has served him well. He is in college in
another state and doing well.
Does a superior devotion to reading
foster a love for writing and an ability
to write? Again, my children initially
thought writing was the next worst
thing imaginable to do after reading.
All are avid readers and now, after many
writing assignments, are avid writers;
two of them are currently working on
their own novels. We have seen that the
better they are at reading, the better they
are at writing, and the better they are at
reading, the better they are at spelling,
and the better they are at reading, the
better they are at problem solving. The
list goes on.
There is nothing more important in
our homeschooling efforts than teaching a child to read and teaching a child
to love to read. Elizabeth Hardwick years
ago said, “The greatest gift is a passion
for reading.” I think she is right on the
mark. A passion for reading is a foundation for much in life, especially with the
competing electronics that are enveloping so many in our society. Groucho
Marx had something to say on the topic
of electronics, specifically televisions: “I
must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it
on, I go to the library and read a book.”
And there was C. S. Lewis, who said, “We
read to know we are not alone.” Reading
is so very important.
Examining the statistics and what’s
relevant when it comes to reading, I am
not going to focus on the homeschooling
data but rather will take a look at all the
data. Sometimes I think we get caught
up in homeschooling-specific data when
what’s really important is data pertaining
Research shows that children who
grow up in homes where books are plen-
tiful tend to go, on average, three years
further in school than those who do not.
When children have access to books at
home, children with low-education
families do as well on standardized tests
as children with high-education fami-
3 Children in classrooms without
literature collections read 50% less than
children in classrooms with such collec-
4 Children typically learn 4,000 to
12,000 new words yearly as a result of
5 And the performance
advantage among children whose par-
ents read to them in their early school
years is evident regardless of the family’s
. . . The better they are
at reading, the better
they are at writing,
and the better they are
at reading, the better
they are at spelling, and
the better they are at
reading, the better they
are at problem solving.
What do the statistics show for chil-
dren who do not learn to read and read
well? Children who do not read profi-
ciently by third grade are four times more
likely to leave school without a diploma
when compared to proficient readers.
The number rises when those children
also come from poverty.
7 Every school
day in the United States, 3,000 children
drop out, and the majority of those chil-
dren are poor readers. Children with
below-grade-level reading skills are twice
as likely to drop out of school as those
who can read on or above grade level.
Nearly one-third of all college fresh-
men had to take a remedial course in
reading in 2007–2008, and following that
remedial course, each had only a 17%
chance of graduating.
Heather and her husband, Steve, live in
Edgewood, New Mexico, where they have
homeschooled their five children, Edward
( 19), Joseph ( 17), Emily ( 14), Hana ( 8),
and Ezekiel ( 8), for the last fourteen years.
When not homeschooling, doing things
with her family, or writing for TOS, Heather works as a Human Factors Engineer in
her home-based consulting business. Please
visit their website: www.hippityhooves.com.
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