Friday, January 31, 2020

‘When Science and Literacy Collide’ by Mark W.F. Condon

Here are some extracts from the article'When Science and Literacy collide'

I share this slightly wonkish topic here to offer some essential perspective to assertions in the press that teachers aren’t using the science of literacy research in their instructional decisions. That’s of interest mostly because the disappointing end-of-year test scores of reading proficiency have stagnated for 20 years.

For how many more years are we going to dupe the world with the same stuff that has been repeated for years?

What is the ‘science of literacy research’? What does it say about how to teach letter sounds?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

IPA, ITA and The Magic Ladder (Part 2)

The following article, extracted from Children of the Code, was posted by me on LinkedIn in September 2015.

Has any educator bothered to comment on my post? No! And why not? Afraid to offend... How will we eradicate illiteracy?

Unfolding the Ambiguity in the Code:

Siegfried Engelmann:

 In other words, we've let the kids tell us what we were doing wrong… The only one that didn't totally strike out was ITA, which was sort of like an adaptation of the International Phonetic Alphabet.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

ITA, IPA and David Boulton's Magic Ladder (Part 1)


The following is what our David Boulton had said in his LinkedIn exchanges with me. Please read my post on this here.

"Children of the Code avoided advocating solutions so as not to be dismissed as having an agenda other than learning deeper into the challenge. 3 decades of work have culminated in a solution, an entirelydifferent approach to supporting learning to read.

I had said that this is utter nonsense that only the uninformed will believe. Most of America will believe anything that their ‘Gods of education’ say without thinking.

Monday, January 27, 2020

India too has been afflicted with wrong phonics

Last year the parent of one of my past students requested me to help her sister in India whose child was not reading at grade level.

I spoke with the mother, via Whatsapp, and asked her to record how her daughter read a few of the consonants I gave her.

Here is an audio of the sounds (now converted into a video) of the few consonants I had sent her to have it recorded.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Why is it so hard to improve reading achievement?

This post is a response to what I saw on Twitter this morning by Timothy Shanahan.

His post today was;

            Why is it so hard to improve reading achievement? What aren’t we doing right?

I have made many comments on Timothy’s blog posts and he cherry picks comments he is comfortable with and ignores the others which he cannot respond to.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

If a child can speak

On 27.12.2019, I came across an excellent blog by Mark Anderson @ Manderson. The author had taken great pains to write the article. He has done extensive reading but is still groping in the dark as to why many children cannot read in English.

Unfortunately, he is looking for research reports and is unable to think for himself. He is not going to find any research reports telling him the wrong ways the letter sounds are taught. He has to wait for research students doing research based on what is in my blog.

Following are a few excerpts from his article with my comments as usual.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Is phonics the culprit

Yesterday, 23.1.2020, I read a post by one Amy Gibbons which stated the following;

There is 'little or no evidence' that phonics improves reading, study finds.

Academic says we should consider 'alternative methods of reading instruction', despite minister's support for phonics.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Empirical evidence

An educator who had worked in several positions for 45 years and who is 80 years old and now retired – said on 11.1.2020 in a comment on one of my posts;

“As long as it is empirical, Americans are comfortable
but if it isn't empirical it is suspicious stuff.”

What has happened to the common sense of the American people?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Letter sounds taught in Malaysia

Here is one of several video clips I received from a teacher in Malaysia on how letter sounds are taught in most Malaysian schools.

Adding extraneous sounds to consonants

This is a follow up to my post yesterday.

This is how consonants are taught all over the world. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Unnatural confusion?

                                                 Image taken from Children of the Code.

The following is the departing message from David Boulton to me on LinkedIn in 2017.

Dr. David Boulton:

I have been bombarded over the years with people 'certain' that if only their way was adopted (spelling reform to instructional method) everyone would be great readers. I don't have the time or interest in being the object such people want to stroke themselves with. I am clear and on the record for decades re what is the reason children struggle to read English. If as you say you have been through my work you'd know that. I appreciate that you help people. I don't want to engage further with you. I am not interested in being a platform for self aggrandizing. I wish you all the best.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

David Boulton/ Luqman Michel on LinkedIn

Let us take a short break from ‘Corroborating Evidences’ and see what David Boulton has to say. 

