoxie) and the teachers also read aloud in the classroom. They set aside time everyday at school for children to read to themselves. If the child falls behind, they get extra one on one help until they catch up to their peers. There is also the "distinguished reader program" in school where the child has to complete so many books in a certain amount of time and pass a test on the book. School brings in children's book authors to read to and converse with the kids. Any parent is allowed to come into the classrooms and read to the kids. Homework EVERY night is reading for 15 to 30 minutes depending on the grade level. Yeah, I think (at least in my school district) they put enough emphasis on reading.

memoirs_of_a_sleepwalker 12 years, 4 months ago

Benny Oates, I'm in the exact same profession as you, and I entirely agree. For most of my students, reading critically is a chore and a bore; it's very sad how something so mind-opening and liberating has become "inconvenient." And yes, stupidity is currently in fashion; it's displayed by the highest levels of government. A fine mess.

greyhawk 12 years, 4 months ago

One_More_Bob........have you read the essays by Harlan Ellison concerning television? "The Glass Teat" (1970) and "The Other Glass Teat" (1975). Ellison is not one to mince words (but he uses them wonderfully!) and so his essays sometimes come across as being a bit strident.

Reading is crucial....for adults as well as children. Our lives can be impoverished but reading creates the potential for enrichment, intrinsically and extrinsically. The medium may evolve (as evidenced by the fact that we're all reading the J-W online--oops, sorry to use the "e" word!) but nothing can supplant a good book.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

derf, actually your equation would be 4newspaperidiots or 4idiotsnewspaper.

Yes people should read to their children more often. We read 2 books to our daughter every night before bed. She's only 7 months but she loves the pictures and is obviously gaining comprehension skills as well.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

Cealach/MSC, just sent Cealach an e-mail through this site with my phone number, as 11am cannot work for me but I would love to meet MSC.

Glad she's having a good visit to lawrence! will she be here for Santa's arrival on Weaver's? there's a local color event!

the most important way to reenforce kids' reading is for them to see parents reading, using reading, enjoying reading, being enthusiastic about reading!

narrative transforms. factual books teach, and if I am a good reader, I can learn anything. I really started reading intensely in my teens. because of that, I was able to test out of high school civics, high school american history.

there is actually some good reading on the web, and some reading which is wonderful in support of book-in-your-hand reading. many times, I have found an author I have loved, found that author's site, or a site devoted to that set of work, and studied information which would have otherwise been unavailable.

I love reading. read some in a book every day. since 2000, I have read more than 300 books.

I personally think that good reading habits are extremely important to teach to kids, by example.

I see the teachers are out for this topic! see some posters we don't usually.

canyon_wren 12 years, 4 months ago

I haven't had TV for over 40 years. I read to my daughter (now 32) clear through college. She would come home for lunch and insist I have her lunch ready, then would say "start reading!" when she walked in the door. When she was older, we read all of Grisham's books, Dick Francis, etc.

It was obvious to me that hearing good language all those years helped her to be a naturally good writer and communicator. But the most important thing was the time we spent together doing it--that was worth everything.

Another very important thing is--kids need to be read books from the past--that represent other perspectives our culture has shared. Granted, some represent things we would rather not remember--like examples of racism, etc.--but these offer good learning situations where we can explain that we know better now. But those older books also represent cultural ways that would be good for us to remember.

It really bothers me to see modern movie/TV (or Disney) versions come out of good old stories and have them made politically correct. Having grown up with "Little House on the Prairie," it upset me to learn (I didn't watch them, not having TV) that many of the scenarios on the TV series of LHotP were situations that were not in the books and would not have been discussed at that time. To me that's dishonest.

Reading to kids is one of life's real pleasures!

killjoy 12 years, 4 months ago

Quote from the '96 movie Matilda

Harry Wormwood to his daughter Matilda, "Why would you want to read when you got the television set sitting right in front of you? There's nothing you can get from a book that you can't get from a television faster."

