Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sound-symbol skills is the foundation of phonics


The following is what Emina McLean had responded to me on an email exchange with her.

We do perhaps disagree that mispronunciation using extraneous phonemes is a/the major cause of instructional casualties and/or The Reading Wars. That's not to say that it doesn't play a role, but in the schools I work in the biggest issue impacting literacy development is that phonics is not taught in any systematic way i.e. students are not learning how speech maps to print in any structured or explicit way and they are not learning the different between speech sounds and alphabet letters. I agree that we should ensure accurate pronunciation, but we also need to get everything right that follows on from that, including ensuring that all schools are following a systematic phonics scope and sequence.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 7)


“Do what you want to do and don't care about what other people say." (Rajinikanth)



“ … there is little proof that direct challenges to people’s beliefs work to overturn false beliefs. Rather, the evidence currently points to the entrenching of misinformed beliefs as people strive to protect their identities” (Berentson-Shaw, 2018, p.90).

“It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it, and that's what gets results.”

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 6)



Do not give voice to the naysayers. Do not amplify individuals who cling to misinformation, directly or indirectly. Do not amplify problematic or incorrect conceptions about reading instruction. Do not engage in tit-for-tat debates. Do not waste precious time on people who do not want to know better or do better. Do not demean or malign, and do not make people feel less than. Do not make fun of people.

Sadly, we must accept that some people are unlikely to ever change their minds.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 5)


For those loud and unpleasant few online who are openly argumentative and wilfully ignorant, can I suggest the mute or block buttons? Amplifying their voices and further cementing their views through engagement is incredibly unhelpful.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 4)



What can we take away from all of this? In all conversations, we need to seek to establish common values and desired outcomes. If our values or desired outcomes do not match theirs, we are wasting our time and theirs. Reframe the intended conversation or choose another candidate. We must consider ways in which we can authentically establish credibility and trust. We must be mindful of our own blind spots and biases. We must avoid an ‘us versus them’ mentality. We must consider how we are communicating. Are we telling people what to do, or worse, telling people they are wrong, or are we seeking to collaborate and develop a shared vision or outcome? Are we turning people off before we have even gotten started?

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 3)


Who we trust – continued.


If people think you are part of their groupthink, or share their values and attitudes, they are more likely to listen to you. If people think you are not a part of their groupthink, and hold different values, they are likely to reject what you say without paying attention to it. If people perceive you as being on a different side to them, they will reject your expertise, deny your credibility and will not afford your arguments any trust or validity. It is actually that simple and that complex.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Can I change your mind about changing minds – Emina McLean (Part 2)



           Who we trust

 Liking and looking for information that confirms our views is dangerous in the age of prolific information sharing online, because we start to associate information that makes us feel good with the people who share it, and we pay even less attention to quality or truth of the information, and share it just because people we like or trust have shared it.


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Unmotivated and disengaged students


I surfed the internet to find articles on disengaged students and here is an extract from one of many articles. All the ones I read had similar points of view but none had the main reason why kids disengage from learning to read.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Dr.Sam Bommarito – Finding the path to end the reading wars.


The following are extracts from a post by Dr.Sam Bommarito and my comments. You may read the whole post here.


It takes a centrist perspective and suggested ways we can use ideas from all sides to finally resolve this decades old debate.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Poisoning the well.

The origin of the term lies in well poisoning, an ancient wartime practice of pouring poison into sources of fresh water before an invading army, to diminish the attacking army's strength.

Poisoning the well is analyzed as a tactic to silence an opponent violating his right to put forward arguments on an issue both parties have agreed to discuss at the confrontation stage of a critical discussion. It is concluded that it is a special form of strategic attack used by one party in the argumentation stage of a critical discussion to improperly shut down the capability of the other party for putting forward arguments of the kind needed to properly move the discussion forward.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

My 2018 prediction coming true?


On August 22 Narelle Lynch from Australia tweeted about Australia’s recent dramatic decline in literacy. I was not able to read the supporting article as I am not a subscriber. It is found here. 

And today 25.8.2020 I read a similar article about kids turning off reading in New Zealand. You may read it here.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Mark Seidenberg on 'How the brain learns to read' and my comments.


