We won't expatiate on this subject; we have just one point to make
"Expatiate." It means "to speak or write in great detail."
Expatiate isn't a word you're likely to come across on a daily basis. It's probably not one you'd even find on a standardized test like the Colorado Student Assessment Program exam. The word takes a little getting used to since it's rarely seen in the pages of a book or heard in a conversation.
And that's our point particularly as it pertains to those infamous standardized tests.
The English language is far too vast to sit down and learn completely. All great writers are avid readers, and vice versa. Assuming you are conversationally fluent in the language, new words and familiarity with their meanings and nuances come with reading, writing and speaking.
You cannot, as an employee here once tried to do, learn the English language via a stack of vocabulary flash cards. She was preparing to take the Graduate Record Exam yet another standardized test and her efforts seemed futile, given the number of words in the English language.
Yet, it seems that is how schools are expected to teach our children and they are expected to succeed with that method. Open book, sit here for one hour, transcribe and define words, and presto become literate.
For the last few years, we have been reminded of our children's literacy or their lack thereof with the release of the annual CSAP reading and writing test scores. Every year, the results are a source of much consternation, finger-pointing and defensive explanation on the part of parents, teachers and school administrators.
While Steamboat schools seem to be making the grade, Soroco and Hayden schools have been struggling mightily with these new tests. This year, for example, the CSAPs indicated that 32 and 34 percent of fourth-graders in Soroco and Hayden, respectively, are proficient in writing.
Those schools are trying to revamp their curriculum, retrain their teachers and reeducate their students to be stronger readers and writers. But, it's quite a challenge, considering that they are trying to find ways to teach, in just a few hours a day, a language that takes years and years to master and is never completely learned.
That process really needs to be started, and continued daily, at home by parents who encourage and participate in reading and writing for fun. Unless a parent-laid foundation for literacy is in place and being continually built upon on at home, schools will have little more luck than our friend with her stack of flash cards.
What's at stake, after all, isn't the score an 11-year-old boy gets on a CSAP test; it's that boy's ability to communicate clearly and effectively as a wage-earning, 40-year-old father. He deserves to get the support he needs to expatiate.