by Dr Shen Li Lee
There is more to success than academics, but I believe there are three key basics that you can’t do without – the 3 R’s (reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic), although why they call it the 3 R’s is beyond me. Yes, the 3 R’s are important. Every parent knows that. Why would I even have to write about it?
Given the recent concerns about the declining rate of functional literacy, ensuring that the next generation is able to read well should be a concern of every parent. If learning to read is a natural skill that all children will master in time without intervention, then why are literacy rates declining?
- Literacy of College Graduates is on the Decline – Washington Post
- I Can’t Read My Highschool Diploma – HuffPost Live
- England’s Young Adults Trail the World in Literacy and Maths – BBC News
- The Appalling Decline of Literacy Among College Graduates – History News Network
Literacy is important for future success because if you can read, you can learn anything. Reading is knowledge. Reading is power. Suffice to say, it would be tough to get through life as we know it without being able to read. Reading is a skill that every child should have – not only just to be able to read but to be able to read well.
This is another skill that seems to be diminishing in this digital age. As much as we’d like to think that writing is becoming obsolete because we can now type letters on a keyboard, it isn’t quite as simple as that. Handwriting provides developmental benefits that are not realised with typing. Here are some reasons why handwriting is important:
- Handwriting helps develop reading skills – the kinesthetic approach of writing is a powerful memory aid to facilitate letter recognition. Having to image a letter before writing it also reinforces letter recognition.
- Handwriting trains the brain – it improves idea composition and expression and may aid fine motor-skill development. Handwriting differs from typing because it requires executing sequential strokes to form a letter whichactivates massive regions involved in thinking, language and working memory—the system for temporarily storing and managing information.
- Why handwriting is important – changes how children learn, affects brain development, develops memory, and even engages different brain circuits compared to typing.
- Cursive benefits go beyond writing – it improves brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.
Why is Math important for future success? Firstly, mathematical problems exist everywhere in our daily lives – we use it when we are working out our change to pay for groceries, we use it when we’re measuring out ingredients to bake a cake, we use it when we’re determining how much more time we have before we are supposed to meet up with a friend, and I could go on and on. Suffice to say that numbers are everywhere. Secondly, most jobs require at least a basic proficiency in math, and if you want to do science, engineering and research, then you had better be good at it! Thirdly, a good mathematical knowledge helps us make better economic and political decisions. Fourthly, Math is a great subject for developing problem solving skills, logical deduction, and reasoning. These are skills are beneficial because they can be translated to many other areas of our lives.