Friday, July 3, 2015

Bob Rose: Hand -writing will improve literacy - Part 3

I have said in no uncertain terms that handwriting should be encouraged for kids in schools. When you handwrite, be you a visual learner, auditory learner or kinaesthetic learner, the alphabet you write and sound out while writing it will embed in your brain.

Having said the above and having said in the previous two posts that learning to write fluently does not necessarily translate into reading fluently in English I began to think how to incorporate teaching a kid to write with what I have been writing all along in this blog.

I have taught so called ‘dyslexic’ kids to read and having taught such kids for 11 years, I now believe I can teach a ‘dyslexic’ kid to read within three months.  In fact any teacher will be able to do this if he understands why a majority of the 20% kids, who end up as illiterates, shut-down.

Kids shut down when things taught to them are inconsistent with what has been taught to them previously. I have explained this in a few of my previous posts.Please read my post on Tipping Point and minds shutting down.

About 80% to 90% of kids learn whatever the teacher teaches them. The remaining 10 to 20% always question themselves when things taught do not make sense with what they have been taught earlier. These are the kids who shut-down regardless of whether you teach then using phonics, whole word/whole language method.Please read my post on phonics vs sight reading.

These ‘shut-down’ kids do not question their teacher in a class setting because they do not want to look ‘stupid’. As times goes on and when more and more words do not make sense to them they lose interest in studying. This is when they start misbehaving to distract others from knowing that they cannot read – something that seems easy for the other students. They go from grade one to two and finally finish school without being able to read. Read why these kids misbehave here.

My friend Bob (Rova Rose –Retired MD) has said in one of the comments as follows:  The Harvard professor who wrote the introduction to the 1912 English translation of The Montessori Method also wrote "That (handwriting fluency) might work for Italians, but it would never work for Anglophone student".

What my friend, Bob has failed to ask himself (or his friends) is why that Harvard professor had said what he had. I had said the same thing to Bob and Bob did not ask me to explain either.

Why did the Harvard professor say in as early as 1912: "That (handwriting fluency) might work for Italians, but it would never work for Anglophone student"? Why did he use the word ‘NEVER’? What did people who had read that statement ask that professor or ask themselves?

To be continued…..


Bob Rose, MD (retired) said...


You've made it very clear you don't accept my allegation that measurable handwriting fluency in the early grades of school will abolish dyslexia and bring in education reform.

But you've never really described your own educational prescription. I assume that it's some sort of "phonics", but this has been tried for many decades by all sorts of programs, including the most popular program in England, Jolly Phonics, which pushes the idea that "true phonics" can only be taught if letter "sounds", instead of the traditional names are taught first. In America, many have tried the "Miller Word Identification Assessment", alleging that the "whole word" method doesn't work. But none of these phonics ideas has so far reduced the incidence of reading failures. If you have a better way, please explain it to me!

Luqman Michel said...

I spent quite a bit of time linking this article with articles I had written previously. If you don't care to read those links and yet ask to explain to you what am I to do? Rewrite the same thing again for you? Read the links and then ask whatever questions you may have- please. I have clearly told you that the 20% illiteracy rate has not been reduced despite some schools teaching phonics and others teaching by whole language methods. I have also explained why kids shut-down. The illiteracy level will never be reduced if the shut-down problem which exists mainly in English (and not in Italian) is not eradicated.