Poor reading skills
result in poor reasoning skills
and that means
in all areas of learning,
including math word problems.
Children use their reading skills to organize facts in order to “reason.” When children reason, they collect and organize the facts they read and they draw conclusions based upon what they perceive those facts are telling them.
Many times, children are required to come up with their own personal researched opinions in response to questions that have no single correct answer. This is called “making inferences.” However, when children are not capable of consistently reading what’s on the page, then drawing conclusions or making inferences in any given area of study, will affect their grades.
QUESTION: What is “reasoning,” and how often are children expected to reason?
ANSWER: Reasoning is when children learn to think clearly and efficiently in a given academic area. Reasoning is expected of children as soon as they enter any area of study. It is one of the most valuable tools children need to succeed in school . Reasoning is when a child must draw a conclusion based upon the facts presented or make an inference based upon the facts that are given coupled with the facts that are not given. Inferences require reasoning skills, and reasoning skills require that a child be able to read all the words on the page.
Children must be able to read accurately and fluently in order to:
a) compare and contrast
b) determine cause and effect
c) detect particular perspectives
d) understand an exact logic
e) reach conclusions
f) develop personal inferences based upon the reasoning they’ve used.
The following is a breakdown of how children are expected to reason in various school subjects.
Social Studies – Children read an assignment in social studies, and they use their reasoning to answer certain questions:
Is this culture like mine?
Is this government apt to succeed?
How are the people of this culture different from the people in my culture?
Would I enjoy living in this culture?
Math – Children read a story problem in math, and then use their reasoning to answer certain questions:
How many are they talking about?
How are the different areas of this problem interrelated?
What is the question asking for?
Have I learned any part of this concept before and can I use that information to help me solve this particular problem?
Science – Children read an assignment in science, and they use their reasoning to answer certain questions:
How do the facts in this experiment depend upon each other?
How do the concepts presented in this lesson relate with the concepts I have already learned?
Why was my answer to this science question marked wrong?
Do I believe that the facts presented could supply long term disadvantages or advantages for our society?
Literature – Children read an assignment in literature, and they use their reasoning to answer certain questions:
Does this story take place in the past? If so, are the verbs in this story in the past tense?
In what point of view is this story presented?
How are the descriptions of the characters in this story relevant to the plot?
What and where is the conflict presented in this story?
Given the same circumstances, how would I respond if I were the character in the story?
every academic area
depends largely upon
a child’s ability
to accurately and fluently
read all the words
in the assignment.
A child must be able to read an assignment with accuracy and fluency before he can connect and relate the facts presented.
If a child cannot read his assignments accurately, easily, and fluently, then he’s going to eventually hate reading and he’s going to eventually hate school.
Likewise, if a child cannot read his math word problems accurately, easily, and fluently, then he’s going to eventually hate math and he’s going to eventually hate school.
He is going to believe he is dumb; and you can count on it, he’s going to choose companions who also believe they are dumb. What a child believes about himself will dictate his future choices.
In fact, Lesley Morrow, the Past-President of the International Reading Association, unreservedly made the statement that there are certain states in our country that plan or project their future prison cell space based upon the early reading scores of their children. Indiana and California are just two examples of states who base the number of new prison cells that will be needed upon the early literacy skills of their students.
Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst, the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences, and an Assistant Secretary of Education with the U.S. Department of Education under the Bush administration tells us the following: “… we have from thirty-eight to forty percent of children not reading at the basic level at fourth grade. That means they are unable to deal with age appropriate written text and understand the text or make reasonable inferences from what they’ve read in the text. We know that children who have that sort of difficulty reading in fourth grade, without extraordinary help, are going to continue to have real difficulties down the road…it flows into other subject matters, the ability to finish school, the likelyhood that they will drop out, their potential for life success, getting a good job. So, while in some sense we’re doing well in reading and some of our students read very well, I think it’s simply intolerable that so many children have not got it by fourth grade and all of the negative consequences that flow from that really are a national crisis, something that has to be addressed by the federal government.”
Dr. Grover also tells us that “the predictability of reading for life success is so strong, that if you look at the proportion of middle schoolers who are not at the basic level, who are really behind in reading, it is a very strong predictor of problems with the law and the need for jails down the line.” Grover goes on to say that, “People who don’t read well have trouble earning a living. It becomes attractive to, in some cases the only alternative in terms of gaining funds, to violate the law and steal, to do things that get you in trouble. Few options in some cases other than to pursue that life. Of course reading opens doors.”
Moms, Dads, let’s face the facts. Early reading skills predict future academic ability as well as future employment success. All the excuses in the world that we give for why a child cannot read are not going to change that fact.
The absence of adequate reading skills for a child is a forerunner, a most definite indication to parents and teachers, that they should expect continuous educational difficulties in other subject areas from that child.
Children do not
outgrow reading problems.
create bigger problems!
The solution is simple: parents can teach their own children how to read. For just $9.97 you can purchase an entire, step-by-step, COMPLETE Systematic Phonics Curriculum.
DON’T GIVE UP!
CAN LEARN TO READ
AND RAISE HIS GRADES!