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His Point/Her Point: Teach critical thinking, reading
by Dawn Brandvold
Aug 25, 2011 | 1164 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Recently Utah’s ACT scores were released in comparison to national averages. The Beehive state’s composite scores came in at 21.8 (just above the nation average of 21.1). Before anyone in the State Legislature spouts off on how Utah schools are obviously able to compete even when they are the lowest funded per pupil in the nation, there is an important footnote to the ACT test results.

In Utah, not all high school students take the ACT. Normally only college-bound students sign up for the test. There are many states where the ACT is required for all high school students. Utah’s scores may not hold up so well if every student took the test. The good news is that 14 percent more students are taking the test, with an increase of 150 percent among Latino students. The bad news is that only 27 percent of the test takers scored high enough to show they were ready for college-level work.

Every year parents send their children to school with hopes that they will have a good learning experience with a supportive teacher and a challenging curriculum. A good case could be made that the key to classroom (and life) success is reading.

The ability to read can impact the ability to handle story problems in math, understand history, improve spelling, and increase vocabulary. Reading is so much a part of school success that it might be a good idea to focus solely on reading for the first year of education. Children who can read have more confidence in other subjects and generally have a happier school experience.

If your child is struggling with reading, ask her teacher for some reading suggestions and read with and to her. Spending time reading to your children, even when they are competent readers, can help with comprehension and communication skills. Don’t just read; discuss what you read together.

Taking 15 minutes a day to read with your children and to let them read to you is a small sacrifice with great dividends. Their teacher will thank you, and the benefits will be worth it. Hit the library after school. Make a library card one of your child’s most prized possessions.

As a parent, it is our job to make sure we give our children the tools they need for success. Reading is a no-cost tool that is vital to their future.

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