Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

Watch “Oregon Gov Signs Bill Suspending Math and Reading Requirements Because RACISM #Shorts” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2021

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Now Is the Time for All Good Parents To Come to the Aid of Their Children – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 13, 2020

Happy schooling! You all can do it. Just pause, think, and plan a bit.


Now that parents with school age children are homeschooling–whether they want to or not—I would like to offer some ideas towards teaching important educational skills at home.  There is so much that parents can accomplish while families are in these unique “lock down” situations.

You all are very lucky.  I hope that you understand that.  You may never again have such an opportunity to teach your own children; to influence your children.  You may never again have these chances to correct mistakes the schools have made; to fill any gaps that schools have left.

Recently, a young mother expressed her pleasure at having this time with her children.  “I absolutely LOVE my time teaching my children.  This week, we cleaned up their problems with telling time, and with making change.”    Right!  This is a time when you can focus on things that your children are missing in school.

Multiplication:  Your child may be like thousands of others who are taught to “memorize the multiplication facts” without having been taught the rationale and thinking processes behind multiplication.  Such narrow instruction limits the flexibility of the brain for future problem solving.  Here are things that I do when I teach, or remediate, multiplication skills:

1)  Cut the cover off an empty carton of eggs.  Instantly you have a great tool with which to teach multiplication up through “twelve-sies”.  Add a pile of dry beans, or buttons, or whatever small things you have.  A really fun aspect of this type of teaching is that school children of all ages can be part of learning the concept of multiplication.

Present a problem: 2 x 4 =__.    Be theatrical as you place 4 beans in one cup; then 4 beans in another cup.  Ask “How many times did I put beans in a cup?  2 times.  How many beans did I put in each cup?  4.  So 4 beans in each of 2 cups is how many beans?  Count them.  8.  Let’s write the problem:  2 x 4 = 8.  Have each child do as many multiplication problems –thinking and counting the cups and beans– as needed for full comprehension.  Let children use the cups and beans until they no longer need to use the cups and beans.

2) After the children understand the concept and logic of multiplication, have them work on memorizing the “facts”.  Allow them to use the egg carton if they need it.

3)  Once a child has worked his or her way to and through 12 x _?_, have the child make their own multiplication chart for reference until all facts have been memorized.

4)  If a child is finding it difficult to memorize, add singsong or rhythm activities.  You can even have a child move or dance.  Have practice sessions which use all senses to practice the facts:  hearing, speech, movement, touch.  When I taught at a de facto segregated school in Alabama, I had the children speak and dance while adding extra stress to each answer:  “4 x 5 is 20. Uh!  4 x 6 is 24. Oh!” and other similar noises, utterances, or rhythms.

Common Sense and Cause and Effect:   My father used to describe some children and adults as being “unable to think their way out of a paper bag.”  This would apply to individuals of all ages who have never been taught to think!

1)  Always be ready to ask questions which will get children thinking about reasons.  These are discussions which can even be done during times like car trips or waits at a doctor’s office.  Some examples:

Why do we use salt and pepper?
Why do we cut the grass?
Why does a car have windshield wipers?
Why do we need traffic signals?
Why do we put groceries in a sack?
Why do we measure things?
Why do nurses wear uniforms?
Why do children have recess?
Why do we take vacations?
Why do streets have names?

2)  Negative questions:

Why don’t your fingernails bleed when mom cuts them?
Why don’t we carry water in a basket?
Why doesn’t a doll need new shoes as often as you do?
Why can’t we pound a pin with a hammer?
Why don’t pajamas have more pockets than blue jeans?
Why wouldn’t you play catch with an egg?
Why don’t we see smoke coming from a chimney in the summertime?
Why can’t we use a calendar that is a year old?

3)  Cause and effect; Predicting

What will happen in you leave the door open in the wintertime?
What will happen if you wear a pair of pants that are too big?
What will happen if you plant flower seeds then never water them? What will happen if you make lemonade without sugar?
What will happen if your dog fights with a skunk?
What will happen if you leave the milk out on the counter all day?
What will happen if you pick up the wrong lunchbox at school?
What will happen if all the water dries up in a river?
What will happen if you put a wet glass on a wooden table?
What will happen if you stay outside all day in the hot sun?

4)  Learning to explain something in a sequence is important:

Tell me how to get a ball off the roof.
Tell me how to decorate a Christmas tree.
Tell me how to wrap a gift.
Tell me how to clean your room.
Tell me how to get ready for bed.
Tell me how to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
Tell me how to find a word in the dictionary.
Tell me how your day at school is organized.
Tell me how to make a pizza.
Tell me how to save a person from drowning.

All too often adults believe that children automatically develop common sense; instinctively anticipate what effect follows which action; understand the meaning behind all the words that we use: understand the use for supposedly simple things.  A junior high student once “confessed” that although he saw the word “bleach” on jugs in his home, he really had no idea why it was used.  Do not assume that your children know simply because you do.  Check knowledge.  One of my school teachers used to write this on the board:  “to ass/u/me”   He explained that “to assume makes an ass out of you and me.”

Reading, Writing, Spelling:  My mother, who taught special education until she was 73 years old, strongly believed that “The only children who learn to read in today’s schools—learn in spite of the teaching and curriculum.”  I have to agree with her.

1)  Unless your child is attending a private school which teaches methodical phonics, which includes both the Simple and the Advanced phonograms for the Code in which English is written, you are probably noticing weakness in the child’s reading skills.

Order a set of Phonogram cards from and help your child get those memorized to automaticity.  The directions are on different colored cards in the front of the pack.  If a phonogram refers to more than one sound, it will be important that the child memorize all of the sounds in the order on the back of the card.  Example:  “ea” represents three sounds:  /ee/, /short e/, /long a/    (ee, e, ay)    Such learning trains the brain to instantly analyze a new word with that spelling.  If the brain sees the word ‘break’ it will think through the options like so:  “ ‘breek’  (no!), ‘breck’ (no!), ‘brake’.  Oh! ‘break’ with long a.”

2)  All children (and new readers of any age) need to read aloud until they do not need to read aloud any longer.  When we are learning to read, our attempt at finding meaning in a word is usually a 5-step process:  See the word “picnic”.  Voice the word “picnic”; Hear ourselves saying the word “picnic”.  Recognize that we have heard the word “picnic” before and actually do know the word.  Think “picnic” then proceed to the next word.     When we read out loud our brains learn to skip the three middle steps:  See the word “picnic.” Think “picnic.”    Proceed reading.

3)  It is more important to teach Spelling than it is to teach Reading.  When children learn to spell the phonograms, they are learning the rules and order in which words are usually put together.  The better they learn that process, the better readers they all will become; the better they will be able to approach a spelling word using logic.

4)  Read Aloud to Your Children!  Mom also said that, “The children who are read to become the readers; the children who are not read to become the non-readers.”  I asked her about the many people I knew who read well but had not been read to as children.  She explained,  “Yes, they may have learned to read BUT do they choose ‘reading’ as a way to entertain themselves?  Not often.  Children who are read to develop the ability to create mental pictures of what they hear and become good readers who will become lifelong readers.”  Too right!

For great ideas on what to read to your children at different ages, check out or purchase the book, The Read-Aloud Handbook,    by Jim Trelease.

For help in teaching yourselves the phonograms and rules of phonics, you can find it all in my book, Read Better! For Adults and Teens.

Happy schooling!  You all can do it.  Just pause, think, and plan a bit.

Be seeing you



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Fake News Explained By Wise Western Philosopher-If We Had Only listened

Posted by M. C. on December 8, 2017

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