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Kuh. Aa. Tuh. Cat!

October 24, 2007

You start to worry about the future of our great nation™ when you hear that some eleven-
year-olds finish primary school unable to read. I mean, think about that for a sec. They can’t even read the word ‘cat’. Or ‘red’. Or ‘wig’. It’s a chilling thought.

When I were a lass, I loved to read. If I didn’t have my nose in a book, I’d most probably be either asleep or making those chocolate crispie things with my mum. Or playing Lego with my brother. Well, basically, I read. A lot. So it was rather shocking to watch last night’s first programme of a three-part series focusing on a school in London that has taken radical steps to improve their children’s literacy. In test, 8/24 children at the school didn’t even register a reading age. So the head teacher embarked on a controversial ‘new’ method of teaching kids to read.

This seemed to involve sounding out the words one syllable/letter at a time, and then stringing them all together. This confused me: that’s just how I was taught and if they’re not teaching it like that these days, then how the hell are they teaching kids to read? No wonder a child of 11 doesn’t even have a reading age because, well… he can’t read.

At one point in the programme, we saw a shot of the staff room, with a sign saying ‘staff only’. “Not much point in having that there eh?” mentioned Mr Badger. He’s so witty.

I think part of the problem with these kids is that their parents don’t seem to hold much stock on being able to read. One boy’s dad was too embarrassed to read to him because he too lacked this basic skill. Another’s mother was being conned by her young son into reading the book for him and letting him simply repeat what she said under the pretence of reading it back to her. And when he got bored of that, she asked him, “Oh, are you tired from all that reading?”
“NO!” I screamed. “He hasn’t been reading it you thick cow, he’s just bored of pulling the wool over your eyes yet again.”

I can’t remember if it was the same mother or not, but one boy’s mum seemed to have a football team of illiterates populating her home. She had six kids (three boys, two girls) and the eldest boys (11 and nine I think) couldn’t read. God knows that the others were like. What’s the point in having kids if you can’t raise them properly? Why push out another one if you’ve cocked up the first one’s future already?

Sorry to go all Daily Mail yet again, but I really think that being able to read is primarily the responsibility of parents. If the kid sees the parents not really caring, then they’re not going to bother themselves, which is really dangerous. Yes, children should learnt o read at school, but a school can only do so much – and if the parents aren’t keen, then there’s bugger all the school can do.

After that, I’d had my fill of parents who can’t raise their children and decided not to tune in to Brat Camp: Mothers and Daughters.

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