Wednesday’s Parent: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Wendy and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.

This post is about how parents can convey the importance of academics to prepare their child for college:


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Back in the “good ole’ days” reading, writing and arithmetic were the core subjects. Kids were taught to read with “Dick and Jane”, write printing and cursive on Big Ten tablets, and master 2+2=4. But as time progressed and primary education became a stepping stone for higher education, the curriculum, while still centered around these core subjects, has evolved. With the focus on higher education, it’s even more crucial that your kids understand the importance of academics.

How has it evolved and how can you help your kids be successful learners in these three disciplines?


reading writing arithmetic

In today’s digital age, reading is done a little differently. Kids used to go to libraries and check out books; now they go online and download them for e-readers. Technology competes for their attention and hours spent reading have been replaced with hours online in social media and playing games. Finding the time read is difficult, but you need to encourage your kids to read from the time they are small children until they finish college.

Why is reading so important? It expands their vocabulary and opens their minds to new ideas. Reading is a critical part of any standardized test and a key aspect of the college entrance exams. Reading teaches them to pay attention and ingest information as they read. It’s going to benefit them in high school, in college and in life if they develop a love for reading.


Years ago writing was a separate subject. Kids were schooled in the nuances of printing and moved on to cursive. Today, most schools don’t concentrate on the mechanics of it but on the content. Additionally, written correspondence is becoming less frequent as emails and text messages are replacing actual notes and letters.

An easy way to encourage writing in your kids is start them with journaling at an early age. Writing down their thoughts helps them to learn effective communication and teaches them how to use the written word to express their thoughts and ideas. This will be incredibly helpful in high school as they work on essays and as they begin to construct their essays for college applications and scholarships.


It’s amazing to me how many teens do not know how to make change or use basic math tables without a calculator. They learn the basics of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in grade school; but as time progresses, calculators begin being used and they forget how to calculate things without them.

How can you help your kids use those skills in their daily lives? Take them to the store with you and have them calculate and compare prices. Download math games and puzzlers to their phones, tablets and e-readers. As they move on into high school, help them to see the importance of math skills and formulas. Having these courses in your high school curriculum will help them as they apply to colleges and eventually move on to more advanced math in college and in their careers.

Schools now offer more than the three course disciplines: reading, writing, and arithmetic. But the foundation these subjects give students makes it easier for them to study history, science, art, music and communication. Breaking it down to these three will help parents guide their kids as they progress through school and focus on academics.

Read Wendy’s article Valuing Academics in 4 Stages.

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