Monday, June 14, 2010

Discourse with Dr.Richard Selznick - Part 3 & Lesson 40

Dear Doc,
Thank you so much for entertaining my thoughts and findings. This is very kind of you. I hope we and my readers can all benefit from this discussion.

I am telling myself that I should not try and convince you but make you convince yourself that I may have something for you to think about.

Let us please try and think together.

Your imaginary scenario:

I hope that I am not defending myself (that would defeat the purpose).

For task on phonemic awareness:-
1. We must take a language that is phonetic like Malay or
2. Ask questions in English on words that are phonetic only (like your example cat)

My first lesson in my blog is just this : Read - bat, cat, fat, hat, mat, pat, rat and sat. All my dyslexic students learn to read this in no time. They have no problem with substituting the c in cat with f and reading it as fat.

By the 4th lesson which is on 'ap' , they read cap, gap, lap, map, nap, rap, sap, tap - most of them read this without me having read it to them. A few read it after I read the words just once.

Now, if all the children had been taught phonics correctly and you take your 100 children at random there will be a small portion who will fall into your 3rd group. But they will definitely not be dyslexic children. They will be from "The learning disabled group" but not dyslexic.

These dyslexic children all will have a problem with non phonetic words which non dyslexic children don't seem to have a problem with. Dyslexic children learn these 'nonsense' words but the time they take to learn these words is disproportionally longer than the non dyslexics.

Doc, from my actual teaching experience of dyslexic children, I find that they don't have phonemic problem at all. As I have pointed out these are logical thinking kids and phonics to them is logical and therefore they will not fall into the 3rd group. They will not be good readers initially because of non phonetic words.

In another words the dyslexic children will be just as good a reader as non dyslexic children if they are reading in Malay.

Unfortunately I did not do the second part- spoken digit span- of your exercise with any of my students.
I was not aware of this exercise until I read your book. I will keep this in mind and try it out with new students next year.

Doc, thank you once again for your indulgence.

Please look at my first 4 lessons (March) and you may get a better idea of what I am talking about.

Kind regards,
Luqman Michel


Hi Luqman:
No time to respond in depth, but I think there is some confusion. My #1 task in the experiment was not a teaching task, but a diagnostic screen. A simple tool:
Here are a few of the items:
• Say cup. Now say cup without saying /k/.
• “Say Meet” without /t/
• Farm without /f/
• Bold without /b/
• Mat without /m/
• Tan without /t/
• Mike without /k/
• Time without /m/
• Tiger without /g/
• Snail without /n/
• Faster without /s/
• Sling without /l/.
All of the phonemes have to be said in a clipped way so when you say the /t/ it’s not /tuh/.
The kids who are given this task at five or six years of age are the ones predisposed to reading problems.
Then your word family focused teaching would be great.

For lesson 40 click here:


Anonymous said...

I actually wonder if this specific task has more to do with working memory. "Say farm with out the /f/' is 6 words long. How many words can a 5 year old recall? Now, how many can a dyslexic 5 year old recall? Is there a chance they forgot the word they were supposed to remove the /f/ from?

Luqman Michel said...

I completely agree with you. What does this exercise prove, if anything at all.Write the word down and ask the child to remove the letter 'f' and see if he can pronounce it.Why do this exercise verbally when we all know that people learn in many ways- by sight, verbal, kinaesthetic...Just because one has designed a method does not mean everyone should use it without any thinking.
Regret the late response. I have stopped writing on this blog and rarely visit it.I am maintaining it because many readers still visit my blog.