Thursday, August 31, 2017

Promotion without mastering the 3R’s (Part 3)

                                    The clip above describes a majority of Human Beings on earth.

Comment from Kenya:  Every Child can do well in class when learning is made Easy and Fun as a game”.
Author: “I do agree that making learning fun helps get kids engaged”.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Promotion without mastering the 3R’s (Part 2)

Author: “However, some things are beyond a teacher’s control.
You have no control over: Kids who have emotional or mental disabilities and have not been diagnosed yet.”

My comment: I can’t disagree with that. However, there are many things that are within a teacher’s control.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Promotion without mastering the 3R’s (Part 1)

I have been following a post in LinkedIn by a teacher for whom I have high regards for his wisdom in his posts. 

The post talks about Kids being promoted from grade to grade without mastering the 3Rs

Monday, August 28, 2017

Connecting the dots

The dictionary definition of ‘connecting the dots’ is: To draw logical inferences connecting items of information to reveal something previously hidden or unknown.

Since 2010 when I first started writing my blog I have given actual solid reasons for kids disengaging from reading. Reasons for shutting down, were obtained from the kids themselves.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Discourse with Dr.Richard Selznick Part 3 – Why kids disengage from learning to read

Luqman Michel: Dr. Selznick, for our next discussion, if I may request, please ask your 'patients' one question. Ask 10 such 'patients' and let us see what they say. Please keep a record.

Ask them for the sounds of a few consonants.

Let us find out if they will add vowel sounds to consonants such as mmmm (not muh),
nnnn (not nuh), fff (not Fuh.) lll (and not Luh).

This will give us an idea as to whether they are shut-down kids or otherwise.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Opaque languages vs. transparent languages

This morning, I read a post by Dr.Timothy Shanahan where it is stated that English is an opaque language and these are my thoughts on that post.

Many articles have been written on transparent languages such as Italian, Spanish, Finnish, Malay and many other languages which are easy to learn to read. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How to teach phonics

About 20% of children disengage from reading when they are confused. These are the children spoken about in many of the articles in Children of the Code. One such quote is from Nancy Hennessy who was president of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) from 2003-2005.

“……even if we settle on a middle number, let us say 10%; that still leaves a lot of children who are not dyslexic, whose brains are not wired any different way, who have reading difficulty.

We are not supporting the learning of our teachers in order for them to do what we are talking about

We still don’t have the capacity nor the will to change what it is that we are doing with reading early on and so consequently unless we make those significant changes we are not only going to lose the dyslexics but I am also concerned about these other children; these other struggling readers.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Practice makes perfect – REALLY?

I saw a post in LinkedIn which said ‘practice makes perfect’. I disagree and will give my opinion below. I believe perfect practice makes perfect.

The reading war as pointed out by Jo-Anne Gross from Canada, a Remediation teacher, has been going on for 45 years. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Discourse with Dr. Selznick (Part ii) – Why kids shut-down

“I agree with you that many of these kids are instructional casualties and if they had been taught differently, many would have not shut-down.”  (DR. Selznick)

Luqman Michel: James Wendorf said, in The Children of the Code series, “Make sure that reading is taught in the most effective way”.

For the time being, let us leave the most effective way of teaching aside. What we should not do is to teach them in a wrong way. Imagine a child taught wrongly for two years in kindergarten.

Saturday, August 12, 2017


I have repeatedly said that kids shut down when they are confused.
I came across the following videos when browsing the ‘Childrenof the Code’ website.

“I am sounding them just as I have been taught but, I don’t know, they just don’t seem to work……
It’s so confusing.”

Friday, August 11, 2017

Another Discourse with Dr. Selznick (1)

It has been seven years since Dr. Selznick and I had a Q& A session which is all in my blog. You may see it from my post on 10th June 2010 to 5th July 2010.

Recently, Dr. Selznick asked me in LinkedIn Website as to how I manage to teach my students in a short period of time. As such this discourse is to answer that question.
Luqman: My definition of shut-down kids is only kids who have learning difficulties as a result of what they have learned. The kids I have taught are kids who have shut-down or disengaged from reading because of confusion. I have Ms.Nancy Hennessy to back me up on this with her following statement: “……even if we settle on a middle number, let us say 10%; that still leaves a lot of children who are not dyslexic, whose brains are not wired any different way, who have reading difficulty.”

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Extracts of interview – Timothy Shanahan in COTC (Part 5)

David Boulton:  The first thing that children who are struggling sense and come away with is that there must be something wrong with them.

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  I think that’s true. I think most of us, if we fail at something, don’t blame the teacher or the book or the school. We blame ourselves.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Extracts of interview – Timothy Shanahan in COTC (Part 4)

You may also find the post at:

David Boulton:  We said earlier that the process of how well children learn to read is all but fating their development in life. About three-to-five percent of children have some neurological disadvantage taking off in the process. The rest of the children that are struggling are struggling for a variety of different reasons, but effectively it has to do with how we as adults are building ‘on-ramps’ into reading that will actually work for them.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Extracts of interview – Timothy Shanahan in COTC (Part 3)

David Boulton:  Why is learning to read so difficult?  

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  I’m not sure we entirely know that. Certainly, one very small group of kids has something that doesn’t quite work right in their brains in terms of picking up this kind of information. They don’t do it that easily. That doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Extracts of interview – Dr.Timothy Shanahan in COTC (Part 1)

You may read the full interview here - Children of the Code.

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  What we really want all systems set up towards is making sure that people are getting more literate. Obviously, more literate means different things. If we’re talking about a third grader it might mean just raising his traditional reading level. If we’re talking about an older student or an adult you very well might be talking about using literacy in an entirely different way than they’ve ever used it before or using it to drive a kind of thinking that they never or rarely engage in. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who wants to increase literacy, I’m on their team. 
Reading, to me, involves some kind of an interpretation of written symbols.

Friday, August 4, 2017

A classic case of a shut-down kid reading English as one would read in Malay

The kid in this video is a smart kid who will be categorized as dyslexic because he cannot read in English. It is very obvious that he can read well in Malay. He is confident enough to cancel out alphabets that he thinks is wrong.

The teacher had not told this kid that in the English language we have silent letters like the silent ‘e’ at the end of the word ‘have’. The boy says ‘Saya tak faham lah’ which means ‘I don’t understand’, but does the teacher explain it to him? No! She just continues (screaming) and this is exactly what will make the kid to ‘shut-down’.