Prayer, pledges, phonics and penmanship

Published 5:24 pm Saturday, January 11, 2020


I loved going to school…and loved all my teachers.

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I loved how we started the day by saying a prayer and the pledge of allegiance. We were not an unruly bunch. We all got along and most certainly obeyed the teachers and followed the rules. But we did have a few class clowns!

I believe that the pledge is still recited in most schools. I think it teaches students respect for our country and its citizens. It is an oath that should be spoken proudly and with heartfelt meaning.

Prayer teaches you about a living God who watches over us, and to care for one another. It is also sad that many children only hear at school – not at home.

I loved learning how to read and print, and eventually cursive handwriting. The stories and books took us on adventures and taught us about other states, countries and people and also our classmates. I enjoyed writing stories for my teacher to read and grade. I loved listening to the stories my classmates wrote.

Are essays a thing of the past? It is sad to think that students do not share their written stories so others can learn about their ideas and personalities.

I read a social media post where a mom just realized her child can’t read, and is now struggling to complete assignments and tests. I hear about it more and more and I have experienced this first hand with children I know, and I am not surprised because phonics are no longer taught in schools.

The sight-word method is widely used, and it does not teach a child how to sound out words, only to memorize howthat word looks. How  will a child ever know what two or three letters put together will sound like? If you can’t make the sounds of syllables how can you ever be a good speller or reader?

Simply put – you can’t. I don’t want teachers to be offended as I realize you have to follow school guidelines and curriculums given to you. I also admire each and every teacher because it is a job I do not envy. Our teachers are also having to teach many children.

The basic thing is they haven’t been taught at home. They do not know their colors or how to count, and have never been in a structured environment to know to sit still and listen.

However, children are struggling to read and spell in a day when it should not be happening.

Technology can not replace good basic skills. How sad to be unable to read, spell or write in this day and time. We do not need commoncore or shirley or whomever – our kids need to know how to read! How can we change the system so the children can receive the fundamentals or necessary skills?

I also ponder how you can not teach penmanship in class. Everyone should be able to sign their own name, especially on a legal document. Not just print it. Who decided that penmanship was no longer a necessity?

Think of all the people who wanted to be able to write, or read, and never had the opportunity! Cursive also helps students who tend to write their letters backwards as there is only a forward flow to this style of writing.

Calligraphy could be used as a secret coded document now. The youngest generation would not be able to decipher the words.

I can’t imagine a world without prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and great stories. However, it seems the world is spinning farther and farther from the same.

We are depriving our children of the privilege of these necessities and rights. Does the Pledge now offend people? Technology can not replace basic skills. How can you “Google” anything if you can’t spell? Or read well? What if you don’t have auto-correct?

Reading skills are required to operate any electronic device. I hope there will be students who want to learn the Pledge, write a story, and be able to do so without struggling to spell the words correctly or just be able to actually write not print.

Schools need to build from the basics: reading, writing and arithmetic, and add in the other courses. Yes, I know, technology is important and used daily; however, a strong foundation is always essential for anyone or anything to succeed.

Say a prayer, recite the Pledge and then pick up a pen and write a story. And share it with someone you love. And be thankful.