Tuesday, December 29, 2020

‘How we remember words…’ (David Kilpatrick)


Today, 29.12.2020, I listened to a YouTube video post by WalshUniversity Literacy Initiative on Dr.Kilpatrick’s talk re: "How We Remember Words, and Why Some Children Don't"

I decided to ask a question as follows and hope to receive a response.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Orthographic Mapping – ‘A’ for apple. – Kathryn and Jenifer conversation (Part 3)

Somehow NONSENSE makes a lot of sense to most of the people around the world.

Let us look at the absurdity of the following statements by the two ‘educators’.

‘A’ stands for apple but changes a little bit depending on the letters before it or after it. So, it doesn’t sound exactly the same. The idea of a phoneme is a construct that is not true. (Dr. Kathryn Garforth)

It’s a simplification to think about phonemes as having a single sound, however our brains are able to cope with that slight variability in that co-articulation that happens according to the consonant or vowel that’s on the other side. (Jennifer Buckingham)

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Orthographic Mapping – Kathryn and Jenifer conversation (Part 2)

The following are statements made by Jennifer Buckingham on the conversation between Kathryn Garforth and Jennifer Buckingham found here.

Blending the speech sounds is not easy for every child – to take those speech sounds and put them together so that they make a recognizable word.

GPC’s (Grapheme Phoneme correspondences) must be learned to a level of automaticity so that blending can happen.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

Orthographic mapping – Live conversation - Dr. Kathryn Garforth and Jennifer Buckingham


On 22.12.2020 I listened to the live conversation between Kathryn Garforth and Jennifer Buckingham. I asked 3 questions of which 2 were answered. The third one was left out due to time constraint.

From the conversation it is obvious that both these ‘educators’ do not know much about Orthographic Mapping other than what they have memorized from some books.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

The solution to kids shutting down is at contention – Pat Stone


Here is the continuation of my Twitter discussion / argument with Pat Stone.

I have maintained that many smart kids are able to read in Malay and those who go to Chinese schools are able to read in Han Yu Pin Yin (Mandarin written using Roman / Latin letters).

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Visual memorisation misunderstood


From the discussion I had with a number of teachers on Twitter it is obvious that both a majority of phonics as well as whole language proponents are not aware that we don’t store words visually.

Here are some tweets on visual memorisation between Erin Harrington and me.


Monday, December 21, 2020

Response by Pat Stone to my post yesterday


My post yesterday and this post should confirm that most teachers are unaware of the different sounds represented by letters. I am not basing this only on the 4 teachers involved in the Twitter discussion but on many other teachers I had discussed this with over the last 10 years via emails, on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Face Book. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Twitter and the reading wars


The reading wars have been going on for decades. The more I read tweets by teachers the more I understand why the wars have been going on for so long.

Many teachers are unwilling to discuss with an open mind. They are like the prince in an Indian fable who had caught a three legged rabbit and started proclaiming that all rabbits are three legged.

They are exactly what Charlie Munger had described about the human egg.


Saturday, December 12, 2020

Three cueing system


I believe most schools today teach phonics in one form or another. Unfortunately, many schools have these hard core three cueing system proponents, who have not mastered how to teach phonics correctly, who also teach kids how to guess.

Instead of sounding out words, the three cueing system proponents teach kids to rely on syntax, semantic, or grapho- phonemic cue by looking at the beginning letter of words.

Lesson 16 - Word family 'ox'


 Here is the YouTube link to lesson 16.


Friday, December 11, 2020

Orthographic memory (Part 2)


I posed the following question on Twitter on 6.12.2020.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel Dec 6 @eeharrington4

 I have one Q for you and your Phonics folks. Can one learn to read without knowing the letter-sound relationship?

Erin Harrington responded as follows:

Not well.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Putting the cart before the horse

Knowledge of sound-symbol associations is vital for success in first grade and beyond.

Good readers do not depend primarily on context to identify new words. When good readers encounter an unknown word, they decode the word, name it, and then attach meaning.

    When a good reader encounters an unknown

word the first thing he will do is to decode the word.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Orthographic mapping (Part 1)


Following a discussion on Twitter I decided to refresh my mind on orthographic mapping and chanced upon the following post on an Orton Gillingham blog.

The highlight in bold is my doing and this is what I intend to write to a Dr. David Kilpatrick for further discussion.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Reading to respond instead of reading to understand


I commented on a tweet by Pam Kastner which was responded by Erin Harrington, Narelle Lynch, Denyse Ritchie and David M. (a grade one teacher in Australia), Dr. Kathryn Garforth and Emily Hanford.

When I clicked on ‘Home’ to skim through what others were tweeting I saw a tweet (in no way related to the tweet above) by Jasmine lane @MsJasmineMN, a teacher.

Too many folks out here reading to respond instead of reading to understand.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Lesson 15 - 'en'

This is a lesson based on word family 'en'.

