With recent riots occurring in various cities the reality of poor education is brought to light yet again. Over 90% of eighth graders in Detroit public schools are below grade level in reading. This is not unusual in large cities. These students go on to high school with an inability to read or drop out. So where did things go the wrong directions?
More and more evidence is showing that infants are more capable than Piaget understood. A recent article in the LSA magazine (Spring, 2015, pp50-52) from the University of Michigan highlighted the work of Heinz Werner Distinguished University Professor of Psychology Susan Gelman who has shown that children are far more aware than Piaget gave them credit. Indeed, many mothers find that reading to their children from birth has great dividends. Many mothers are also reading to their unborn child. One mother reported that she read a certain book to her child during pregnancy. Now that the child is born she reads the same book to her when she cries with the result that the child stops crying. Definite evidence that reading to the unborn child has a positive affect on the child. Another mother reported singing to the unborn child had a similar effect when she sang to the child post-birth. The mechanics of why and how this happens is the topic of a later blog; but for now, reading at an early age is vital to having a population with most students above grade level in reading instead of most being below grade level as is the current status.