Poverty + Poor Reading Skills

Group of children in a primary school in Paris

Image via Wikipedia

Have you noticed that the more gadgets we invent the worse our childrens’ reading skills disintegrate? I mean we can produce cars that park themselves, sophisticated machinary to cure ill-stricken diseases (in no way am I complaining about that so don’t get it twisted!), and plenty of other successful inventions however we in America cannot seem to create a high percentage of outstanding readers?

Unfortunately a big chunk of those kids who do have poor reading skills are in the black communities. I live in the hood so I know this first hand. I see more kids recite word for word a Nicki Minaj song than complete a decent sentence.

Poor reading skills are the result of:

…eating habits. Believe it or not you are what you eat. The things you put in your body can and will affect you and how you operate. Let me give you an example. You know the feeling you get after eating a big ass, grease filled meal? That -itis I call it. You’re mad sleepy and become extremely unfocused. Imagine feeling like that every day. You would not be at your best. That is how a lot of kids feel. Buying these grease filled foods that are quick to fix are a lot more cheaper than buying foods that are healthy.

….parents not having a high educational level themselves. A child’s first role model are its parents. Sometimes that is not a good thing especially now where parents are getting younger and younger. This also means high dropout rates in school. Kids see that their parents do not care, so why should they?

.…abuse. No matter verbal or physical abuse is abuse. Abuse can cripple a child’s mentality and ability to learn. Their self esteem is pretty much shot if abuse is in the home. Yes some can get out of that situation with positive results however the percentage is not large enough.

….living in the hood. Kids do not see a lot of positive things going on outside of their window. The government forgets about the affects some of their laws are having on poor neighborhoods. They take away every program in the already poor educational system with no kind of remorse as long as their kids are safe in their ‘little’ private school. Half ass supplies and outdated books are what they expect these kids to learn from. A lot of teachers are mediocre and are not that motivated to teach these kids and lead them into the right direction. There are good teachers, just not enough. If it takes a whole village to raise a child, what happened to our village of people?


I hate reading different articles on poor reading skills in poor neighborhoods with no solutions to the problem. Ghandi did say ‘be the change you want the world to be’ didn’t he?

Solution #1: Don’t wait until your kids are in high school before doing something about their poor reading skills. As I was going thru making notes for this post I read some articles on improving reading levels in high school students. Why in the hell would you wait until they are in high school? Did you know that if the basic skills (reading, math, etc) are not learned by their fourth grade year that child will struggle the farther he/she goes in school? Why set them up for failure? Read to your babies. It doesn’t just mean books; try signs, words advertised on the sides of trucks, groceries, and even menus. There is always things to read.

Solution #2: Educate yourself. As I said earlier the percentage of teenage moms dropping out is embarrassing and way too high. The media is glorifing teen pregnancy like it is the new black not realizing the consequences of their actions. Do not be a stupid fool like the majority of the teenage mamas are. Educate yourself as much as you can if you do not have someone around you that you can use as a mentor. If you know of a teenager who you feel is suffering academically try to make education an important priority. Parents break the tradition of not getting an education. When it’s time to help your own kids with their homework you will know what to do. Ask around for programs that will help adutls and that are free. The library has plenty of programs, classes, tutors and resources for children and adult to learn. I swear the library is a godsend!

Solution #3:  Constant contact with school teachers are a must. In my city the school sends home a sheet before parent/teacher conference that has questions you should be asking your child’s teacher. Do not throw that away! Being active and consistent with being active lets you know what your child is learning and when. It also makes your child feel important, that they matter which will increase their self esteem to push harder in their academics. If they have a strong foundation to balance on they will be set for life.

Solution #4:  Give your kids books that will interest them if they are really having that tough of a time wanting to read. This lets them know that reading can be fun and interesting. Get them a library card and not just to use for renting out video games and movies!

Getting kids to read is a tough chore especially the older they get but don’t make it harder by not supporting them. This is our future we’re talking about.

After reading my list are there solutions that I’ve missed that you know will get results? Lets start a convo.

Peace and luv!


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