This is a gentle reminder to get your child not only to be able to recognise and read the Dolch words introduced as sight words but he should be encouraged to be able to spell these words.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Misleading statements by Pam Kastner and more


The following is a Twitter discussion/debate I witnessed on 23.11.2020.

It started off with Pam Kastner making a sweeping statement. I asked a simple question based on what she had said and she has not responded. (I am told by a good Twitter friend that no one needs to respond to any questions asked. See note below.)

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Lesson 14 -'oo'



In the last two days, 1st and 2nd December 2020, I have had discussions on Twitter with a teacher named Erin Harrington. She is an SSP proponent who insisted that High Frequency words are memorized, by Whole Language kids, by visual memory.

The above is not a correct assumption. One of the reasons why there is widespread reading difficulties could very well be due to this assumption that we store words using visual memory.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Visual memory revisited

I am writing on visual memory again as there is a discussion on it on Twitter. 


Most teachers assume that words are stored by visual memory. This is not an accurate assumption. Some of the phonics proponents say it repeatedly. So much so, that they have begun to believe their own lies.

Monday, November 30, 2020

Decoding and comprehension


Here are some tweets from 29.11.2020 which I rather not respond on Twitter as the person twitting has not responded to my rebuttals ever.

denyse Ritchie @dejaynjd Replying to @eeharrington4 @NarelleLynch1 and 2 others

Is it ‘decoding’ or reading comprehension the year 4 slump is exposing? Many children can read but it is their lack of vocabulary understanding & spelling/writing skills that is failing them.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Tamil does not require the same phonological awareness as English (Part 2) - Dr. Kathryn Garforth

Many teachers like Dr.Kathryn Garforth make statements which many believe simply because these people have an initial in front of their names.

Little does the public realise that half the time these so-called PhD's do not know what they are talking about. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

My response to Jedlie’s question on RWYK.


Jedlie, in his interview with Dr. Kathryn Garforth, asked the following question:

We teach that ‘c’ is for cat and ‘a’ is for apple. We are not letting them know early enough that ‘a’ is for apple most of the time but there are other times when ‘a’ makes (represents) a different sound. When should we introduce that idea to the kids?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Reading with your kid podcast - A revisit - Dr. Kathryn Garforth


The following are extracts of the Podcast. You may listen to the podcast  here.

Dr. Kathryn Garforth:

         Reading can be broken down into two components:

i.                     Decoding words

ii.                   Understand the meaning / language comprehension.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Figuring out words vs guessing

Some kids guess because they don’t know what else to do. They haven’t been taught phonics or strategies for breaking down multi-syllabic words.

They may not have been taught to rote memorise the Dolch Words as I have done in my lessons. Rote memorisation of Dolch words is an excellent supplement to phonics instruction. Rote memory of Dolch words increases a kid’s familiarity of high frequency words which he will encounter in every book he reads.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Lesson 12 – word family ‘oo’


We will learn how to figure out new words from the word families we have learned. We will do it in detail in later chapters but keep the following in mind when you read storybooks to your child. Ask them to figure out new words and you will be surprised at what they can do.

In chapter 12 we are learning the word family ‘oo’.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Tamil does not require the same phonological awareness as English (DR. Kathryn Garforth)


It a Twitter discussion on 15.10.2020 Dr. Kathryn Garforth had said:

I don't have the time to become an expert in Tamil, but it is my understanding that it typically represents words at the syllable level and not the phoneme level which means that, like Chinese, it does not require the same level of phonological awareness.

I do not want to travel down this road as it diverges from my main theme of my blog posts but since it has been twitted I think I should say a few things and hope Dr. Garforth will give us her views once her busy period is over.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Lesson 11 using word family 'ot'


Here are two words, ‘baby’ and ‘do’, that you need to explain to your child/student.

Your child has learned the sounds represented by ‘a’ as in apple and ‘a’ as in around in lesson 1. This is the first time he is encountering another sound represented by the letter ‘a’.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Spelling backwards


I happened to watch a video where kids between 8 and 12 years old spell words backwards - words that are difficult for many to spell even the normal way.

I have said that kids are smart and will have no problem learning all the Dolch words with ease. The people with a vested interest keep saying why should kids learn the Dolch words by rote memory. My question has always been, why not.

If 8 to 12-year-old kids can spell words backwards as per the video below why do educators complain about kids learning a mere 220 Dolch commonly used words most of which are 2 to 4 letters long.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Lesson 10 - word family 'ut'


Here is lesson 10 on my YouTube channel. Please share it with your contacts.

This lesson is based on word family -'ut'. 

Please ensure your child has memorised the Dolch sight words by rote memory.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Lesson 9


Here is the link to lesson 9. I have now uploaded all lessons to lesson 9 on YouTube for your convenience. 

Feel free to give you comments or write to me @ luqmanm2002@yahoo.co.uk if you have any questions or suggested improvements to my lessons. 

Video link

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Lucy Calkin vs SoR proponents


The SoR proponents keep smearing the good name of Lucy Calkin. What is their basis? I believe it is none other than promoting their SoR products.

