You know you’re in the middle of a paradigm shift when the best way to inspire the Zip Line Kid to read & write over the summer turns out to be getting him a phone
Why should I listen? My Aunt Mary taught “grammar school” for decades; plus she taught me all the 2nd grade I needed to get into 3rd grade in about a month over the summer of 1963 (yes, dating myself — Vickie’s no where near this old).
I had spent the prior academic year in the Kindergarten row of a two room school-house in Céligny Switzerland because I couldn’t speak enough French to do 2nd grade work. That’s right Kindergarten row. You see, there were six rows in one room (K-5) with Madame Fiorina – and she was scary. Grades 6, 7 & 8 were in another room with Monsieur Fiorina. He was terrifying!
I hadn’t read, written or spelled anything in English for a year — and I hadn’t done any subtraction, which is about all the math taught in a U.S. 2nd grade class back in 1962.
Anyhow, Aunt Mary reminded me last weekend that all I wanted to do during the summer was go out and play — just like John. “It’s normal. Don’t worry,” she advised confidently.
Back to phones. We didn’t think we were getting John a phone in order to encourage him to read. But that’s what happened. Maybe it’s because this phone has a keyboard, which he likes because it makes it easier for him to text. And that’s nearly all he uses it for. Great — he’s reading!
I told John that, about 100 years ago, this guy invented a device that empowered you to have a conversation with another person in real-time. You didn’t have to type anything. You didn’t have to read a screen. You could even close your eyes if you wanted. I didn’t have to look for my glasses in order to use it.
He gives me a quizzical look for a moment and then, in disgust, blurts out “Oh, Dad,” with that pre-teen attitude you get when you ask if he’s brushed his teeth after he actually has. Then he turns back to finish texting his cousin in CT. I hear a bleep from his phone. Deftly he switches to answer a text from his brother, who’s in the next room.
We’re witnessing the advent of a new era, folks!