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.