Thursday, April 29, 2010

Headmistress agrees with advice given on dyslexia.

For those of you who have not read my article in the local papers on 18.4.2010 - Daily Express - you may read it here:The Daily express.

It is a great honour to have Datin Amy- Jean Yee, the Headmistress of SRS Datuk Simon Fung, a leading private school in Kota Kinabalu, comment on my article. I reproduce her entire comment here.

Agrees with advice given on dyslexia

I REFER to Mary Chin's report (25.4.2010) on the ideas of Luqman Michel concerning teaching dyslexic children to read.

I have been involved in teaching young children to read for many years and fully agree with Michel's points, especially the following:-

1. The mis-teaching of Phonics to Kindergarten Children Especially in English.

Giving letters an added 'er' sound as in b becomes 'ber'. T becomes 'ter', S becomes 'ser', F becomes 'fer' and so on is very damaging to young learners and certainly overwhelmingly confusing to a dyslexic child.

Many children come into our school at Primary 1 with this problem. We have to spend many hours 'unteaching' and 'reteaching' to overcome the problem this causes just as mentioned by Luqman.

2. Children hear to Read by Reading
I couldn't agree more.

No matter what problems a child may have, get your children reading aloud to you regularly.

I would encourage parents to read to their children at least once a day. It need not be very long. Choose a story they will enjoy, slightly beyond what they can comfortably read themselves. Read to them just a little each day like a serial on TV. It's something to look forward to.

A good way to do this is as a bedtime story. Great for language development, great for helping them to read and love reading and great for parent-child bonding.

Datin Amy- Jean Yee
SRS Datuk Simon Fung.

Regret there will be no postings of articles for a week as I will be out station.

For Lesson 23 click here:


Fauziah Bujang said...

Luqman, tq so much for d article. It is an eye opener for everybody and also esp to parents with dyslexic kids. I do hope our education ministry will take note of what you r saying and I for one SALUTE you on the article. Pliz don't stop.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your kind words.I am going to be away for a week to send my son Hakim to France. I will continue my articles when I get back.

Unknown said...

I read to my son every night since he was a baby. He grew up to be a dyslexic. He is awful with punctuation, but I never have to change his grammar or sentence structure. It is always correct. He also likes to write stories (just for years they weren't spelled right). Now, I know the reading must have really helped his correct usage of word structure, and probably his love for writing stores.

Luqman Michel said...

You are a great mother. I am sure your reading has helped your son. Keep reading to him. All my children are top in English at school and I believe it is because my wife and I have taken turns to read to my children at bedtime.

Alan said...

Hi Luqman,
Thank you so much for your unique insight. You have provided a useful alternative to challenge the homogeneous belief, so prevalent in the UK, that dyslexia is a learning disability.

I have always been a logical thinker but I’ve had to think outside the box to survive. The box has been inaccessible to me due to idiosyncrasies within the English language, beginning with the school curriculum.

I was diagnosed last year at 48 as having dyslexia. It really came as a sense of relief to me to know why most of my life has been spent doing things the hard way. You see, if society hasn’t given you the tools to succeed, to understand the world, then as an individual, you’re pretty much alone. Dyslexia isn’t only about lack of attainment at school or in the workplace; it’s also about being unable to enjoy the diversity of life, much of which, is written about in books. It’s this latter point that makes me feel sad. It feels as though the world has passed me by.

Furthermore, I don’t think that anyone can argue away the co-morbidities associated with dyslexia e.g. in the UK about 75% of prison inmates have some form of ‘learning disability’. All the more reason to make sure the English language is taught in the correct manner.

It’s obviously very important to teach the correct sounds to letters in the English alphabet as early as possible, and to recognise that pupils aren’t stupid, that they are logical thinkers with a need for accurate explanations.

Perhaps it is time to consider, that possibly, dyslexia is more of a teaching disability than a learning disability?

Alan, Lincolnshire, UK

Luqman Michel said...

Alan, very well put. Illiteracy can be greatly reduced if children are taught in a proper manner. Thank you for your valuable comment.

Anonymous said...

The word disability on its own has a negative connotation.

However classifying dyslexia as a disability has, I believe had a positve effect,in that it has been slotted into a category that is deemed worthy of attention.
It has enabled ad hoc campaigners to effectively access all the facilities required.
This ranges from mobilising resources and funding for the whole process which includes dagnosis to treatment and to ensure educational needs befit the requirements of the individual.

I guess you can see the glass as half full rather than half empty.


Luqman Michel said...

As for the glass being half full or half empty it depends on whether you are pouring into it or drinking from it.

I believe there are many medical journals and associations that make dyslexia look worse than it is to market their wares.

Look at sites that sell all kinds of medicine and suggest therapy to alleviate dyslexia and you may see what I am saying.I don't believe dyslexia is a medical condition.

There is this question of why many of the research universities and associations have not even bothered to answer my question on 'Why is it that dyslexic children are phonologically unaware with some languages and not with others?

Anonymous said...

I cited the concept of half full or half empty with particular reference to trying to find a silver lining in the heart of complexity and adversity.

I do believe that out of negative situations or encounters, with the right mindset and reflective contemplation, arise profound solutions.

There are several facets to confronting the issue of dyslexia.
I believe you have explored the educational and psycho-social aspects of the problem and I certainly am aware of your in-depth knowledge.

Under no circumstances will I even attepmt to question that. However there are other facets and I hope that through your blog, you have direct and maybe indirect impact on improving all facets of care for such a group.


Luqman Michel said...

Yes, Jase I am still learning and as more dyslexics share their views I hope to better understand and share with my readers.
I have taught dyslexic children and have yet to meet and chat with an adult dyslexics.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you try to organise a Study Day with the local dyslexic organisation,for the sharing of their journey through that maze.

Record it with their permission and carry out an evaluation and analysis with a dyslexic expert. You will have to have their written consent to formalise the results.


Luqman Michel said...

I have mentioned in my articles that I have written to many dyslexic associations around the world (including the one in Sarawak and West Malaysia) and except for 2 the rest did not even bother to reply.

It has been more than 3 weeks since I met up with an assistant to the head mistress of a school here in Kota Kinabalu to find out how many of the students in form one to form five who cannot read in the English language can read in Malay.She took down my hand phone number and said that she will telephone me for an appointment to discuss further and have yet to do so.

This reminds me of the story in my recent lesson on 'Belling the cat'.The moral of that story is 'Many things are easier said than done'. However, I shall continue to endeavour.