Monday, July 17, 2017

My Emails to Dr.Reid Lyon (Part 2 of 3)

Please read my initial emails to Dr. Reid and responses from his wife Diane Lyon in my blog post on 14th July 2017.

The following is one of my emails to Dr. Reid Lyon in August 2015. I was sent on a wild goose chase and was never given a reply to my emails.

Following is taken from Dr.Reid's message in "The Code".

Dr.G. Reid Lyon

“Now, I say I took courses, but that is not to say that I learned anything. As a matter of fact, I had no idea what I was doing when I got into my third grade classroom other than calling the roll and recess”.
 “What struck me when I got in my third grade classroom was about thirty percent of these nine year olds couldn’t read well at all, some not at all. I couldn’t understand that because reading to me was not laborious and I took it for granted. I think by the end of the year the thirty percent that I didn’t help had actually extended to about forty percent because I screwed another ten percent up. I just didn’t have any idea what I was doing”.

Response: Dr. Please believe me, this is the case with many teachers around the world. This is the main problem with kids leaving school as illiterates.

“I could see even with the nine year olds that when they were unable to read it seemed to me that, even if I had a magic bullet, they didn’t even want to try it. They had already started to avoid print and a lot of these kids would become active and look, in a sense, attentionally different and possibly would have been diagnosed as ADD. But their attentional difficulties were just simple avoidance. They would become distractable and fidgety when they had to read. Why? They wanted to get out of it. So, that affected me, both in my head and in my heart, to watch these tender kids who have to perform in the most visible academic thing called reading and not be able to do it”.

Response: Dr. This is exactly the case. All you needed to do was to go one more step to find out why they had become “attentionally different”. I have been teaching dyslexic kids for 11 years and believe I have the answer. Please humour me and read what I have to say with an open mind.

Additional comment as at 17.7.2017: "Simple avoidance... they wanted to get out of it..,
why? " I wanted to discuss this matter and took so much trouble to write to him and he did not have the time. Does he have the answer to his own question 'Why'?

1) What does it take to learn to read? 
2) What goes wrong when you don’t? 
3) How do you prevent it? 
4) How do you remediate it?

Response: You have the answer to question 1. The answer to Q2 is that the kids shut down (you call it attentionally different.) The answer to Q3 is to teach all kids in a way that is suitable/appropriate for the kids who are prone to shutting down. Q4 could be answered by asking you how did the schools that managed to reduce the illiteracy rate from about 30% to less than 3% do it. I believe you had said this in a video somewhere but I can’t find it. Perhaps you could forward it to me. Is the answer to the Q4 in your statement below?

Additional response 17.7.2017: readers may ask if the 80% of kids will suffer if taught in a way that will benefit the 20% who are prone to shutting down. Why would the 80% suffer if all are taught in the correct way - in a way that is not confusing to anyone? I believe the 80% who somehow manage to read despite being taught wrongly will  not have to figure out if things are taught in a proper manner right from the start. I believe they too may be confused initially when teachers teach them that kuh/ah/tuh/ is cat. They probably think as to why in the world is kuh/ah/tuh/ pronounced as cat but figure it out for themselves as time goes on.

We can reduce illiteracy in many of our research sites - in real classrooms in real schools with real kids at risk where ninety-eight percent are free and reduced lunch, and eighty percent are a minority. That is seventy percent of kids leaving the first grade as failing readers reducing to two to six percent when we do it right. When I’m saying we do it right that means we bring to bear what we know from those four questions. 
Some people felt that reading was really dependent upon visual perception. Some people think that’s it’s timing and sensory processing. Some people think it’s language and phonology. Well, the only way to get to that is to test all of that objectively, compete it and see which ones fall out in the mix as either good, medium or poor predictors of things.

Response: I don’t believe reading is a visual perception. However, this is not going to be easy to write on nor is it important here.
Response at 17.7.2017: "When I’m saying we do it right that means we bring to bear what we know from those four questions." Has anyone brought to bear what he knows from those four questions? What have the 'experts' learned from the 15 years of study and after millions of Dollars of donations pouring into those studies?  

So, what do we know? Number one, we know that reading is complex and most people give it short shrift as I did when I was a third grade teacher. I just took it for granted. It’s one of the most complex, unnatural cognitive interactions that brain and environment have to coalesce together to produce. It’s amazing when you look at it. We’ve got an alphabet that has twenty-six letters. We’ve got those twenty-six letters corresponding to about forty to forty-four sounds. Now in an alphabetic language like English or German or Serbo-Croatian or whatever it may be, the job of the beginning reader is to lay sound on top of these print characters because it’s literally impossible to memorize all this stuff.

