Thursday, April 30, 2020

Interesting comments on Diane Ravitch's post

Here are some interesting comments from the blog by Diane Ravitch on 4.4.2020 which was on the 5.4.2020 for us in Malaysia.

Comment from: retired teacher
April 4, 2020 at 1:02 pm

The main credential of many of the disrupters is that they are arrogant billionaires that weaponize their wealth to destroy the common good. Many politicians are willing to take the $$, and some of the right wingers are more than happy to undermine public education in keeping with their small minded beliefs.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Reading failure (Part 1)

This article written in 2015 was linked to a tweet I read two days ago and you can read it here

Here are some extract and my comments.

For a significant minority in EVERY class the challenge is greater. They don’t read well. Unfamiliar words can’t be guessed and their ability to decode is weak. To read even one of my short texts will take an inordinate time. Not one of them would have been counted in government measures for weak literacy. According to the statistics, the biggest problem I face day in, day out as I teach A level history simply doesn’t exist. Believe me, it exists and there is a real human cost to this hidden reading failure.

Monday, April 27, 2020

'Why people prefer to believe myth instead of facts (Vicki Cobb)

Here is a post extracted from Diane Ravitch's blog. 

Vicki Cobb, a writer of science books for children, ponders the question that puzzles so many of us at this time:

Why do so many people refuse to believe proven facts?

Why do so many prefer to believe myths instead of facts?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Morphology and Etymology (Sara J Peden)

I have always been talking about kids who will shut down/ disengage from learning to read if the pronunciation of phonemes of consonants is taught wrongly. I leave it to teachers in schools to worry about vocabulary, comprehension, fluency, grammar and whatever else that needs to be taught. If the foundation is taken care of, the rest can be taught. They will not disengage from learning to read.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

'25% of children find learning to read difficult' (Sue Lloyd)

The following is from Sue Lloyd’s blog found here.

On average, about a quarter of children find learning to read difficult. There is a tendency to think that these children are not very bright but this could not be further from the truth. I have known many highly intelligent children who have had problems with learning to read and vice versa.

Teachers know very well that in each class there is a group of children who learn to read easily, whatever method of teaching is used; a group who learn steadily and gradually succeed; and a group of children who struggle and frequently fail. I have often asked teachers why they think this happens, when the teaching is basically the same for all the children. Their replies tend to be that the children who struggle:

Friday, April 24, 2020

"Knowledge leads to Ignorance"

Ignorance leads to Knowledge" AND "Knowledge leads to Ignorance". (Dr.Shalini Ratan on LinkedIn)

What a coincidence that Dr.Shalini Ratan should post this on LinkedIn yesterday (23.4.2020). It supports what I had intended to write.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Letter sounds and letter names

Here is another tweet where there is a new participant, John Bald, an Independent educational consultant.

Luqman Michel Replying to @debbiehepp @JohnBaldLangLit 

Many of my shut down students looked with a quizzical look when I sounded out the words be, bee, deep, giraffe etc.
After some thinking it dawned on me that it was because I had taught the letter sounds but these words use letter names.
Listen to my YouTube presentation here for letters in words using letter names.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Visual memorising - My Twitter conversation - Part 4 -

Another lady, Pam Kastner @liv2learn joined in with the following tweet.

Apr 13Replying to @1in5advocacy @luqmanmichel and 12 others 

1. English is an alphabetic orthography. It is not logographic. We cannot visually memorize every word in the English language nor should we "teach" any word in that manner. We must use grapheme-phoneme correspondences to orthographically map words storing them as mental...

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

My Twitter discussion with Sara J Peden, Debbie Hepplewhite and Sue Lloyd - Part 3

The following is my tweet to Debbie Hepplewhite.