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 4 months ago

I weep for the future. All of the toys out there are now electronic in some form or another. The only intelligence and creativity that they require is for the child to push a button and watch the lights and clockwork. Reading is so much more than just a way to communicate information. It develops creativity, free's the mind, and allows the reader to take a journey that is unique to their mind. Nobody else will ever read and interpret a story in exactly the same way as you do. Nintendo just can't make up for that...

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

President Bush: "You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' Feb. 21, 2001, in Townsend, Tenn.

bennyoates: President Bush certainly reads books. Shame on you for suggesting otherwise. Take "My Pet Goat," for instance. He was so engrossed in this wonderous tale of a goat that even though he had been told "The country is under attack," he continued to read for seven more minutes! Nothing like a good book to keep your mind off things.

omb: I do know that our beloved President has stated on record that he does not read newspapers. While in Washington D.C. on Sept. 21, 2003, President Bush said: "I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

Ceallach: I didn't realize you were entertaining ms_c during her visit to Lawrence. Good for you. I have no doubt you will show her a good time! I look forward to the report.

John Myers 12 years, 4 months ago

I almost fell out of my chair when I read cait48's post.

I've always loved math, and was fortunate to have the best math teach ever in junior high school (Mrs. Akins, for any of you that went to South). She loved kids, she loved math, and she loved to teach. I think I would have still loved math if she hadn't been my teacher, but she made sure of it. Junior high - IMHO - is where kids either take the "love math, can do" or "hate math, can't do" paths. And I truly believe that the teacher has a LOT to do with which path is chosen.

Thanks, Mrs. Akins!!! (She recently retired - big loss, but well deserved.)

~John Austin, TX

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

OMB, thanks for the well wishes last night. Other than some sore muscles today, all is well. (That muscle relaxer really knocks me out...slept 'til 6:30 this a.m., dosed my kid with the fever, went back to bed, got up at 9:00, fell asleep on the couch and slept 'til noon!) WOW! That's the most sleep I've had in a long time. Pure bliss!

Fangorn 12 years, 4 months ago

SS: Good thing you were in your husband's truck. It could have been a lot worse for you. Those wouldn't be 12 oz. muscle relaxants, would they? ;)

bearded_gnome 12 years, 4 months ago

about 5pm, gnomedog and I were having our regular walk, and I observed a church at the south end of downtown, probably Trinity Lutheran Church (?) was playing its bells, christmas carols, probably to celebrate MS_Canada's visit to Lawrence and encourage reading.

talked with MS_Canada this afternoon. she is very friendly, looking forward to meeting her in person, along with Cealach! mrs. gnome insisted on going along too.
its a beautiful day in the neighborhood!

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

Fangorn, not the 12 0z variety...just the heavy-duty, left over variety that you look at and say "I'm gonna hang on to these, they might come in handy sometime...who cares if they expired in '03.":)

OMB, I realio, trulio LOVE Ogden Nash! That brings me back to todays topic. I read "The Tale of Custard the Dragon" to my girls so much that I used to have it memorized. Don't know if I could recite it now, though.

ms_canada 12 years, 4 months ago

Reading- don't get me going on reading. I am positively addicted to reading. My librarian knows me well and orders books that he thinks I will like and then calls me to tell me that they have come in. When I do not have a book to read I actually have a panic attack. And I am serious about that. My one big fear is that I won't live long enough to read all the books that I want to read. :o) And btw, I think your city is quite charming and ms ceallach is certainly showing me much of it. Your university buildings are much prettier that those of the U. of Alberta. Oh and I must also credit sunflower sue for a lovely day seeing some of the Lawrence sites. I am truly so glad that I made the trip down here. cioa.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 4 months ago

Ms _C, You've probably already gone to bed but just wanted to tell you that I've made something extra special for you. I'll bring it to La Primatentious tomorrow. I just know you're gonna love it!!!;o)

Purell 12 years, 4 months ago


I've never been to Edmonton, but in checking the web, it is much larger and more beautiful than I imagined. There was one picture of Old Strathcona that looked similar to Mass. St. in Lawrence.

Alberta looks so scenic.

Enjoy your visit here. I always feel bad that we have less to excite tourists. When we had an exchange student, the school drove them several hours out West to see prarie grass. Boy was that exciting.

Glad you're in good hands. Take care!

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