The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

A Message to My Readers

In order to explain the development of reading from the beginning of time to the present and how we should teach reading today, I will try to describe the world-wide history of language as accurately as I can.

According to what has ben reported by researchers, ancient human beings began to communicate by making oral sounds and carving stone shapes that represented their thoughts, experiences, and needs. Over time, however, sounds and stone carvings became not good enough to communicate accurately with other people, so they used their mental and physical abilities instead. They began by turning grunts into howls, then howls into precise sound forms, that are now known as “words.“  

 As the world grew larger and more complicated many human beings, now called “people”, began to do whatever was necessary to merge with others of different backgrounds or behaviors. At first, their languages were scrambled, and not understandable; but when some people moved to large, healthier areas they improved their speech considerably. However, language differences today still cause problems for anybody moving into a foreign country. 

Today, life may still be complicated for some Americans citizensbecause written English still contains words created in other countries with letter sounds that don’t match our speech. Although competent readers are able to ignore strange word spellings, many young children just learning to read, become confused by letters that don’t seem to fit words.  As a result, their reading confidence may become weaker than before.

Although phonics lovers claim that sounding out words is the way to teach reading, they ignore the fact that much time and effort may be needed by young children, and also that there is a much easier way to learn reading. They reject the fact that healthy Americans–old and young– recognize people, objects, and places where they live or visit immediately.  For example, normally developing young children imminently recognize their parents among family members, the foods they like to eat, their own shoes, and as they grow up, there best friends, school classrooms, their teachers, and their favorite books.

Early reading abilities are not difficult for healthy young children whose parents read to them regularly. But even those children who have not ben read to at home can learn to read quickly and easily at school if they have good teachers. When children see at school pictures of words along with there spelling, hear teachers read regularly to them, or get to sing songs while seeing them written, there reading comes quickly. Seeing, hearing, speaking, or even singing regularly becomes a part of there lives, much easier than reading and more pleasant than reading taught by phonics. If you can’t believe all I’ve said here, just try teaching a child to read first by phonics and then by word sight familiarity. Just see which way works better for children or even adults. Just for fun, ask a child or an adult to read the words below and see how they do it.

“Where”, “knot”, “plough,” “character”, “enough”, “cough”, “knight”, “gnome”, “knew”, “who”, “wreath”, “origin”.

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How to Save our Country

Although I understand why many Americans don’t wear masks when swimming or walking outside where there are no people, it’s hard for me to figure out why others go to restaurants or other crowded places without them. By now, I think all adults are well aware of the risks for themselves and everyone else when they are among theam. But it looks like manyof them don’t care or are quite stupid.  It is not just there own health that is at issue, but that of everyone they come in contact with, including friends and family members.

Today, all of us in our country are in danger because of the virus and the possible result of serious illnesses or death. So, isn’t that a good reason why adults who don’t wear a mask when they go out should receive a citations just like anyone else who has misbehaved publicly? That’s what happens now when a person acting illegally can be stopped by a police officer, fined, or even arrested.

So I’m proposing today that anyone outside in public without a mask, should be considered a criminal, and punished for his crime.  I think someone who threatens the health of others must payfor it. I thinkt that the amount of money could be small  and still persuade a person not waring a mask in public not to do it again.

What I’ve suggested is that all our states should take the one step that would protect all of us.  Ultimately, that action, or any similar one, may be the only way to save our country from a complete destruction.


Remembering Our Father

A few days ago I read in a newspaper that “Fathers Day” was coming soon. Because I was so proud of my father, Jack, and my younger sister, Helen, I wanted to write about both of them. Since I only remember a small number of the important events of his life and good treatment of his children, I will describe them today as best as I can.


Me and my father at the beach

Although my father has been gone from this world for many years, I still remember him often and feel proud and happy when I do.  He was polite and kind to everyone, and worked hard all his life. Also he never complained to others about the behavior of anyone in his family.  If I was troubled he always made me happy again, and he gave small gifts to my sister and me at the end of every week.  Most of the things he gave were comic books or toys, but a few of them were games that he made for us in his spare time.  In addition, he was always loving and helpful to our mother, even though she was pretty cool to him.  I think she had hoped for a wealthier and more powerful husband, and was disappointed by his job as the owner of a small food store.

