Re "Despite Aid, Boy Still Far Behind Peers," June 30:
Let me see if I understand the situation with Ruben Rocha and his struggle to learn how to read: Ruben, along with his mother, father and six brothers, lives in a converted garage in Boyle Heights. His parents have not helped or cooperated with the efforts of various tutors to try and help Ruben to read. Also, Ruben has other siblings who are struggling in school. Finally, Ruben's father, Ernesto, has just recently found work as a gardener.
Despite these problems and the family's obvious financial hardships, Ruben's father has decided that it would be in the best interests of the family to purchase and make payments on a 72-inch television!
Is it any surprise, given the attitude of his parents toward education, that Ruben has had so much difficulty learning to read?
As a reading teacher I was saddened but not surprised that there is no magic way to teach our Rubens to read. For nonreaders I have found that the best intervention is to teach the decoding skills one-on-one and to develop comprehension skills in small groups.
Were I Ruben's mother, I too would be upset if a James Marin, a 20-year-old nonparent (I assume) told me I was a poor parent. The goal of Reading by 9 is to have children reading at grade level by age 9, not to teach parents how to parent. If the Rochas do need help, someone respected by them as a knowledgeable professional should speak to the family.
I would hope that Ruben becomes a contributing member of society. He will have a full-time job, like his father, and be able to purchase some extras for his family, like the television his father purchased for them.