Thursday, October 25, 2018

Australian Literacy Educators' Association

Let us take a short break from Astro and see what our 'Learned friends' from Down Under are doing.

More than a month ago I listened to a YouTube video by Alvin Irby found here

I found the above on Face Book on the page of ALEA Mackay - Australian Literacy Educators' Association.

The following is what I read about ALEA.

ALEA Mackay is part of a vibrant national professional network of dedicated literacy educators.

2017 - 2018
ALEA Mackay was awarded "ALEA Honour Council" for outstanding contribution to the local educational community. ALEA Mackay was the first local ALEA Council to win this national award.

I wrote to ALEA  the comment I had written on the post by Alvin Irby on TED Talk.

This was the response by the Dedicated Literacy educators.

Hello, Thank you for responding to an ALEA post. This post was shared just as a matter of interest for educators. Our Association has no affiliation with the author, so the questions directed at the author would be better posted to the original Ted Talk. Thank you.
Sep 13th, 6:03am

I immediately responded as follows and have not heard from the Dedicated Literacy Educators.

I have posted my question to the author too. But, I would like to know your opinion as well. Pass this message to someone responsible in your organisation. Don't you have educators in your organisation who are interested to find out why kids shut down from learning to read in English but not in many other languages?

The fact is that no one is willing to accept the fact that kids disengage from learning to read when they are confused. All the Australians I had written to since 2010 do not want to be informed.

I listened to the whole TED Talk video by Alvin mentioned above and also read the script and part of it is as below.

According to the US Department of Education, more than 85 percent of black fourth-grade boys aren't proficient in reading. What kind of reading experiences should we be creating to ensure that all children read well? In a talk that will make you rethink how we teach, educator and author Alvin Irby explains the reading challenges that many black children face -- and tells us what culturally competent educators do to help all children identify as readers.

I wrote the following comment:

You said "OK DeSean, right? Reading? Completely different story.”
"Mr. Irby, I can't read. I'm never going to learn to read," he would say. 

We need to ask how is that a math genius can't read. This indicates that he is an intelligent kid.

I have taught more than 50 children classified as dyslexic, on a one on one basis since 2004. I must add that I am not a trained teacher - I have worked in the accounting field.

All my students could read in Malay and those who went to Chinese schools could read in Han Yu Pinyin (Chinese written in the same alphabets as does English.)

I was curious as to why smart kids like my students could read in both languages using the same letters as English but were unable to read in English.

I then learned that these kids had shut down because of confusion which is a result of wrong instruction. They are taught wrong alphabet sounds (Phonics taught incorrectly.)

Mr. Alvin, please ponder over the following:
1. How could a Genius mathematician not be able to read in English?
2. How is it possible for a short period of remediation to bring all kids who could not read to grade level and maintain them at that level? (Read 'Equipped for reading success' by Dr.David Kilpatrick. Don't be surprised to see my name on the acknowledgment pages.)
3. Why did these smart kids end up in remediation in the first place?
No amount of encouragement can bring these kids to learn to read when they have reached primary 3.

I have written a book on why these kids shut down from learning to read in English and how to prevent such shutting down.
Please get a copy and then grill me on its contents. Let us together reduce illiteracy.

Mr. Alvin has not responded and neither has YouTube.
Is there anyone around the world who is really interested in discussing why many smart kids leave school as illiterates?

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