Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Time, audience/receivers all play a part (Episode 1)


A LinkedIn friend responded to a comment I made and said; ‘Time, audience/receivers all play a part.

I believe it is time to write with no holds barred.

I read an article entitled ‘The couple who helped decode dyslexia – The Shaywitz’s’ and I am intrigued by why people swallow ‘Hook line and sinker’ anything and everything written by so called ‘experts’.


Here are a few excerpts and my comments and please feel free to grill me on my comments.

People with dyslexia have trouble separating words into phonemes, the sounds that correspond with each part of a word. For example, the word “dog” is broken down into the phonemes “duh,” “aah” and “guh.”
Hearing these discrete sounds is a vital part of learning to read. But people with dyslexia hear the word only in its entirety: “dog.”


My comment: Does Sally Shaywitz know what she is talking about? To say that 20% (see below) of the population is dyslexic and that they have problem separating words into phonemes is utter nonsense.

I have repeatedly said that all my students can read in Malay and those who go to Chinese schools can read in Han Yu Pinyin (Chinese written with the same 26 alphabets). All of them have no problem with separating words into phonemes.

Does anyone hear the sounds duh aah guh when the word dog is uttered? I sure don’t. And the phonemes of the word dog are definitely not duh aah guh. This is what is taught by many schools and this is the main culprit of children shutting down.

Many of my posts in my blog have warned against adding vowel sounds to consonants. This is one of the two main reasons why kids, predisposed to shutting down, disengage from learning to read.


Beyond the lab, the Shaywitzes have developed a celebrity following unusual for scientists. A conference they put on in 2015, titled “Dyslexia: Slow Reader, Fast Thinker,” attracted the attorney David Boies, the Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel, and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, former chief executive of the Cleveland Clinic.


My comment: Yes, the Americans have too many ‘Gods of Education’ who seem to get away with anything and everything they write as if it is the Gospel truth. Read about the other Gods of Education of the US namely David Boulton, Timothy Shanahan, Tim Conway, Reid Lyon etc in my blog http://www.dyslexiafriend.com.

Here is another article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle in April 2018 on Sally Shaywitz.


Here are some excerpts from the article.


Yet, Texas public schools routinely allow another sort of cancer to thrive, one that can be almost as debilitating and disastrous to a child’s life.
It’s called dyslexia, broadly defined as an unexpected difficulty with reading.
The callous disregard that Texas policymakers show dyslexic students is even more irresponsible when you consider a jarring statistic: Dyslexia is believed to affect one in every five people.


My comment: Where does this Sally Shaywitz get her statistics from? I had written on the Yale website in 2010 a long comment on why I disagreed with her article saying that ‘Phonological awareness deficit’ is the cause of dyslexia. It was there for a few years with no response to my comment and then the whole article was deleted. And, she has the cheek to talk about responsibility.


But dyslexia is not a hopeless affliction, as once believed. Scientists can observe its effects through brain scans as easily as they can observe a tumor. Like cancer, it can infiltrate many aspects of a person’s life. Also like cancer, it can be treated. While it cannot be cured, it can be overcome with effective, preferably early, interventions as simple as group reading several times a week. But where are the interventions?


My comment: This is a whole load of bull. “It can be overcome with simple group reading several times a week?” Who is Sally trying to kid? She is still advocating ‘Whole language’ method of teaching when it has already been determined that the best way to teach kids is by the ‘phonics method’.

I have successfully taught all my students since 2004 by using phonics and asking my students to memorise the Dolch words. Why would anyone in their right mind not agree with a combination of methods is beyond me. Why can’t the Americans just agree to use a system that works?
Ask yourself why the reading war has been going on for so many decades.


This is the question Dr. Sally Shaywitz is still asking after some 30 years of studying dyslexia.
“Rather than a knowledge gap, we have an action gap,” Shaywitz, a professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine, told me in a recent interview. “We have to act on the knowledge we have, and we haven’t done that, and it’s absurd.”

