According to the latest report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), The US spent approximately $12,800 per student on elementary and secondary education, which is 35% more than the OECD country average.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Good old US, spending more than anyone else on education. That must mean we produce an educated populace, right?

Not so fast…

The report goes on to say, “Where the United States starts to fall behind is how much knowledge students gain from their education.”

When it comes to standardized tests that assess academic knowledge, “15-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 31st out of 35 OECD countries.”

The gateway skill to academic learning is the ability to read at one’s intelligence level.

Unfortunately, reading practices that dominate in US schools almost guarantee that millions of US children will never become fluent readers.

It doesn’t help that professional educators and literacy do-gooders tend to talk about reading in a way to make it sound boring and even medicinal, yammering on and on about cognitive skills, critical thinking, and college-readiness. What about the joys of reading? The comforts?

Children are harangued so often about the importance of reading as to make it sound as unappealing as broccoli. In movies and on TV, intellectually curious characters who read and speak careful English are often ridiculed.

Parents who want their children to become fluent readers must be prepared to pre-empt anti-intellectual propaganda as well as inefficient reading instruction that begins in kindergarten.

Literacy begins at home. The foundations are laid by parents who read to their children from birth. Ideally, children will also see their parents in the act of reading for utility and for enjoyment.

Children who see adults sighing or laughing over a book won’t have to be cajoled into learning. They will demand to be taught how to unlock the secrets that readers possess.

Start them early.

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