Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 24, 2009

Richard Peck’s Parent Don’ts

This is for parents who want their children to read.  Something we should all be interested in as writers.

Richard Peck’s Don’ts

  1.  Never say to yourself or to others:  ”My child just isn’t into reading, but has so many other interests.”  Your child won’t get far with those other interests as a functional illiterate.  There’s a literature for every field:  scientific, artistic, athletic, vocational, professional, parental.  Successful people in those fields must have access to it.
  2. Never imply by word or attitude that reading and writing (including letter writing) are women’s work.
  3. Never tell your child or anyone else that your child is gifted.  Outsiders will smile away your biased opinion, and you have reason to hope your child doesn’t believe it either.  An A on a report card today may mean either that your child is not being challenged, or that everybody is getting A’s just for turning up.  A’s without homework are danger signals.
  4. Never complain about a teacher or a school program if you don’t personally know the school administration and faculty.  If you’ve been sending your children off in the care of strangers throughout their school lives, you have no leverage when you appear at school – a stranger yourself – with a complaint.
  5. Never worry about a book corrupting your child.  Don’t blame a book for giving the sex education you haven’t gotten around to.  Worry if your children aren’t getting ideas from books.  If your children aren’t reading, they’re at the mercy of the standards and whims of their peer group, standards to which you have less access than to what appears in print.
  6. Never use a book as a scapegoat for your inability to control your children’s television addition, and never worry over the words in a book your children already knew before they could read or see regularly written on walls.
  7. Never try to ban a book unless you want to help the author publicize it.

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