Reading should be fun-damental

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Columbus arts educator, author and all-around inspiration Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld shares more of her wisdom about raising happy, healthy, creative children:

Those of us who are with children - teaching, caring for, caring about - KNOW that each child is a sacred, unique individual. Our children have their own developmental journeys. Those who pass laws regulating and directing educational policies deeply affecting the lives of children and families often ignore well-researched conclusions and recommendations.

I think it is ironic that the country that is rated No. 1 in the world for its children learning successfully - Finland - is a country that does not even BEGIN to teach reading in a formal way until the children are SEVEN years old!

Holding back our third-grade children who do NOT test at a certain level by the end of third grade, I believe, is a drastic and heartbreaking mistake. Thousands of our children are fated to repeat third grade next year if they fall below the desired statistic determined by legislation.

Schools, of course, are in a quandary. Providing for extra third-grade classes, teachers, reading specialists, intervention staff, counselors (many children are dismayed and disturbed at being held back for a year) - I could go on and on with the repercussions of this not-well-thought-out policy.

I am hoping and praying that it will be withdrawn or changed. I am hoping that families will articulate their concerns to legislators and our state administrators on the effects of this directive.

Our children do not learn well under pressure. Do you?

Reading is fun. Reading is joyful. Reading is full of adventures and fascinating information. Come, children, join the exciting process. Relax, we know you will be fine readers!

Let's spend our millions of dollars, instead of on tests and testing, on books, extra reading teachers, field trips and delightful, inviting educational experiences for all our kids. Amen.