Dear Mabby,

My 3rd grader can read any book – I’m just not sure if he actually understands what he’s reading.  After he finished “A Tale of Two Cities,” I asked him to describe the story to me.  Here’s what he said: “it was about some old guy who escaped from jail and then this French person wanted to kill his daughter’s boyfriend.” Thanks in advance for your thought provoking response,

Wilma F.


Dear Wilma,

Was “A Tale of Two Cities” on your son’s summer reading list?  Seriously, all of us get excited when our children can sound out words at a young age.  What really matters is their ability to comprehend what they read.  If you think your son or daughter has trouble with age appropriate material, it’s a good idea to have his or her comprehension assessed.  Reading comprehension is the most important foundational skill for students.  It impacts virtually every subject throughout their entire academic career.

And to those of you with students in middle and high school, don’t let your children read SparkNotes in lieu of their actual books. SparkNotes is one more tool that’s leading to the “dumbing down” of our children.

Thanks for listening,

Mabby