Dr. No! Reading is not as complex as you say. However, reading in the English language is rather complex and it is made worse by teachers not teaching in the correct way resulting in kids shutting down. I will give you very clear examples of when and how kids shut-down.
Sir, I speak 4 languages and I know that all my ‘dyslexic’ students could read well in Malay and Mandarin written in the Roman alphabets. There are many articles in the internet which say that kids who can read in ‘shallow languages’ are dyslexic when it comes to reading in the English language. Have any of the researchers/educators ever asked why “Johnny can’t read” (in the English language) can read well in other languages – languages written with the same 26 alphabets used in the English language?

So, you’ve got to ask, what does the kid have to have? Well, when we say question number one, what does it take to be able to learn to read, we know that it initially takes a clear understanding that the language we hear is composed of smaller sounds. These are called phonemes, the smallest units of sound. And people say sure, you know, cat has three sounds /c/ /a/ /t/. And I can ask people all the time how many sounds they hear in big or cat and they say three. But they don’t. You don’t hear three sounds in cat, I don’t hear three sounds in cat, and our kids never get any practice with the sounds in cat because nature has given us an oral language that allows us to communicate rapidly so that when I say cat I don’t say /c/ /a/ /t/. What the hell is a /c/ /a/ /t/? What I say is cat and the minute I start to say cat that /a/ and the /t/ sound co-articulate or bundle together and come by the ear as one pulse of sound. Phoneme awareness is much more difficult because you don’t hear the sounds. The brain has to pull from that one burble or acoustic bundle the three sounds because the ear won’t. The ear never hears the individual sounds unless we spell them out.

Response: How many teachers know the sounds of the alphabets? We’ll come to this later.
Response now 17.7.2017: If you listen to the videos recommended by Dr.David Boulton in Children of the Code and Magic Ladder it is obvious that 'experts' them selves are unaware of the sound made by the alphabets in the English language. 
Listen to the two videos below and decide for your self if Dr.David Boulton and his team are or are not perpetrators of false teaching. Videos such as these and teaching in such manner is the number one cause of millions of kids leaving school as illiterates all over the world.

You do not need phonemic awareness to listen and speak and hang out and talk. Why? Because I’m not spelling the words out to you, I don’t say /c/ /a/ /t/.
Yet much of our research seems to suggest that the lack of this is some deficit in children.
Well, it’s not a deficit in children. It’s only a deficit if they don’t get it to learn how to read. A deficit is only a deficit if it impacts negatively on something critical that has to be developed.

Response: A guy said some 35 years ago that kids who cannot read can’t read because they have a ‘phonological awareness deficit’. Subsequently more than a 100 professors/researchers have said the same thing without thinking nor understanding what they are saying. I teach dyslexic kids and they all can read in Malay and Romanised Mandarin when they come to me. How can we say they cannot read in English because they have a phonological awareness deficit? I have asked this question to many professors in US as well as in England and 2 professors in NZ. I believe they don’t exactly understand my question as they only speak English. We’ll deal with this in depth if you would please humour me and continue with this discussion.
Response now 17.7.2017: 
'Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/, requires phonemic awareness.'
The question I ask you is how can it be that kids who can read in Malay have phonemic awareness  and lose it when they come to reading in the English language? How do they gain it back within 4 months of me teaching them?

Dr. Reid Lyon: Yeah, it is an artificial process, and it’s a random process. Why do some languages have more or less sounds than we do? Why do some languages have more or less or different characters than we do?

Response: Again Dr. You seem to ask the appropriate question but had stopped shot. A little deeper and you would have the answer. Keep an open mind and you will have the answer. Why do languages using the same alphabets have no problem with kids being unable to read in the English language?
Response now 17.7.2017: Why is it that no 2 people who have mastered the 247 alphabets in Tamil ever sound out Tamil words in more than one way? Why are there no dyslexics in the Tamil language?

Dr. Reid Lyon: Of course, yes, to differentiate. And once they get into kindergarten and first grade, a lot of our kids have these building blocks already. We’ve got a lot of five year olds who know all the letters of the alphabet, who know quite a few of the sounds, if not all of the sounds, and they’re ready to go. They have the building blocks. And because they have them and they move on under any cockamamie approach, a lot of people think it’s the cockamamie approach that’s teaching them to read. That’s how a lot of this philosophy and belief gets situated.

Response: No Dr. Most kids do not know all the sounds of the alphabets. I will show you this too.

Thank you very much and looking forward to your response eagerly.
Kind regards,
Luqman Michel

1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

The two videos that were under
mentioned above, have now been removed and replaced by two new ones.

One of the two videos above had been there since 2015:

There were 5,414,893 views as at 5th August 2017 which was the last time I viewed it.

Published on Jul 29, 2015

It was removed a few weeks after I complained about it in my blog.