On 20.8.2020 I read a tweet that said; .

You can find the YouTube video at

‘Last week @markseidenberg presented a talk titled "Can Reading Research Improve Literacy Outcomes?" at the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Council's symposia series on early literacy policies. Exciting to see the interest in science!’

Mark Seidenberg is from the University of Wisconsin.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

‘Never lose a holy curiosity’


After I had surfed the internet to find out the number of entries for my previous post I decided, out of curiosity, to search for ‘Phonics Luqman Michel’.

There were more than 50 entries.

 I was pleasantly surprised to see my comments in blogs dating back to 2010.

I found the TN Foundational Skills Curriculum Supplement.


Friday, August 21, 2020

When phonics doesn't work?


On 18.8.2020 I chanced upon a tweet by londonjohn @londonjohn9 dated Aug 2, 2020.

Replying to @Suchmo83

I'm given pupils who have had up to 2 years of phonics instruction and can barely read a word. I never use a decodable book to get them reading.

The above is nothing new to me as all my past students also had phonics instructions and were unable to read when they came to me for tuition.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Tennessee Foundational Skills


In preparation of an article to post on my blog I googled ‘Phonics Luqman Michel’ and saw more than 50 entries including the following.

I shall write more on this in the next few days but meanwhile parents who have children in kindergarten and prekindergarten are urged to read the material found here.

 The highlights in bold is my doing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Robert J Marzano’s strategy for teachers


I believe teachers and administrators can benefit from Marzano’s teaching strategies.

We need to give our students the tools they need to be successful in the classroom and beyond.

On 16.8.2020 Dr.Sam Bommarito tweeted the following.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Dogmatic attitude of an educator


On 6.8.2020 I wrote an article on Ego which you may read here.

It talks about some important phrases we should learn and use as we learn and grow.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

International Literacy Association (ILA) Explaining Phonics Instruction


In a blog post on 9.8.2020 by Dr. Sam Bommarito I saw a post with a link to an article by International Literacy Association which you may read in full here.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

'So if phonics doesn't work...what then?' (The Ape)


The above title is from an article by ‘The Reading Ape blog’ on April 27th 2020, that you can find here.

It was tweeted by Dianne Murphy on 5.8.2020 in her blog ‘The Literacy Echo Chamber’

Here are a few extracts and my comments.

Thursday, August 6, 2020


The following image is from a post on Twitter by Nitu Bhojwani,


What is it that gets in the way of saying any of the phrases above?

Saturday, August 1, 2020

John Walker and Stephen Parker vs. Luqman Michel on letter names.

John Walker, in his weblog had a post in June 2019 titled ‘Advocating the teaching of letter names to children just entering school is crass’.

You may read the whole post here.

Why would any sane person call teaching letter names to children just entering school as crass?

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Friday, July 24, 2020

My student from Kenya (Part 2)

My student in Kenya, could sound out the phonemes of all the letters accurately after a few days of coaching.

She sounded them out correctly on her third attempt. There were hardly any extraneous sounds to the consonants.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The 44 phonemes

This is a follow up of my previous post. I got the idea for this post from a debate I heard a few days ago where Jonathan Solity said that 10 single graphene phoneme correspondences represent 70% of words in children’s books.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sounds represented by letters

                                                                      A as in ape.

I read the following tweet by ‘The Reading Ape’ as follows:

The Reading Ape @TheReadingApe

‘Decoding is the critical test of reading ability-To render aloud a pseudoword or to recognise a word never seen before in print as a specific word in one’s vocabulary cannot be accomplished by rote memory. These feats require knowledge of the alphabetic principle. Perfetti 2010
2:45 AM · Jul 17, 2020·Twitter for iPhone

With the hope of a good discussion I twitted as follows:

Friday, July 17, 2020

My student in Kenya, Africa (Part 1)

On the 5.7.2020 I received a message on Facebook Messenger from a lady in Kenya, Africa which said the following:

Dear Luqman, I have been following your blogs and you seem to understand these children and able to help them. I have a 11 year old who is showing the signs of shut down in her writing. I would appreciate if you can help through Zoom. Kind Regards.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Katherine Billington vs Luqman Michel (Part 2)

This is a continuation of my messages with Katie on Twitter.

