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home : opinions : columns October 4, 2015

10/30/2012 5:00:00 PM
COLUMN: Another R
Bob Weete

One more suggestion for parents who want to enhance their child's learning is reading various stories from the Bible. As they get older, there are all kinds of publications for children to read themselves, and, of course, have parent-child conversations about the meaning of the stories.

As we know, the Bible was the basic reader in the early days of American history, and it is still extremely useful for teaching values that will help with making choices in later life. Of course, they are not allowed in public schools anymore, so it is up to the parents to include this in the home reading.

Now, the second R that parents can be very helpful in the preparation of their children for good habits in their later schooling is Riting. Of course, this begins with learning the alphabet. Many books are available in prepping kids to learn these letters. The old A,B,C song is still used to learn the alphabet.

Gradually, with practice, you can help them learn to write the letters and to identify them as you read stories. Ask them to find the letter "p", for example. In the beginning, you will want to use primary-type books, of course. There are also alphabet blocks that you can use in many different ways that can help.

When they become proficient, then you can have them practice writing the letters. Be sure this is all done with you beside them, so you can give them support and help correct when they have trouble.

There are a number of books designed to help the child identify letters. In most of this beginning learning, it is imperative that a parent spend the time with the child, too. This helps communicate your interest in their learning, and they will sense your approval with their work. I happen to be strange, in this day and age, in that I believe it is okay to correct your child when errors are made.

Doesn't destroy the psyche, squash the personality at all. That is, if you do it in a quiet, helpful way. Yelling or communicating strong displeasure will not enhance the positive feeling you desire to create. Remember your own learning experiences and how important the "you can do it" is to progress. Expecting perfection is futile. Reaching out in that direction is desirable, otherwise there is no motivation.

I would say that parents also must realize that working with a young child for a solid hour is undoubtedly much too long. (For both parent and child.) You will need to be aware of the child's limits. They will expand as they mature.

Time may be difficult to find for many parents, but it is truly vital that both parents make time each day together, anyway, for "quality time". We are responsible for their being here, and we want the best for them. One of the ways we do that is to prepare them for their working years. Start now.

"Quality time" is not sitting and watching TV together. Yes, there is quality time in play, but you can enhance their happiness by helping them develop good work habits, inter-personal relationships, and basic skills of life. Life is not always "fun", and it is unfortunate that many children these days have had scant learning of that.

Time in driving places can be spent in singing the ABC song together, in reading and learning to identify simple words and learning the letters to spell "cat", etc. All this should not interfere with your driving and is much more important than texting. And safer, too.

Riting is hard to practice in the car, but practice at home is safe and helpful. Even simple letters to Grandma or Grandpa are wonderful things that probably aren't done often enough these days. I can tell you that they can give great joy to the grandparents, at least. And they probably won't check the spelling and punctuation. Writing thank you notes seems to be a lost art, but besides just the physical act of forming letters in the correct order, it fosters creating ideas, sentences, and concepts that expand through use.

For the younger children only 15 to 30 minutes consistently each day will be time well spent, for child and parent. As they get older, they will be able to do more and more independently, yet they still will appreciate (though maybe not express it verbally) your attention and approval.

As in reading, it would not hurt for your child to also write right alongside a parent. Modeling behavior yourself is extremely important for the development of your children.

They are excellent observers. If they see you do it, they will assume it is "okay", so they will do it.

Make sure, then, that you are seen reading, especially, and it wouldn't be a bad thing for them to see you writing letters to grandma or grandpa.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: Bill Brooks

Gee, Mr. Weete, what if my family is Mormon? Muslim? Buddhist? Heck, what if we're all Scientologists?
You know, It is quite possible to teach children to read without the need for religious indoctrination.
Although I found it personally important to teach my children handwriting, I guess you haven't noticed that it's not really a highly utilized skill anymore in our current age of information and technology. It's akin to teaching your child Sanskrit for the fun of it. Life tends to move much faster now than it did in the 50s. A better use of your time and resources might be teaching kids how to type.
Computers are helpful to us humans for many things, including reading. While I love the feel of paper bound novels, the next generations might prefer to read using a Kindle or other tablet device.
Email, as opposed to snail-mail, offers you instant gratification in hearing from your grandkids, grandpop.

Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Article comment by: latanya childs

Another fine article by Mr. Weete! Thank you. Very good read! keep them comin!

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012
Article comment by: @Bob Weete

I really wish you would address the questions put to you by these comments. Having a dialogue about the underlying suppositions of your views would be very helpful I am intrigued by the use of "sic" in that I have seen it so often and never even thought about what it meant. Now I want to know: did the use of "whose" violate a grammar law or not?