My comment: What is the knowledge Sally has after more than 30 years of studying dyslexia? If she is talking about the less than 2% who may be truly dyslexic, perhaps but definitely not 20% as she claims. The majority of kids who cannot read are instructional casualties. I am prepared to challenge anyone, including Sally Shaywitz. Who wants to have a debate on this with me?

The Western world is not prepared to act on the knowledge I have gained over the years by testing kids to read in Malay and Han Yu Pinyin as well as in English. Is dyslexia selective in languages? Sally’s “unexpected difficulty with reading” does not appear to affect reading in Malay. She and people with vested interest dupe the world by talking about opaque and transparent languages. America and the other Western countries as well as those in the Southern Hemisphere had better wake up and stop the widespread illiteracy.


Shaywitz’s research shows that the reading gap between dyslexics and other readers is already present by first grade. While some factors leading students to read below grade level are tough to mitigate, dyslexia is not. It starts with identifying dyslexic students early on, a process simplified by an inexpensive, evidence-based screening tool developed by the Shaywitzes that takes teachers mere minutes to complete. That, followed by effective reading instruction, could help close the gaps that bedevil student progress.


My comment: Reading gap is present in primary one only because the kids have been taught wrong phonemes in kindergarten. In fact, for many children, the reading gap exists even as early as in kindergarten because of what they have learned from YouTube videos that teach phonemes wrongly. I have terminated three YouTube videos teaching phonemes wrongly. Here is one video I saw a few days ago which will definitely cause kids predisposed to shutting down to disengage from learning to read.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pRczvC7aNI


As of 20.9.2018, there are 4.7 million views. Kids predisposed to shutting down will disengage from learning to read and our Sally will say that those kids are dyslexic and will take brain scans before and after to prove it.


They don’t know why dyslexics struggle. Shaywitz explains that while speaking is natural for the human brain, reading is artificial. Our brains have only been doing it around 5,000 years. Decoding visual images into sounds takes time to learn. While 80 percent of the population does this automatically, dyslexics do it manually, in part because they rely more heavily on a less-efficient part of the brain. They use up more attention reading and get tired quicker than strong readers.

My comment: After 5,000 years our brains are not able to read? What a whole load of nonsense is that? How is it possible for kids to learn to read in Malay and Han Yu Pinyin and yet unable to read in English? Why is it that kids can rattle away reading in Chinese characters? Is reading in Chinese characters natural just like speaking? How about kids who read Tamil scripts?


Consider these stats: In Texas, 27 percent of third-graders did not pass the reading portion of the state assessment test last year, according to the Texas Education Agency. About 20 percent of the population is believed to be dyslexic. Yet, as recently as 2015, Texas identified only 2.5 percent as having the common reading disability.


My comment: Yes, the 2.5% identified as dyslexic is about the correct percentage. The rest are instructional casualties. People with vested interest have conned the majority of people into believing that 20% of kids are dyslexic.


Texas needs to appropriate more funding for dyslexia, including education and training for teachers who may simply be unaware how easy it is to detect reading problems, and proven, effective ways to teach reading fluency.

My response: Sally, the proven effective way to reduce illiteracy is to teach the correct phonemes in kindergarten and early primary schools. Show me a kid in primary one or two who cannot read and I will tell you if the child is dyslexic or a shut down kid. I don’t use any sophisticated brain scanner and as such my ‘diagnosis’ is free of charge.

Note: My timing and audience was right when I wrote onthe Yale Website that 'Phonological awareness deficit ' is not the cause of dyslexia way back in 2010. Now the Western world had accepted and debunked that theory. Why did none of the universities and professors see what I explained in detail? Was it their ego? I believe so and will prove this in the next few posts. 




1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

I wrote on Sally Shaywitz's post on her Yale Blog. I explained why I disagreed with her post saying that 'Phonological awareness deficit' is the cause of dyslexia.
She never did respond.
After a few years, the post vanished just like in many other blogs.
Was the timing wrong? Was the audience wrong?