And taught them how to grow food, and build and fix things, and to communicate without offensively physical options, etc, instead?
I'm going to guess that this question is intentionally provocative to get responses, and it's working because I'm responding. It's quite a lot easier to teach kids how to build and fix things if they can read instructions. It's a whole lot easier to have them figure out why we need to grow our own food if they've read about how people live in other countries and what drought does to growing food.
Many years ago a friend of mine was worried about her own son with delayed reading skills and ultimately decided to enroll him in a private tutoring service to help him with that. Once his reading improved he began to also do much better in math and social studies and even art and music. Reading is a fundamental skill that translates to every other walk of life. So my conclusion? Nope. Teach them to read as early as possible AND teach them how to fix things.
"I'm going to guess that this question is intentionally provocative to get responses"
I'm thinking the same thing here. I guess I don't really see how kids would benefit from a delay in learning how to read, so I'm not really sure where this question came from except to rile people up.
Well, I was somewhat serious with the question. Reading and writing enables a person to function in society. But not all recent societies (most N. American natives for instance) had a written language yet seemed to have done well enough, and may have been more adept in other ways. I'm just saying, imagine a world in which people don't read or write but are highly enlightened and satisfied. Is that threatening? Maybe then we wouldn't have money or competition for resources.
Hmm, I guess still don't really see it. Our society depends on being able to read, so are you asking whether we'd be better off changing society? Stil, though, all societies have their pros and cons. I don't know of any society that was perfectly balanced or enlightened. Societies are made up of humans, and humans are flawed.
Perhaps I am completely misunderstanding the question.
Well, I wasn't asking anyone to judge it, simply to imagine it with an open mind, because it would be a huge departure from the way we are conditioned to process information while awake. Human society has functioned in the past without literacy. And our dreams don't depend on literacy, which is one-third of our lives. Again, it's just a thought not a suggestion. But, what if literacy is actually unnatural?
I think I understand what you're saying Jeff, but it's a hypothetical that is virtually impossible to create. It would be like saying that our society once functioned perfectly well having phones in which you dialed up an operator and had her connect you to your party. What worked in one era with regard to technology would never work in the 21st century. It might sound romantic and ideal, but we would quickly recognize that TODAY'S society is not geared that way. I just don't see any advantage to delaying a child's ability to read because I feel it would handicap him/her in the real world.
Well, in a few decades currently uninhabitable places like Greenland will be bucolic settings for utopian experiments. Maybe someone will write a y/a fantasy about that.
I'm not judging. I honestly didn't understand. I tried to imagine it, but just didn't understand what you were trying to say. That doesn't make me closed-minded.
The fact that you're thinking it about it shows you're very open-minded. Just imagine an austere Mohawk settlement in upstate New York in the year 1400. None of them could read or write, and there was nothing to read. I presume they were good artists and communicators. That's the way it was and it's interesting to think about.
When I was a third grade classroom teacher in 1965-1967 I had a wall poster I made in large colorful print with these words:
What I can think about I can talk about.
What I can talk about I can write about.
What I can write about I can read.
This was at the time when innovative teachers were moving away from the so-called basal reader approach to teaching reading skills to the "whole language" approach which involved the use of the children's own experiences as a means of developing writing and reading skills.
I have long held the idea that perhaps we should allow some children to learn on an "apprentice" basis the way it was done in the Middle Ages. Rather than force twenty some kids to sit in vertical and horizontal columns and rows, why not let the ones who are not attuned to this kind of environment learn by doing. Mentors who are retired could be one-on-one instructors for a child who wants to become an electrician or a biological researcher. Computer book writing and reading would be part of the process.
Another problem with American public school education is that as a developing nation we did not hold public school teaching candidates to the same level of standards that we did (and still do) for doctors and lawyers.
Barbara...Thanks for your response. It has been known for a long time that children's timing for embracing the written word is very individual. Some are ready at 4 yrs of age, some aren't ready until they are 9.
Also, just as important is a child's learning style...they each learn differently. I had a child that learned to read at 6, loved every minute of it and has read a book a day ever since..She is now 35. .My other child, now 29, learned by touching and experiencing and mental rehearsing...He still does not like to read, and only does so when he absolutely has to. Forget instruction manuals he has to work it out for himself and know the components and experience them.
The biggest issue to me is that basically, our school system does not want to or does not have the moneyavailable to evaluate childrens' learning styles and then teach them accordingly...Most schools are still very left brain and have negative attitudes towards the kids that learn a different way. It is an unrecognized prejudice that has caused "school failures" "school phobics" "school haters" and drop outs.....Children are born loving to learn and our educational system, in many many instances, squeezes this love right out of them.
There are more innovative schools available privately and some charter schools available publicly but it is just taking so long for any kind of reform and the most precious resource we have, our children, are suffering because of it.
I seriously considered pulling my son out of school and moving to the woods where he could learn in his own way at his own pace.....but I did have a daughter and a husband, so I just did the best I could......ended up suing the school district at one point( and winning ;-) But that's a whole other story!
There are schools in the United States, even out in the boondocks in places like Austin, that treat grades 1 through 3 as no-fail zones in which children may learn basic literacy and numeracy at their own speeds. If a child is developing motor skills faster than verbal skills, that's OK. There are expectations that have to be met to enter grade 4, but a child does not fail because he or she can't read Dr. Seuss on her own by some fixed point in the first three grades.