YOUR RECENT front page headline ‘Revealing nearly one third of children aged four and five are struggling to read or add up’ (YEP, August 26) worries me.
As a retired teacher of infants, with 20 years’ experience, let me reassure parents that only very few children would be able to read properly at five, never mind four.
Most schools do not encourage children to learn to read at home. It can be confusing to learn the names of letters rather than their sounds.
As Dan Gire says (YEP, August 27), ‘Finland has the best education system in the world and children don’t start school until seven’.
In most countries children do go to nursery schools but do not start ‘proper’ school until at least six.
Children learn so much from play in a stimulating environment such as a nursery school provides.
Parents can best help their young children by providing them with plenty of experiences, by encouraging them to talk and listen, and look at and talk about books and everything around them. And also encouraging them to ask questions and reason. Drawing, painting and many toys improve hand/eye coordination and hand control.
Playing with numbers rather than simply adding increases understanding. For example ‘what patterns can you make with six counters?’ or playing simple number games such as Ludo or Snakes and Ladders.
Children are usually full of curiosity and enthusiasm. Encourage them to investigate and explore and talk about everything.
Philippa Lloyd, Farsley
Paxman’s close to being an OAP
AIMED AT the elderly, Jeremy Paxman suggests euthanasia clinics disguised as tea shops – consequently Edna Levi thinks him sick, obnoxious and needing to be got rid of (YEP, August 21). Well now. If the lady considers insults and condemnation a suitably coherent and insightful response, then clearly Paxman and other like-minded gerontophobes have nothing to fear in the way of effective opposition.
In which case, I can only advise Mrs Levi to be extra cautious when next in town and fancying a cup of tea and a sticky bun.
Incidentally, now in his 64th year, it might be said that Paxman is on rather dangerous ground when advocating voluntary extinction for those of advanced years – assuming he practises what he preaches.
R Bates, Shadwell
Concern over radicalisation
IF, AS reported by the press and television that ‘radicalised’ British people return to England, then it should be a major concern for our government, and for the population of the British Isles.
How can we feel safe on our streets in the knowledge that these individuals may gain entry into our communities?
Mavis Harrison, Leeds
Got to get the basics right
WHAT A sad state of affairs that Olga Twist (YEP, August 20) had to resort to writing to the YEP before problem hedges and trees were eventually cut back in her area.
Sadder still, that as we look around the city and within the county generally, there seems to have been a distinct lack of grass cutting, hedge or tree trimming.
Over the last year or so I have noticed the increasing number of road signs partially or completely hidden by greenery.
Additionally, road markings at even major junctions have been gradually disappearing due to wear – and have yet to see any of these being repainted.
We know there have been cut-backs, but as individuals do we really have to go out with hedge trimmers in one hand and paint pot in the other to solve the problem?
Joking aside, it is compromising everyone’s safety – motorists and pedestrians alike.
It’s all very well boasting at how well we did as regards hosting the Tour De France, but a little bit embarrassing that we can’t even get the basics right.
Barwick in Elmet
Too much focus on luxury end
In reply to the question from Judith Harris ‘Do we need the luxury homes” (YEP, August 27) a simple answer would be for her to go down and look at those in question several months after they have been finished.
If they are all sold then the answer is yes. if not then it’s no.
However, I’ve noticed, that if you believe all the developers hoardings then all the new homes fall in to the luxury class.
What, I’ve asked myself, is it that defines luxury?
From what I’ve seen of these new builds ‘luxury’ is purely a sales pitch, as when you look at these houses they are hardly just above basic.
If your question is; why are there so few cheap, single or double bedroom properties being built? Well, developers are like garage, shop and factory owners – they are only in it for the money. So no doubt if they could make more profit from these than these bigger houses and flats they would.
The next question is how do we get more of these smaller homes built as it looks like councils are no longer building them in the way they did in the past?
Ivan Kovacks, Leeds
Lib Dems should see big picture
I had sight yesterday of a Liberal Democrat leaflet commenting on plans by the council to spend £550 000 on ‘a meeting room’. No detail is given of the room, or the work planned -–and it seems like a lot of money. But it did make me think about money and for example how many students the city could sponsor through university with the fees increased by the Liberal Democrats and their coalition partners, and costs running at about £50 000 for a degree – just 11.
It also put me in mind of the old ‘Parkinson’s Law’ book where a committee spends hours debating new bicycle sheds and nods through the cost of the nuclear reactor they do not understand.
Half a million is a tiny amount compared with the money the Liberal Democrats have cut from our council’s budget, tiny compared with the hundreds of millions in housing benefit now being channelled to private landlords, and the thousands of millions being wasted on Trident with Liberal Democrat support.
There is a big picture, and if the Liberal Democrats cannot see it they should complete their exit from politics.
Martin Hemingway, Headingley
Make Mike pay full cost himself
With regard to the repairs to the Mike Carpets building (YEP, August 28), Mike Smith should be made to pay the full cost of the restoration.work himself. After all he has made a good living from it and the money they save could and should go to a more worthy cause.
Tommy O’Reilly, Leeds
Would Darling stay in London?
A question which seems neither to have been asked of nor answered by Alistair Darling: if Scotland does vote for independence, would you stand for the new Scottish parliament or would you find an English, Welsh or Northern Ireland seat and seek to continue your Westminster career?
John Hein, Edinburgh