Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dyselxia – Is the teaching method at fault- 3

For a number of weeks I have talked about the struggles associated with learning to read.
I have explained why languages such as English can be challenging for a person with dyslexia. There is often no clear connection between the written form and sound. For example, words such as 'cough' and 'dough', cut and put. Different pronunciation for similar words like wind (as in the Westerly wind) and wind (as in wind down the window), words spelled differently and pronounced similarly like quay and key, pear and pair, words with silent letters like island and debt and many other problems that I have pointed out in my articles in 2010.
Most children are ready to learn reading by kindergarten or first grade, but children with dyslexia often cannot grasp the basics of reading by that time because of the above problems. I have also explained that the problem is the fact that these children literally shut down and it is not because of so called ‘phonological awareness deficit’ as the Western world would like us to believe.

I have also repeatedly said that my dyslexic students can read well in Malay and Han Yu Pin Yin because there is no such inconsistency in both these languages which use the same 26 alphabets. I have also included many research reports from various countries to support my finding.

We have read several great success stories. Part of the reason for the success of these students is the fact that they were finally able to realize WHY they had been unsuccessful. All my dyslexic students begin to read well when they are told not to make sense of many of the English words that are not able to be read phonetically.  This is empowering information for the student. It means that they finally had a reason, an explanation, and some clarity as to why they had not been more successful, no matter how hard they had tried. They begin to believe that they are not stupid as claimed by their classmates and sometimes even by their teachers.

If you have been reading my blog you will know that I have written a learn-to-read program designed specifically for this type of struggling reader. In my opinion, the solution has been a simple one. The first step is to identify why the student has been unsuccessful; the second, to give him a different approach to learning to read – the most important being informing them that many of the alphabets have more than one sound (phoneme) and letting them know about a new sound (phoneme) of alphabets they have already learnt. Clear any stumbling block that will cause them to shut down!Know that they shut down when they cannot understand and not because they are disinterested.

I have also elaborated that we do not have to choose between phonics and sight word/ whole language method. I use both and have done so successfully.

One dyslexic, had explained it this way: “… being dyslexic is like running a 100-meter race. In your lane you have hurdles, but no one else does. You feel that it’s unfair but you try running like the other competitors anyway. Then you hit a hurdle and fall flat on your face. Your parents and teachers are yelling at you to try harder, so you run faster and faster and fall even harder. Then someone takes the time to show you how to run hurdles and, like an Olympic runner, you outrun the others. The key, though, is that you have to do it differently, the way that works best for you.”

I am going to be busy for a few months and will not be posting articles for a while. Thank you for the many comments and your e-mails. Wish you well.


Sarah Cox said...

Thank you for all of your wonderful articles. I will miss reading them while you are busy and look forward to your return. However, while you are not posting it will give me a chance to go back and catch up on the ones I haven't read yet.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Sarah for your support. I am going to be busy for a few months preparing for some talks from July to September. I would also like to publish my e-book on "How to teach your dyslexic child to read" which is available here foc for all my readers.
However an e-book will be able to help parents who are unaware of my blog. Preparation is coming along fine with the help of my son who is on vacation here with us after having completed his studies. I better use his expertise while he is at home

jimhetzel said...

Another useful thing for dyslexics learning to read are books written specifically for them. Dancing Kites Creative Learning books are written by an expert in the field. I know of many children helped by her and by her books. More info at

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Jimhetzel. Yes, I have seen her book.She is a Facebook friend of mine.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. I've been wanting to put my Millicent into a learn to read program. Do you have any like it?

Luqman Michel said...

Hi Leslie, I am away in Perth and will return to Malaysia only in October. Meanwhile, do write to me at:

wan said...


Kildonan School said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this enigmatic topic. The human capacity to verbalize is one of the most mysterious and complex processes observable in nature, and when aiding students with reading difficulties we find that it is often necessary to proceed on a case by case basis, that is why we recommend dyslexic students seek out schools for dyslexia"

Luqman Michel said...

For this to happen, at least in my country Malaysia,parents have to get out of "The denial mode" and accept that their child has a learning difference.
Wish you all the best in your undertaking.

ryan dafter said...

This was a very good article Lugman. Please post more about dyslexia, thanks!

dyslexia_mom said...

This is very interesting, however, I have read that children around the world have dyslexia, regardless of the language they speak/read (I believe I read this in Sally Shaywitz's book Overcoming Dyslexia). So it's more than just the fact that the English language is difficult to read. Dyslexic children struggle with English words even when they are spelled phonetically.

Anyway, my daughter is dyslexic and has made amazing progress using the program Easyread. It uses a unique "trainer text" to enable a dyslexic child to decode words successfully. I was skeptical (but desperate!) when I first signed her up but she has made amazing progress.

Luqman Michel said...

Dear Dyslexia-mom,
Thank you for your comment. If you had read my earlier articles you would have read that children all over the world have dyslexia. The percentage of children with dyslexia is about the same in all the countries.However, the dyslexic children in many of the countries have no problem reading in many of the other languages but find it difficult to read in the English language. Read other articles in this blog.

Dyslexic children do not have a problem reading when words are spelt phonetically.

Glad to hear that your daughter has made amazing progress using whatever method she has used. This simply means that a dyslexic can read/ can be taught to read, or does it not?
Read my blog to understand that dyslexic children have other difficulties besides reading.
If you have any question you may write to me at :