Friday, February 15, 2019

Teach your child to read

Here is the preface to my book which I hope to upload onto the internet by next month at the latest.

A majority of children are wrongly classified as dyslexics when in fact they are instructional casualties. Many smart children who are predisposed to shutting down will disengage from learning to read when they have been taught wrong sounds of the alphabet.

Many schools around the world teach the sounds of letters wrongly, leading to children failing to learn to read. Children who could otherwise learn to read if not mistaught are then labeled as “needing” specialized remediation classes to overcome their learning/reading “disability”.
There are educators who say that we should not teach children letter names before teaching sounds of letters as this will only confuse the children. I disagree with this theory as there are many words which begin with letter names for example, bee, deep, eagle, giraffe etc.

Let us therefore teach the names of the letters of the alphabet. One common way of doing this is through the alphabet song. Here is an example in a YouTube video:

There is a war between ‘Whole language’ proponents and ‘Phonics’ proponents that has been going on for decades. The phonics proponents say that there is no need to memorise words and the whole language proponents say there is no need to teach phonics. I find that a combination of phonics with memorization of sight words is what works best.

This book teaches phonics along with 5 sight words to be memorised in each lesson. For children who are in primary three and above you may ask them to memorise 10 words during each lesson. These sight words introduced in this book are called Dolch words which comprise about 70 percent of the words in most books. 

Make sure that consonants are not taught with extraneous sounds.  It is the extraneous sounds added to consonants that confuse many children who are then classified as dyslexics.

I am not a trained teacher. In 2004, a friend asked me to teach his son who spoke good English but was unable to read even a single sentence despite having gone to kindergarten for one year and then to primary one – another year.

I was curious as to how a smart child like him could not read even a single sentence. After teaching him for 2 years I learned a great deal about why he could not read previously, but was able to read after my coaching. I therefore decided to teach more of such children and have, to date,   taught more than 70 children on a one on one basis.

Almost all of my students could read in Malay but not in English when they first came to me for tuition, despite English and Malay using the same alphabet.

This book is a result of my observation and interview of all my former students. All of them had shut down from learning to read as a result of confusion. They were confused because they had been taught the wrong sounds of letters and were not told that the letters in the English alphabet have more than one sound.

I have published a book on why such children shut down or disengage from learning to read. The book is backed up with corroborative evidences from experts in the education field.

The book is entitled ‘Shut down kids’ and is available on Amazon. Those in Malaysia, Singapore and India may get a copy from my website at

This book is provided free of charge on the internet. Please pass it on to your contacts so that together we may reduce illiteracy.


Rum Tan said...

As we know disability child are very special. They need extra care and support from their parents or guardians. Some schools and colleges provide special care courses. This should be very clear about the special need children that what they love to do. They also have their own interest. Smile tutor are one of the home tuition guide. They provide full support to the special need child at their home.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Rum Tan. Most of these kids will not fall under the disability group if they had been taught sounds of alphabets correctly from the beginning.