What made me appreciate my father so much were the times when he read to me at home or took me with him to visit places outside that I had never seen before, such as a professional baseball game. What I liked even better were the small toys he made for both of us kids and the comics he read to me every evening before I knew how to read myself.  Unfortunately, my father lost his business during the Second World War because the meat he needed to sell was very expensive and the customers who bought it were very slow to pay him.  Finally, my father had to close his store and get retraining to be a machinist working in a factory. 

Much later my father went back again to a job as a butcher in a supermarket where he would work for his brother.  Although he didn’t make much money then my sister and I went to Bradley Beach that summer, staying in a large rooming house with other families. And later our parents joined us every weekend. Around that time my father got birthday gifts for all of us, but they were usually second-hand items because he didn’t have much money anymore. Later he bought used bicycles for us because we didn’t have any, and our friends did. In order to make the bicycles good enough to give us,

he had to repair and repaint them. When we finally got the bicycles we rode them and loved them for many years.

Unfortunately, our father died from cancer in his late 70’s.  He was a cigarette smoker over a long period of time, like most other men were back then.

Near the end of his life my sister and I, who were both married at that time, visited him in the hospital for the last time.  When we saw him he told us that he was getting better so we wouldn’t worry about him, and we pretended to believe him.  

All we could do after visiting our father was to go down to the hospital laboratory and donate our blood. Afterward we went back to our homes and our families.  But we never forgot our father or stopped trying to be like the wonderful person he was.  Although I’m not as kind or noble as him, I keep remembering him wirh love, and I still try to be one of the two daughters he was always so proud of.


My mother, my sister, my father and me, at my wedding



Recognizing Our Black Partners

Not long ago, while watching television, I was surprised to hear news and see a photo of a police officer pushing a black man face down onto ground where he could no longer breathe. Although other police officers and people walking by watched what was happening, none of them yelled or tried to stop the first officer’s treatment of the black man. But I, watching television, was appalled by the behavior of the people I saw doing nothing to stop the terrible treatment of this black man.

Only a few days later those who had seen or heard news of what had happened decided to protest it, in the same way they and many others protested earlier against the the closing of business buildings and eating places.

Because white Americans have long known that many black people are often mistreated or wrongly arrested, we should not be silent anymore. Instead, we should work to end all those mistakes and bad actions as soon as possible.

Our desire to improve respect for black people began in the minds of young white Americans and has been supported by their parents and other older people. We have all known the need for a strong positive movement. And many of our young Americans have heard a soft “Amen” from the voices of there parents and other older people who are still at home watching television and cheering the marchers. Clearly it is time for all of us to recognize black people as our equals, and our friends.

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How to Improve a school

When I became a school principal after working as a teacher for many years I was delighted by my new job. But I soon discovered that a principal could be overwhelmed by school problems that were hard to solve.

Early today I read an article in a magazine that described the teaching of grit used in many schools today because the teachers believe it helps students to learn. Although I was impressed by their description of the work I was not persuaded that grit was the best treatment for all students.. As a teacher I taught students without ever using grit, and I was even more sucessfel than I had ben before

Nevertheless, I’ve always wanted all students to learn well and be proud of there learning. When I began teaching I taught only early grades, and my goal was to have children learn reading, writing, and all other basic skills. But most important for me was having students know they were learning and should be proud of there success. 

 Later, when I became a school principle, the range of my responsibilities was varied, but I want to explain today only the most important ones. My main job was to make sure that all classrooms would have no more than 25 students with good behavior. But when behavior was a problem in classrooms, I had to work with teachers who knew the students well, because I didn’t know them at all. So instead of keeping all students of the same grade together in the same classroom every year – which is what most schools do —we moved those students having problems into more promising classrooms for the following year. Our decisions for placing students were based on what we knew abought there previous school problems and there current learning.  Near the end of every school year I met separately with all teachers so they could help me decide where to place each student the next school year.  

In the years that our school was large placing students in the right classrooms required a lot of time and careful planning. And we were not always successful. As a result we had to move some students again in the middle of a school year. But when the school had fewer students than usual our work became much easier. We built small, well organized classrooms that we thought would be easier to manage than those in previous years, and they were. The results of our planning turned out to be morebetter student learning and behavior than we had seen in earlier years, and it made all of us feel successful.

Our hard work helped almost all students to learn better, behave, and be proud of there performance. In my opinion a principal working with teachers regularly can improve any school. I think all large schools should consider doing what we did, and they will end up in good shape .

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