Luqman Michel @debbiehepp

I have no problem with what you and @suelloydtcrw are doing.
My contention is that consonants should not be taught with extraneous sounds. Teach correctly and the reading wars will end.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Twitter conversation Part 2 – Sara Peden, Sue Lloyd and Debbie Hepplewhite

I tweeted the following

Luqman Michel @SaraJPeden @debbiehepp @suelloydtcrw

That is why I suggest teaching phonics (priority) as well as Dolch words (as about 70% of words in kids' books consists of Dolch words) and context clues as there are many words that cannot be read without context clues.

Replying to @luqmanmichel

If they can't be read without context, it implied phonics wouldn't work. I'm now thinking that what you meant is that phonics gets you to two choices and you need context to decide which. I just wouldn't describe that as "many" words, the way you did.

Reading is certainly more than decoding. So context is always important in reading comprehension. Can you give me an example of when you would teach students to use 'context clues' to figure out what a word is (as opposed to what it means)?

Instead of just giving her one example out of many I gave her 3 examples.

I wound a string around a tree…
Yesterday, I read a story…
I drove down a windy road…

I did not get a response.
Surely we need context clues in addition to phonics to be able to read the highlighted words correctly. Of course, it is not restricted to heteronyms as above.

Contact clues will also aid us when we know of a word but have never read it before. For instance, a kid who had never seen the word island will not be able to read the word island as in ‘Treasure Island’. He would probably read it as is land. However, if he sees the following sentence ‘We then rowed our boat around the island’ chances are he will be able to read that word correctly using context clues. This is not guessing but using clues in a sentence to work out what a word is and pronounce it correctly.

What does Sara J Peden mean by, ‘I just wouldn't describe that as "many" words, the way you did.’
There are more than 70 heteronyms most of which are common words. If more than 70 is not many than what is? That does not include words with silent letters like the above-mentioned word ‘island’.
Without context clues, most of the words with silent letters will be difficult to sound out correctly e.g. debt, debtor, plumber, salmon, hour, knee, know, etc. Kids don’t have to learn phonics rules to read words with silent letters if they are taught to use context clues to read. 

In fact, only recently did I learn when the letter ‘b’ is silent. It is silent following the letter ‘m' as in the word comb. It is silent if it precedes the letter ‘t’ as in debtor. However, there are exceptions in both cases.

In any event, what is the big fuss about using context clues? Why don’t we teach kids all the ways that can aid them to read? Why be adamant about not teaching kids to memorise Dolch words (frequently used words)? 

Sara J Peden
Replying to @luqmanmichel @debbiehepp and @suelloydtcrw

Sounding Out The Sight Words.  It's misleading to suggest there are a large number of words that can't be decoded/learned via connecting graphemes to phonemes.

Luqman Michel @SaraJPeden @debbiehepp @suelloydtcrw

I did not say anything close to, a large number of words that can't be decoded via connecting graphemes to phonemes. 

Don't put words into my mouth.

Sara J Peden did not respond. I tweeted and said she owes me a response and she said she does not owe me any response and did not answer my question as to when I said that a large number of words can’t be decoded via connecting graphemes to phonemes. 

Most of these whites have the habit of saying whatever they like and when cornered just shut-up or if possible delete the comments.

Of course, I know that almost all the words can be read phonetically. Otherwise, I would not have taught my students' phonics. Why do these phonics proponents talk as if they created phonics and where do they get this notion that they are the only people who know phonics?

      It is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. (Mark Twain)

Sunday, April 19, 2020

My discussion with phonics proponents on Twitter (Part 1)

I have maintained for the past 10 years that we will end the reading wars if we teach the pronunciation of consonants the way it was meant to be taught.

A group of ladies who are phonics proponents insists that teaching consonants with extraneous sounds cannot be the reason why kids shut down from learning to read.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Why many kids shut down from learning to read

Yesterday I realised that two of my YouTube videos produced to explain why many kids disengage from learning to read are not easily accessed by interested parents.