Katherine Wang

"There are regional differences in the pronunciation throughout the English diaspora of the phonemes and it does not impact the illiteracy rate."

Luqman Michel

Katherine, do you really think I don't know this? You have been hoodwinked into believing that it does not impact literacy. I ask you a direct question. Did you take time to listen to my 5 videos that takes only 15 minutes? Answer me yes/No?

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Katherine Billington vs Luqman Michel

I want to cut down on my posts and concentrate on teaching kids remotely. 

I am currently teaching a 11 year old kid in Kenya, Africa, to read and spell. I have not taught anyone on spelling but I am now reading on that and therefore busy.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The 5 E's Learning cycle

I saw a tweet by Dr. David Dzyngier this morning and decided to write this post.

The 5 e’s have been used for many years to teach science. I feel it is just as applicable to learning to read.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Ms. Lyn Stone A request

My blog posts are mainly on why kids are unable to read in English.

I believe, there are enough educators who are now convinced that many kids shut down/disengage from learning to read because of confusion as a result of teaching of pronunciation of phonemes wrongly.

As such, I have decided to write one or two posts per week unlike previously where I wrote one post per day.

Now, I have time to look at some of my tweets that have been rebutted by tweeters.

A post by Debbie Meyers and my comments

Here is a well written article by Debbie Meyer with a lot of thought provoking questions to which I believe I have the answers.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

An open letter to La Trobe University

Here are emails to and from La Trobe University which are self-explanatory. 

The response from the university is similar to responses I have received from NZ and OZ since 2010.

Do read my email and then read the response to my email.

How in the world are we ever going to eradicate illiteracy or improve our education if we have educators and universities responding in such a manner?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Tweets between Nathaniel Swain and me

There were 2 issues that have not been settled between Nathaniel and me. Our Twitter conversation is copy pasted below. I have added a third question and request Nathaniel to respond.

You can't teach old dogs new tricks (Final part)

This is a continuation of extracts from a post by Pamela Snow and my comments.

This blunderbuss approach no doubt explains why university lecturers grapple with the frustration of trying to teach first-year students who do not know the basics of how to construct a sentence, in spite of the fact that they have studied English for 13 years and have passed Year 12.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

You can't teach old dogs new tricks (Part 2 of 3)

This is a continuation of extracts from Pamela Snow's Blog post and my comments.

What WL (Whole Language) advocates do not appear to understand, however, is the important neurobiological difference between oral language and written language. Where humans have an evolutionary advantage for acquiring oral language, such that it is sometimes described as biologically “natural” or “primary” (see the work of David Geary), written language is recent in evolutionary terms, being only about 6000 years old, and is biologically “unnatural” or “secondary”.

My comment: This is an insult to the intelligence of the human race. This thing that reading is unnatural has been propagated for decades as the cause of kids being unable to read. 

The alphabet is an invention. Man invented the letters of the alphabet and when you invent something it isn’t natural. But, so are many other things that we learn like driving, flying a plane, rocket science etc.

We have millions of kids in Malaysia who can read fluently in English, Malay and Chinese.

There are thousands of kids in Malaysia who can read in many languages namely Malay, English, Arabic and Tamil. 

AND we have people like Pamela Snow who tell us that reading is not biologically natural and that is why many are unable to read and that too in just one language. How naive can one be to say something as stupid as that?

Pamela Snow is good at collating information from the internet without thinking if it is logical. 

There are many things that are biologically unnatural that humans have learned to do. However, many can’t read in English because the foundation of phonics is taught wrongly and not because it is unnatural.

If written language is natural, how do WL/BL advocates account for the high rates of low literacy in first-world, English-speaking nations?

My comment: What a ridiculous thing to say when the percentage of kids being unable to read have been about the same during WL/BL and phonics period.

The logical thing to do is to find out from kids themselves as to why they cannot read in English but are able to read in other languages. I have found that out and have explained it to these educators who are still groping in the dark.

I believe that most of these educators are affected by Backfire effect which you may read here.