To be honest, I have not read Lucy’s book but I have read many who say that her books have helped them to teach their students.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Research on Teaching consonants without extraneous sounds

Dr. Kathryn Garforth has told me that she will respond to my questions after the busy month of October is over.

I usually write links to my tweets. This is because I type with 2 fingers which is very time consuming and because the links I suggest are related to what I am tweeting.

Many on Twitter rebut without reading the links and therefore it makes discussion a little less effective.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Opacity of the English Language – Dr.Kathryn Garforth

This is a continuation of my tweets with Dr. Kathryn Garforth.

Luqman Michel:

Dr. Tell us what is so complex about learning to read simple sentences in children's books in English. Very simple stories. Why do about 20% of kids disengage from learning to read?

Why does a majority grope in the dark until they figure out how to read?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Instructional videos that cause many kids to shut down


Yesterday, 27.10.2020, I had a fruitful discussion on Twitter with nickie simonetti @ End the Struggle#Dyslexia.

 In brief I said at the end of the discussion:

My discussions on Twitter is not to 'fix' but to make teachers aware that we can reduce kids leaving school as illiterate simply by not teaching the wrong pronunciation of phonemes of consonants. Prevent rather than cure.

nickie simonetti @ End the Struggle#Dyslexia responded:

Agree...whenever I watch an instructional video I shudder.


Monday, October 26, 2020

Lesson 8 Word family 'ug'


The following are the word families I have introduced until lesson 7.

at, an, ap, og, ig.

I have introduced the following word families from lessons 8 to 27.

Peer Review


Here are two tweets from Dr. Kathryn Garforth that I wanted to ignore but in less than a week I read a blog post by Greg Ashman that I think I should share.


First, here are Dr. Kathryn Garforth’s tweets:


Kathryn Garforth, Ph. D.@GarforthEduc Oct 17 Replying to @GarforthEduc and @luqmanmichel

I have a long list of papers & books to read that are peer-reviewed and published, forgive me for not putting yours at the top of the list because of your aggressive & insulting manner in attacking my intelligence. I have paying clients that are my priority not boosting your ego.

As far as I know, your posts have not gone through the peer-reviewed process and published in a reputable journal. It is unrealistic to expect anyone to read absolutely every article they are interested in. I would be happy to read your posts if you pay me for my time.

Here are extracts from Greg Ashman’s blog post.

I could not have put it half as well as he has.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Humans Are Born With Brains ‘Prewired’ to See Words

I googled ‘Reading is unnatural’ and there are about 12,200,000 results (0.50 seconds).

I have said several times on my blog that the problem with research reports is that when one ‘researcher’ says one thing the others jump on the band wagon and repeat what the researcher had said, without thinking at all.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Restarting the “science of reading” conversation


Restarting the “science of reading” conversation (The Thomas B. Fordham Institute)


I read the above post on Twitter and noted the author Robert Pondiscio is yet another SoR proponent.

There are many so-called educators who block me when I ask relevant questions, ignore without responding, give some idiotic excuses and there are those who say they will get back to me and then don’t keep their promise.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Lesson 7 - word family 'ig'


Let your child/student know the sound represented by the letters 'ig'. Then ask him to see if he can now read the word families big, dig, fig etc. Chances are he would be able to read all of the words in the list. 

Then continue with the lesson below.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

RWYK Podcast with Dr. Kathryn Garforth (Part 3)


On 17.10.2020 Dr. Kathryn Garforth tweeted the following:

Twitter only gives you so many characters to express your thoughts

You critic a podcast that I was on because I said some of the things parents can do to help their child with reading. There are 30 minutes in the podcast and only so much that can be covered. I was trying to make my advice applicable to the widest audience & provide the most help

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Main cause of reading problem as per Sue Lloyd


Yesterday Sue Lloyd, an expert in teaching phonics, tweeted the following:

In my experience the cause of reading problems is nearly always when children are expected to memorise words instead of decoding them.

This post is in response to her tweet.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Friday, October 16, 2020

Reading With Your Kids (RWYK) Podcast - Jedlie with guest Dr. Kathryn Garforth (Part 2)


The following is the continuation of tweets between Dr. Kathryn Garforth and me.

Kathryn Garforth, Ph. D. Replying to @luqmanmichel and @jedliemagic

PA (Phonemic awareness) alone is not enough to become a fluent English reader. English is orthographically complex for other reasons (morphology, etymology, 44 phonemes only 26 letters & multiple ways to represent the same sound). IDK much about Tamil & Malay but the others don't have same complexity

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Notes 4 - Letters represent various sounds


One of the 3 reasons why kids shut down from learning to read is the fact that they are not told on the outset that letters represent more than one sound. Let them know this fact and when you come across words where the sound represented by the letter you have taught him earlier is different point it out to him.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

The different sounds represented by letters

I have said that there are 3 matters that cause children to shut down / disengage from learning to read.

One of the three is not telling the kid at the onset that almost all letters in English represent more than one sound.