The following was a discussion with David Boulton on LinkedIn. sometime in 2017.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Prevention is better than treatment – Dr.Jack Shonkoff

Corroborative Evidence (5) – Dr. Jack Shonkoff

"So the sobering message here is that if children don't have the right experiences during these sensitive periods for the development of a variety of skills, including many cognitive and language capacities, that's a burden that those kids are going to carry; the sensitive period is over, and it's going to be harder for them."

Friday, January 10, 2020

Corroborative evidence (4) - James Wendorf

“Most struggling children are struggling because what they learned in the past is inadequately resourcing or maladaptively directing their current learning.
The most important step toward improving the health of our children’s learning is recognizing, understanding, and minimizing, unhealthy learning.” (James Wendorf)

These professors, David Boulton, Timothy Shanahan, Reid Lyon, Andrew Johnson and a few others, should get rid of their egos and listen to experienced people who have taught so-called ‘dyslexic’ kids.

What is it that is learned in the past which is inadequately resourcing or directing their current learning? 

David Boulton heard the above quotation by James Wendorf more than 15 years ago. Let us assume he is naïve not to have figured out what ‘unhealthy learning’ is. Should he listen or at least discuss the matter with me who knows the answer?

I explained to David in 2017, after several failed attempts in 2015, that there are two basic reasons why kids shut down from learning to read. In my next post let us see how he responded.
Is there any educator who disagrees with my findings that the main reason why illiteracy has not reduced is that many kids shut down from learning to read when they are confused? Read my post at                                                

You may opt to buy a copy of my book ‘Shut down kids’ available on Amazon.

Note: James Wendorf was the Executive Director, National Center for Learning Disabilities in 2004 when David Boulton interviewed him.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Speaking engagements

I had my first speaking engagement for 2020 on 6.1.2020. It was to a small group of Rotary members Rotary Club of Kinabalu Sutera in Kota Kinabalu.

Corroborative Evidence (3) David Boulton

“In the learning disability world there’s a general consensus that about four to six percent or so of the learning disabilities that we identify seem to have some innate neurobiological origin, and that the vast majority of ‘learning disabilities’ — which is a really fuzzy term — are acquired. In other words, when we’re in unhealthy learning environments, we learn in ways that can be learning disabling. And that includes both the emotional and cognitive dimensions.” David Boulton
It has been reported that learning disabled children amount to approximately 20% of the population. If 4 to 6 % seem to have an innate neurobiological origin (I believe it is much less) then it means about 14 to 16% are acquired learning disabilities as reported by David above.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Corroborative evidence - Dr.G. Reid Lyon

“When we look at the kids who are having a tough time learning to read and we went through the statistics, thirty-eight percent nationally, dis-aggregate that, seventy percent of kids from poverty and so forth hit the wall. Ninety-five percent of those kids are instructional casualties. About five to six percent of those kids have what we call dyslexia or learning disabilities in reading.” (G.Reid Lyon)

Thursday, January 2, 2020


An educational therapist commented as follows after reading my article on phonological awareness at

“I am not quite sure what your criticism of structured literacy instruction is--is your criticism with phonics, or with poorly done phonics?”
What I have been saying since I started my blog is that the sounds of letters are taught wrongly in most schools around the world therefore resulting in kids shutting down from learning to read.
Below is the episode aired by Baby TV around the world. This is definitely not the way to teach sounds of letters. Consonants should not have extraneous sounds added. I have complained to Baby TV to no avail.

Please listen to the YouTube video below.

Here is a list of the consonants in the video taught wrongly.

B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, N, P, Q, R, V, Y, Z

The above is one of two reasons about 20% of the kids around the world shut down from learning to read. A majority of these kids are wrongly classified as dyslexic.

They are unable to match the sounds to the words taught. They then disengage from learning to read.
Here are a few examples of the words made by the above letters.

If the sound of the letter B is Buh/ber, then how do you pronounce the word bat?

Is it ber-at? (Buh-at.)

Cat, is it Cuh-at? (cur-at)

Hat, is it Ha-at?

In the next few articles, I shall post some videos on what students in the US complained about the sounds of letters.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Logical thinking and phonological awareness deficit

This is a continuation of my previous post on Dr. Reuven Feaustein.

The following is what the lady said in our conversation on LinkedIn;

“I am a Literacy Specialist. I believe that schools should have Instructional Leaders who have a knowledge of the Pedagogy and methodology of how to teach literacy and how to Crack the Code.  It is their role to make sure that there is training for teachers and they are held accountable for student progress.  It is critical that in the early years’ student must have teachers who understand the systematic process of closing the decoding crack.  The Developmental Progression: