The following is extracted from a conversation in Face Book with a good friend Rova Rose, a retired medical doctor. You can find him on FB here:
This is part one of our conversation. I’ll write my comments in the next few days.
"What Bob Rose thinks is that "phonics rules" don't really exist, especially for our vowels, so what counts is the sound represented in the particular word the student is learning to write. The association is made mentally as the student "silently" say the word (with its sounds) silently to himself as the word is repetitively written."
· Luqman Michel You said "The association is made mentally as the student "silently" say the word (with its sounds) silently to himself as the word is repetitively written." However, the very important question to ponder upon is as to why the failure rate has remained about 20% despite teaching in whatever method? The answer to this question will reduce the illiteracy level.
Bob Rose Luqman: Adams has informed us that most American students finishing two years of school still can't handwrite and identify all of the alphabet letters. Kids can't silently say the words they write if they can't write words, and they can't write words if they can't write the alphabet. If the schools begin to teach fluent handwriting, as I hope they will, we'll finally have an answer to your most important question.
Bob Rose Luqman: I don't think any schools in the USA stress handwriting practice. The National Reading Panel report to Congress in 2000 reported they couldn't find any published articles on the efficacy of handwriting practice. A book published for teachers by the Bush administration after NCLD just said, "Most reading programs contain a writing element", and the result is that most kids still can't write and name all of the letters. In answer to your question, all teachers who stress handwriting practice to fluency are successful, and the others have high rates of reading failure, no matter which method they use.
· Luqman Michel How does hand writing to fluency improve one’s reading ability which leads to reduction in illiteracy level?
· Bob Rose Luqman: we find that "writing fluent" means the ability to write the alphabet at 40 letters per minute (that means, the whole 26 letters in 40 seconds or less). Once the kid can write the alphabet, writing it once daily for a few months gets kids up to that rate. Any child over the age of four can do it, and they love to watch their LPM rate gradually go up.
Bob Rose We find that once "writing fluent", kids read spontaneously, just as I describe on my posted YouTube presentation.
· Bob Rose Montessori taught that writing fluency leads to the ability to "mentally envision" correctly spelled words, and I think you can't remember something, or make it "familiar" unless you can think about it. Some folks claim to be unable to make "mental images", but a neurology expert claims that everyone does, even if "subconsciously".
Luqman Michel I have still to figure out how writing fluently can improve reading in the English language. I can understand how it will help a kid studying in Italian, Tamil, Malay or any other orthographically consistent language but not in English.
· Bob Rose Luqman: I assume that all over the word, reading is the same physiologic process. How handwriting fluency leads to literacy isn't really important. What counts is just whether or not it does, and the only way to see if it does is to teach it in schools, and see.
· Bob Rose So far, no one has checked it out, and half of American second graders being unable to write well is not a good sign. I've posted this idea all over the place, like the FB page of BET (Black Entertainment TV) which has five million "likes", so maybe someday we'll find out.
Bob Rose Professor Patrick Groff published a paper saying that the writing idea can't be disproved, because no one has formally studied this idea.
· Luqman Michel We must ask how the following was possible - Scientists from State U of NY were able to reduce the number of children who require ongoing re-mediation from the National average of 30% down to about 2%! Why has this not been implemented throughout the US?
Luqman Michel Of course it not only does no harm teaching one to write fluently it should be enforced as it is good. But that is where it should stop. It has nothing to do with reading fluently. Bob, keep an open mind and think of what I am saying. Writing fluently is good and should be recommended. I learnt to write well in school.
· Luqman Michel Tell me Bob, after teaching a kid to write a zillion times words beginning with 'o' as in October, Octopus, or, ostracise, oblique etc you ask the kid to read 'to' 'do' etc how will he sound these words? Bob, just think of this question and answer. How will he read words like - ocean, open, own, etc. We will continue tomorrow.
· Bob Rose Luqman: I'm glad you agree that kids should be taught to write the alphabet automatically. I think I have an open mind. We'll just have to wait until such teaching is done, and see what happens.