Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Bob Rose: Hand- writing will improve literacy – part 2



I have added some further thoughts. Those of you who have read yesterdays post may read only the indented passages.

Bob
"What Bob Rose thinks is that "phonics rules" don't really exist, especially for our vowels, so what counts is the sound represented in the particular word the student is learning to write. The association is made mentally as the student "silently" say the word (with its sounds) to himself as the word is repetitively written."




My Response: I don’t agree with Bob that ‘phonics rules’ don’t really exist. There are exceptions to the rules but there are ‘rules’. The problem with phonics and the English language is that all vowels in the English language and some of the consonants have more than one phoneme/sound unlike orthographically consistent (or as some would like to say, ‘orthographically shallow’) languages like Italian, Tamil, Malay and many other languages.

Sounding out the alphabet and words as the kid practices his handwriting, I believe, will help to embed the alphabet, word and its associated sound in the mind of the kid practising his handwriting. I have many adult friends who have told me that they studied in university by writing (more like scribbling) on paper what they had studied. This, according to them, helps them to remember what they had studied. I, on the other hand, just recollected what I had studied without writing it down.


·  Luqman Michel: You said "The association is made mentally as the student "silently" say the word (with its sounds) to himself as the word is repetitively written." However, the very important question to ponder upon is as to why the failure rate has remained about 20% despite teaching in whatever method? The answer to this question will reduce the illiteracy level.


My response: I believe I have the answer to the question above. The failure rate has remained the same, despite teaching either using phonics or whole word/whole language systems or any other system including handwriting, simply because all the teachers cater only to the 80% of kids who will learn no matter how they are taught. This is exactly why most of the currents teachers in US who have been taught using the whole word system are able to read just as well as kids who have learnt using phonics or any other system. These are the teachers who say that phonics do not have a place in teaching kids to learn to read. I have prepared books that use both phonics and sight words and my students are taught to read right from day one.


Bob Rose: Luqman, Adams has informed us that most American students finishing two years of school still can't handwrite and identify all of the alphabet letters. Kids can't silently say the words they write if they can't write words, and they can't write words if they can't write the alphabet. If the schools begin to teach fluent handwriting, as I hope they will, we'll finally have an answer to your most important question.


My response: This is a shame to US who have sent man to the moon and yet have kids in grade 2 who cannot handwrite and identify all the alphabets – only 26 alphabets in all!


Bob Rose: Luqman, I don't think any schools in the USA stress handwriting practice. The National Reading Panel report to Congress in 2000 reported they couldn't find any published articles on the efficacy of handwriting practice. A book published for teachers by the Bush administration after NCLD just said, "Most reading programs contain a writing element", and the result is that most kids still can't write and name all of the letters. In answer to your question, all teachers who stress handwriting practice to fluency are successful, and the others have high rates of reading failure, no matter which method they use.


My response: I do not believe all students who practice handwriting to fluency are successful. Only those who handwrite fluently and fall within the 80% will read fluently. Reading failure will occur with the remaining 20% of students regardless of whether they write fluently or not. Hand writing alphabets and words will anchor alphabets and words in one’s mind and will help facilitate reading where these words are concerned. But what about words that the kids have not encountered while handwriting?


·  Luqman Michel: How does hand writing to fluency improve one’s reading ability which leads to reduction in illiteracy level?

·  Bob Rose: Luqman, we find that "writing fluent" means the ability to write the alphabet at 40 letters per minute (that means, the whole 26 letters in 40 seconds or less). Once the kid can write the alphabet, writing it once daily for a few months gets kids up to that rate. Any child over the age of four can do it, and they love to watch their LPM rate gradually go up.


My Response: Any and all children who fall into the 80% category can hand write to fluency and will be able to read well simply because these are the kids who will learn whichever way they are taught. As for the remaining 20% some may be able to handwrite fluently and yet be unable to read fluently.

Not any child but most children over the age of 4 can attain 40 words per minute.


Bob Rose We find that once "writing fluent", kids read spontaneously, just as I describe on my posted YouTube presentation.


My response: I am sure this is a fact but it could be confirmation biased.


·  Bob Rose Montessori taught that writing fluency leads to the ability to "mentally envision" correctly spelled words, and I think you can't remember something, or make it "familiar" unless you can think about it. Some folks claim to be unable to make "mental images", but a neurology expert claims that everyone does, even if "subconsciously".


My response: I agree.


Luqman Michel I have still to figure out how writing fluently can improve reading in the English language. I can understand how it will help a kid studying in Italian, Tamil, Malay or any other orthographically consistent language but not in English.

·  Bob Rose Luqman, I assume that all over the word, reading is the same physiologic process. How handwriting fluency leads to literacy isn't really important. What counts is just whether or not it does, and the only way to see if it does is to teach it in schools, and see.


My response: No Bob, I do not think we need to reinvent the wheel. Hand writing has been taught in schools in Malaysia for a long time and we have kids who are illiterate when they leave school after 11 years of study despite learning hand writing just like all the other kids. This is a fact which can be verified by visiting any school of your choice.

·  Bob Rose So far, no one has checked it out, and half of American second graders being unable to write well is not a good sign. I've posted this idea all over the place, like the FB page of BET (Black Entertainment TV) which has five million "likes", so maybe someday we'll find out.


