A few months ago, I told the story of a young man I worked with who was in his first year of college. He recounted how hard his math class was, but that he was doing much better than his peers with the "tables" and that he was able to complete the "tables" in under five minutes, which was required.
I was puzzled, and asked him if he meant the "times tables", as in multiplication. He did indeed mean just that. I then asked if this was a remedial math class and he said it was.
Remedial or not, what in hell is an 18 year old doing in his first year of college studying the "times tables" which are taught to 9 year old children, and secondly, how did he manage to get all the way through high school without this basic knowledge?
As to reading, the majority of young people I work with never read. Want to know why? Because their parents don't read. If you want your kids to read for learning and for fun, you need to be a reader.
My mother was always reading and convinced me that one of the funnest things to do (besides pulling weeds) was to walk to the library (according to Google maps - 1.5 miles each way) and take out a bunch of books. We did this almost every week.
At that time, the library had a children's section and an adult section. Young people were not allowed to check out books from the adult section. My mother submitted a letter to the library which allowed me to check out any book I wanted. Having read every single Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy books, it was time for me to move on.
When I was about 10 years old, I was whining that I had nothing to read. My mother, wanting to subdue the child, went to the book shelf and pulled out "The Caine Mutiny", thinking, "Well, that should keep her out of my hair for awhile."
It did. I loved it, and it remains one of my all-
time favorite books.
Parents, read to your children when they are little ones, and then read with them when they are a bit older. You will give them the most astonishing gift imaginable.
Sci-Fi Author Jerry Pournelle recently re-published a sixth grade reader from 1914.In his latest FIREWALL, Bill Whittle explains how full comprehension of a single paragraph from that hundred-year-old elementary school textbook eludes virtually all of today's college graduates; shows why it is such a sin, and reveals the Progressive Struggle for Stupidity in all of its undeniable venality.