I’ve become more and more frustrated by the sheer number of people who can’t differentiate between your and you’re and other simple issues in writing. (It’s always “you’re welcome,” as in you are welcome, NOT “your welcome.”)
I think there are two reasons why both adults and young people cannot follow simple rules of grammar and punctuation or learn to spell correctly.
- People are lazy and do not care about rules.
- People do not generally read much.
Today, I’m addressing No. 2.
I thank God every day that I had family who read to me and encouraged me to read, as well as that I grew up in a time where the television wasn’t my babysitter.
I didn’t have a computer until (I think) the 7th or 8th grade, and so my activities as a kid involved swimming, riding bicycles, playing some sort of make-believe and reading books. Television was reserved for Saturday morning cartoons, The Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights, the evening news (only a half hour or less) and days when I stayed home sick from school.
My aunt, an elementary school teacher, spent summers reading with me and teaching me to write and spell. I used to bug my mom to go to Waldenbooks (remember those?), and she would be frustrated because I’d read the entire book she bought me in three hours.
In any event, a majority of my childhood, teen and young adult years were spent reading and writing, so I got lots of practice and exposure.
Many children do not have this luxury, and so they don’t grow up with a love of reading. Now, all their communication is via social networking and email, and they are exposed to bad spelling and grammatical errors all the time. If you always see “your welcome,” at some point you’re going to think that’s right!
No one should expect that a child who hasn’t done any sort of reading in the home will learn everything expected of him/her once in a classroom. Education requires formal schooling, of course, but must have a holistic approach starting in the home and with the parents. And parents need not have formal education to instill a love of learning in their children!
If you have kids, please take the time to read to them and with them. Resist the urge to let the TV be a babysitter! You will give them an advantage out of the gate, before they even step into a school, and help guarantee a better future for them and everyone.