My response: Everyone without exception will say that second graders being unable to write well is not a good sign. All schools should teach the kids to learn to handwrite.


Bob Rose Professor Patrick Groff published a paper saying that the writing idea can't be disproved, because no one has formally studied this idea.


My response: One does not have to formally study this to prove anything. Think about what I have written above and below and the answer should be obvious.


·  Luqman Michel We must ask how the following was possible - Scientists from State U of NY were able to reduce the number of children who require ongoing re-mediation from the National average of 30% down to about 2%! Why has this not been implemented throughout the US?


My Response: Did the scientists teach them hand writing?


Luqman Michel: Of course it not only does no harm teaching one to write fluently it should be enforced as it is good. But that is where it should stop. It has nothing to do with reading fluently. Bob, keep an open mind and think of what I am saying. Writing fluently is good and should be recommended. I learnt to write well in school.

·  Luqman Michel: Tell me Bob, after teaching a kid to write a zillion times words beginning with 'o' as in October, Octopus, or, ostracise, oblique etc you ask the kid to read 'to' 'do' etc how will he sound these words? Bob, just think of this question and answer. How will he read words like - ocean, open, own, etc. We will continue tomorrow.

·  Bob Rose: Luqman, I'm glad you agree that kids should be taught to write the alphabet automatically. I think I have an open mind. We'll just have to wait until such teaching is done, and see what happens.


Response: Yes, Bob, keep an open mind and we will come up with something to improve the literacy level in US and the world. I believe I know how to combine hand writing with my teaching dyslexic kids.   

13 comments:

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: You recently asked by opinion as to why Chinese students have dyslexia learning English, but not with pinyin, and I gave wron answer.

I actually think it's because kids must learn the sound that each written letter represents IN THE WORK THEY ARE LEARNING. And in pinyin, the letter sounds always the same, whereas in English they (particularly vowels) are different. The advantage of pinyin is that it obviates the constant need for a teacher's presence, and in English kids are always asking, "What is this word?"

Luqman Michel said...

Reading in English is a problem because of the many phonemes of many of the letters. There are only 26 alphabets to represent 44 phonemes.
This in itself is not the problem. I believe the problem is that teachers do not make this known to kids who shut-down because they are confused and not because they are disinterested.

Pronunciation is another big problem let alone spelling in the English language. I have even heard people in the Toast Masters group saying :The 'pronounciation' (should be pronunciation) of some of the words by the speaker was wrong.

Many of my accountant friends say 'debtor' with the letter 'b' being pronounced when it should be silent.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Spelling in English is indeed a problem. In the UK, "r" after "a" often isn't pronounc ed, leading some kids to think that "castle" is written as "carsel".

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your comment Bob. How does one pronounce the word 'Quay'? The same sound is made by the word 'key'.

There are more examples of the 'weird' English language in my blog -
Refer to my post on 14.3.2011.

Now Bob, how does writing the alphabets a zillion times teach a kid to read the word 'island' if he was not taught how to pronounce that word previously.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: You ask me to explain how fluent handwriting induces literacy, but it is too long for me to do by email. I'm sorry the text I emailed to Professor Michael Shaughnessy was too long to reproduce here, but it includes many references that help prove our point. I think you have actually received it (?)

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

The short answer to the above is that when kids write "quay", they silently say "key" to themselves, but the easiest way to prove the point to you would be to have you see how easily some dyslexics can handwrite the alphabet, then watch as they become literate after sufficient handwriting practice.

Luqman Michel said...

The kids in US are very advanced.Most of us in Malaysia have not heard this word 'Quay' even at the age of 50.

Luqman Michel said...

Dear Bob,
You want to read a research report which says the following:
"Although earlier research indicated letter knowledge
as another significant determinant of later reading deficits, we
found no support for this claim. Letter knowledge learning and
learning to associate and integrate letters and speech sound are
different processes and only problems in the latter process seem
directly linked to the development of a reading deficit. The nature
of this deficit and the impact it might have on multisensory
processing in the whole reading network presents a major challenge
to future reading and dyslexia research". Copyright r 2010 John
Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...

Luqman: I don't think most American kids are familiar with the word "quay", either. I think the word is mostly used in Britain, but I am over 50.

You seem to think that writing and reading are separate skills, but I think they are the opposite sides of the same coin. As Hillyer once wrote, "If you teach a child to write, you needn't bother teaching him to read". And in the USA, "multi-sensory literacy teaching" has been publicly found to be a good way to treat "dyslexia".

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Anonymous said...

Md Alamgir Hossain: By "writing", I don't mean the expository writing of essays, but merely the physical hand writing of words, which can't become fluent until the writing of alphabet letters is.

We find that almost all kids with reading problems also have great trouble hand writing and naming the alphabet letters, but if they practice until they can write all 26 letters in 40 seconds or less, they read spontaneously, without any other instruction at all, just as Maria Montessori said they would,and they don't "burn out" to use Luqman's term.

Anonymous said...

We find that almost all kids with reading problems also have problems writing the alphabet and naming the letters, but once they practice until they can write all 26 letters in 40 seconds or less, they read spontaneously, with any other instruction at all. To prove this, try it yourself!

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