Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Haven't Received a Sensible or Satisfactory Answer on This One Yet Either

As I am sure most of us have not, I have yet to have anyone tell me the thinking behind this "style" either. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me. Trust me, this is not the same thing as the Afro or the Mini Skirt in the 70's. As with my post about the wearing of the caps, I truly hope the answer has more substance than "It's the style."  Okay saggin' pant wearing fashionistas, here is your chance to enlighten The Critical Thinker.

Cap Fashionistas - Please School Me

I must admit, The Critical Thinker is truly ignorant of why caps are worn in this manner. I need some of you "cap scholars" or "cap fashionistas" to school me on this. I see it daily and just continue to wonder. So if you are a cap wearing specialist out there or can forward this to someone who is, I would love to hear the thought process or reasoning behind the wearing of a cap like those in the photos. I hope the answer has more substance than "It's the style." 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sometimes It's Just Good To Get Away Into The Silence

I just spent a week in a small rural town in Georgia called Louisville. My mom lives there and I went to visit her last week. It is VERY quiet where my mom lives in Louisville and that is one of the reasons I went to visit. Being there was like being on a retreat. It felt great to get out of the daily noise of the city. I literally could sit on her porch and hear "nothing." Total silence. Sometimes it's just good to get away into the silence. As the adage goes, "Silence is Golden."  Make time to go somewhere and be silent. You are invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and on Tumblr

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Why We Must Read Causes Some Great Debate and Discussion

The post Why We Must Read (July 5, 2013) garnered so much discussion (I love it by the way), that I featured it on The Reading Circle with Marc Medley this morning (July 13, 2013). I am truly grateful that the post is causing so much debate and discussion as that is the goal of The Critical Thinker.  I invite you to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01, on Tumblr and on Instagram (IG) Reading Circle.   Thank you all for your commentary and debate.

Friday, July 5, 2013


I was truly saddened as I watched Rachel Jeantel struggle to keep any modicum of pride and self respect that she could as she attempted to soften her letting the world know of her inability to read by stating that she could not read cursive. Ms. Jeantel looked to hold on to just a little bit of self esteem when she tried to make the issue her inability to read "cursive writing" and not her inability to read words.  She did not say that she could not read her friend's handwriting or penmanship as we used to call it, which is maybe what she had hoped to convey, she said she could not read cursive which really meant that she could not read.

Many criticized or poked fun at the situation, but the truth of the matter is, Ms. Jeantel's inability to read is not a laughing matter at all. Someone or many "someones" dropped the ball including Ms. Jeantel because in order to be helped you have to seek it and accept it when it is given. The problem with this though is, Ms. Jeantel could not have been the only one who knew she could not read. Parents? Guardians? Teachers? Principals? Neighbors? Congregants? Pastor? Friends? Ms. Jeantel?  

It is hard to believe that in 2013 we have people who are illiterate and yet we do. I am writing this post not to ostracize or criticize Ms. Jeantel, because the truth of the matter is, it really it not about her; but for those of us who are parents; guardians, teachers, principals, neighbors, congregants, pastors, friends, etc. etc. etc. to read to our children and have our children read to us. I cannot overemphasize the importance of being able to read, enough. There was  no way as an advocate for reading and an avid reader, I could let this opportunity pass without taking it to encourage everyone to learn how to read and then if you know how to read, teach someone else how to read.  I also need to be clear that reading is not just about being able to recognize the words as reading is much more involved than that. I oftentimes hear children say "I can read," and then when I ask them what the passage or story was about that they just read, they cannot do it. They look at me with a blank stare. The ability to decode words is different from being able to comprehend the combination of the words together.  We must teach our children (and adults for that matter) how to decode, be fluent and be able to process the words in order for them to understand the information they are reading.

As an advocate for reading, it was painful for me to watch Ms. Jeantel because she symbolized so many people who will find it impossible to truly function in a society where reading is not an option but a requirement. Have you ever been in line at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) behind someone who could not read or understand the ATM prompts?  How about traffic signs? Menus? Directions? The list of things that must be read goes on and on. What type of jobs/careers will the Rachel Jeantel's of the world be able to ascertain? What type of salaries will they be able to earn? It's all connected and reading is one of  if not the most important pillar.

I host a radio show on Saturday mornings where I interview authors with the hopes that those who are in the listening audience will increase their interest in reading. The intent and purpose of the show is to encourage people to read more. Reading can take you to other countries without you having to leave your recliner or sofa.  There are so many benefits associated with reading such as being a better writer to a recent report in Men's Health News entitled The Pastime That Boosts Your Brainpower extolling how reading now strengthens your memory later in life.

Please share this post with anyone and everyone you can to help get the word out that we MUST read. Talk about it. Think about it. Strategize about how you are going to help someone who cannot read learn how to read and comprehend. The new Common Core Standards will require students to be able to read and comprehend "informational text" and they will not be able to do that by just decoding words. They will have to be able to decode the words, triangulate the information, explain what the writer meant to them and then cite in the text supporting evidence as to how they came to their conclusions. 

This post is my little part in helping us to act to end illiteracy in both our children and adults. I implore all of us to read with our children. I implore all of us to have our children read to us. I implore all of us to turn off the television sets and every other electronic device and to sit down and read an old fashioned hard cover or paperback book.  Rachel Jeantel ought to serve as yet another wake up call. The question for us is are we going to wake up or are we going to continue to hit the snooze button. 

Something to critically think about and act on. I welcome your commentary in the comment section and you are invited to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and on Tumblr @ You are also invited to tune in to my radio show The Reading Circle with Marc Medley on Saturdays at 6 a.m. ET on and WP88.7 FM. 


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

It's Been A Rough Couple of Weeks - What's Going On?

It's been a rough couple of weeks to the point where I haven't been able to figure out my words and thoughts for this post. One of Bob Grant's most popular lines as a talk show host is "It's sick out there and getting sicker"  and there seems to be more and more merit to his statement. Not that any of the events of the last few days are new; it just seems like it has been a bombardment of "sickness" out there. Sickness ranging from the Aaron Hernandez case; to Rachel Jeantel exposing her illiteracy on a worldwide stage; to one of my former students being charged with a senseless murder; to a caller named "Marcus" defending why Black people should be able to use the word "nigger" on the Geraldo Rivera show that was hosted by Larry O'Connor in Geraldo's absence. The sickness seems to abound; to flurry. For once I am truly at a loss for words as I have watched these events unfold.

The caller Marcus actually shared on the air his nonsensical rules with talk show host Larry O'Connor as to who and how the word "nigger" should be used by Blacks and Latinos. It was an absurd conversation. In 1971, Marvin Gaye melodically crooned the question "What's Going On?"  That is still a relevant question in 2013, probably even more so. In fact, since I am at a loss for words, I will close this post with Marvin singing his classic "What's Going On?"  Something to critically think about. I welcome your commentary and invite you to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.