Posted: Friday, November 2, 2012
Article comment by: Crazy Town

@Bobby~Well said...your last sentence says it all for me. I care about equal protection under the law and a womans right to decide what she does with her own body but those things don't apply to me. I want them though and I hope people realized the ramifications of a Romney presidency. They don't care about us, unless we vote for them and that's only till they get elected.

Please vote no matter who you support. Just having that ballot in your hand is enough for most civilized people to understand they have the power to change someone's life, and they make responsible choices, hopefully.

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: bobby pretzel

More Green Acre's advice from Bob. Folks, I wouldn't follow this man's advice anymore than the government's when it comes to child rearing. Heck, Weete was a government payroll suckling for years. Further, he worked at PVHS, where the real graduation rate is artificially inflated by passively promoting failing students. When I was a senior I vividly remember some of my peers struggling to read elementary material. This country is in a hole because of its cowboy wars on everything and uncontrolled banking. Bring back the focus on education, environmental friendly industry and supporting peaceful humanitarian policies and we can do better.

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: @why the sic

The term "sic" is Latin and comes from the phrase "sic erat scriptum" and means "as it is written." This is done to point out a mistake in the original author's usage or spelling and is usually done for either ridicule or to explain an outdated, historical reference without changing the original text. It is commonly used when citing old English documents that were written before standard spelling conventions were established. Why Weete thought there was a mistake to maintain is beyond this old gray head to explain... Perhaps he will?

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

@ Person going as@el pica buyas. If he offended you for writing about Obama then write your own column as to your disagreements with Mr.Weete's Column. But as to pulling things out the air,that are not related to the subject of the column. Makes you and others sound like third graders fighting in the school yard. Like my fathers better than your father. or he starts with my mother is better than your mother. But the other kids tells him your right. That's what my dad says. In other words the the first kid should have stuck to the subject of fathers. But he when off the reservation and he got burned.

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: again with the Eyore

You just can't help yourself, I guess. Para. 2 "not allowed" Para.6 "strange in this day and age" "okay to correct your child" Para. 10- the entire last sentence Para. 12 "probably aren't done often enough these days" Maybe you should give these essays to the editor with the express request to remove any reference to doom and gloom, the incompetence of parents, the failure of kids to appreciate the hardships ahead and the fear that someone might enjoy being happy. Lighten up, Weete, You know, a little more honey and a little less vinegar...

Posted: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Article comment by: former teacher

I am confused. Is Weete talking about riting as being able to form the letters on paper or being able to put words together to share a story? He starts by saying to learn the alphabet, then to form the letters, and finally to write a letter to g'pa, presumably to practice forming the letters?

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: why the sic

I thought "sic" meant that someone was directly quoting someone else's word use or spelling and wanted to designate that the original spelling was a mistake but was being re-created for authenticity. What should have been the correct spelling or usage? "Who's" means "who is" and "who is religion?" wouldn't make any sense. "Whose" is the possessive form of "who" and that fits with "whose religion" meaning there are choices of religion-- yours, mine, theirs, etc. Please clarify.

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: @el pica buyas

Since Weete wrote his obnoxious, toxic columns calling our President a narcissist and filling his column with unfounded,hateful accusations, he has made it the business of anyone who wants to challenge his politics. And those of us who find that offensive have the right to our freedom of speech to tell him so!

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: @whose (sic) religion

Check your second paragraph, particularly the last sentence. If you didn't mean that the schools should continue to use the Bible to teach values useful for later in life, you should not have included that in your column. But what is really funny is that the suggestion to use the Bible for reading practice came from a comment from a reader of your previous column on reading, the first R you brought up, and you put it here as if you just thought of it yourself. Nice.

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: EL PICA BUYAS

Let me ask you. You bunch of whiners, where were politics interjected in this column? Since you people can not fight a decent war of words. That you have to put your own agendas here. No where were was there a mention to teach the bible in public school. So where does Huckabee fit in this discussion. Or the death of that congressman that was kill by a falling tree? If you are going to attack a person. Attack him on what he has written in this column. Remember that the Church and Politics do not mix. This is about learning about reading and writing and introducing good morals in a family setting. I'm just saying lets stick to the subject. That way we can have a good discussion and voice our own opinions on the subject in, or is it, at hand. Or are some of you afraid, because you have no morals, to stand on. Again if the shoe fits then wear it.

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: Bob Weete

@of course. FYI this column was about teaching Riting. Your comments are not even remotely connected to this one. Why are you here???? Please use some other column dealing with politics, okay?

Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Article comment by: Michelle M

I enjoy your articles Mr. Weete. If only more people would heed your suggestions, such as the ones today, our community could be a better place. And we all know there is plenty of room for improvement in Blythe!

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