Archive for September, 2010

Our California Summer Came After Labor Day!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

We’ve had such a cool summer in Southern California but last weekend a heat wave landed on our doorstep with a thud.  At 5:00 p.m., it’s 103 degrees outside and feels like a scorching Texas, fry-eggs-on-the-sidewalk summer day!

After running errands, I stepped into Barnes and Noble to cool off before coming home and turning on the AC.  My home office upstairs with plantation shutters shut tight is now tolerable.

To escape Sunday’s heat, we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway to Crystal Cove in Laguna.   Our blue Pacific was refeshingly cold.  I spent the morning riding the waves, bodysurfing.   Just two weekends ago, the days were so overcast that I was the only one in the water but yesterday O.C. residents dotted the beach with their umbrellas in hot tropical colors. After putting up ours, we rushed in the water.

After bodysurfing, I swam behind the green crystalline waves, ocassionally swimming out to a large one that was cresting.   After swimming most of the morning, we sought the shade of our umbrella and read Sunday’s LA Times, refreshed again by the sound of the pounding surf, knowing the cool water was just a quick dash from where we sat.  Here we were twenty minutes from home, enjoying a mini-vacation.  Loved it!

So our REAL taste of summer came after Labor Day!   We may yet have a furnace of an October as Santa Ana winds sweep in from the desert.  When they do, I’m heading for the beach!

Why the Literacy Gap between Boys and Girls?

Friday, September 24th, 2010

If you’re the parent of boys, you should be aware there is an alarming reading gap between boys and girls.  More boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test.  Apparently, girls in EVERY socio-economic and ethnic group, including children of middle-class, college-educated parents, score higher than boys.

Why this literacy gap between boys and girls?  According to Thomas Spence in “How to Raise Boys Who Read” in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, this boy-girl literacy gap coincides with the exponential growth of video games and other electronic entertainment over the last decade.

Researchers found that boys spend far more time plugged in to electronic media than girls do.  “Boys with video games at home spend more time playing them than reading and their academic performance suffers substantially,” Spence says.  If you’re the parent of a boy, you may have experienced this.  The author cautions parents to “keep electronic media, especially video games and recreational Internet under control (that is to say, almost completely absent).  Then fill your shelves with good books.”  Deprived of electronic stimulation, boys may actually pick up a book.

Spence concludes by stating: “There is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls.”   Might it be these homes expose their children to little or no electronic media or at least keep it under control? Might it be that parents of home-schooled children place a high value on literacy and do all they can to ensure their children – boys and girls – become proficient readers?  Many home-school parents often make great financial sacrifices to educate their children. Home-school families have less money to fill their homes with video games but I believe home-school parents have less desire to do so as they are the hands-on educators of their children. Why would they want video games and the like compete with the educational goals set forth in their homes? Then, of course, there is more parent-child interacftion in a homsechool family.

Parents are their child’s first and primary teacher. If they fill their home with junk, children will suffer. This goy-girl literacy gap can not be blamed on teachers. They are not the ones buying the videos or failing to keep electronic entertaiment under control. Parents are failing to fulfill their parental responsibilities.What do you do as a parent to promote reading in your home?  I’d like to hear from you.


To read The Wall Street Journal article in its entirety, go to:…/SB10001424052748704271804575405511702112290.html