I urge parents with kids who have shown a disinterest in learning to read in English to listen to the videos below. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Defeaning silence of Diane Ravitch

Below is another comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog post. Surely, one would have expected a response from someone who is a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

'Preschool: A Step, Not a Journey' (Robert Slavin)

Here are extracts from  Robert Slavin's Blog post together with my comments.

“A journey of a thousand miles beings with a single step.” (Lao Zi)
For many years, especially since the extraordinary long-term outcomes of the Perry Preschool became known, many educators have seen high-quality preschool as an essential “first step” in a quality education. Truly, a first step in a journey of a thousand miles. Further, due to the Perry Preschool findings, educators, researchers, and policy makers have maintained that quality preschool is not only the first step in a quality education, but it is the most important, capable of making substantial differences in the lives of disadvantaged students.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Teach your child to read - a sample lesson

Do read my post on balanced literacy here.

The post above on balanced literacy is on how I taught all my so-called dyslexic students to learn to read. They were all kids who had shut down from learning to read due to confusion. They were all able to read in Malay which uses the same letters as does English.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

"Did balance literacy fail to teach your child to read"( P.L.Thomas)

Here are more extracts from P.L.Thomas’s article and my comments.

“Here we have a serious problem because at no period in the U.S. has anyone pronounced reading achievement to be satisfactory…
Yet, most of us view education as a 100% attainable venture—all students can and should learn to read by X age. This is a valuable ideal, but it certainly isn’t a reasonable measure for any sort of accountability (see the disaster that was No Child Left Behind).”

Friday, April 10, 2020

"I am capable of navigating research". (Professor P.L. Thomas)

P. L. Thomas is a Professor at Furman University.

He said on his Twitter message on 7.4.2020 - ‘I have a doctorate and I know that I do *not* know everything even though I am capable of navigating research.’

Thursday, April 9, 2020

To teach or not to teach the correct pronunciation of phonemes

Since 2010, I have been harping on the correct pronunciation of sounds represented by letters. 

A majority of us learn to read despite the pronunciation of sounds represented by letters being taught wrongly. However, about 20% of kids – the smart kids who like to learn things logically – shut down from learning when the pronunciation is taught wrongly. These are the smart kids who are then wrongly classified as dyslexic.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Plug holes in my hypothesis - a comment by a friend

Here is a message on messenger from a good friend which I think is better answered on my blog so that others may benefit from it.

Idiotic statement by Dr. Robert Slavin

Here is one statement on Robert Slavin’s blog post that I would like to discuss.

“…However, I do not think there are many students who could succeed with non-phonetic approaches…”

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

"Students who need phonics and students who do not" -Robert Slavins blog Part 3

This is a continuation of the email that I had sent to Robert Slavin.

Extract from Robert’s blog post:

“Since it is impossible to know in advance which students will need phonics and which will not, it just makes sense to teach using methods likely to maximize the chances that all children (those who need phonics and those who would succeed with or without them) will succeed in reading.”

Monday, April 6, 2020

Preposterous idea - Dr.Robert Slavin blog post Part 2

Here is an email I wrote to Dr. Robert Slavin on 28.3.2020 when there was no response to my comment on his blog post - ‘Science of Reading: Can We Get Beyond Our 30-Year Pillar Fight?’

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Shameful practices of many ‘Educated’ Americans

One of the most shameful practices of American Educators is the fact that they bury their heads into the ground when they are cornered by questions they cannot respond to.

Reid Lyon and David Boulton of the Children of the Code fame are just two of the many.
Timothy Shanahan ignores comments which he cannot respond too.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Reading Wars - Robert Slavin's blog post Part 1

                                                                  Robert Slavin (Ph.D.)
                                                                Educational Researcher

Let us take a short break from Diane Ravitch and get back to her later.

Here is a blog post by Robert Slavin written on 26.3.2020, on which I commented. The author has touched on the heart of the ‘Reading Wars’.

The following are a few extracts from the blog above.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Turning a blind eye or remaining oblivious

Here is a post on LinkedIn by a LinkedIn Connection, Nitu Bhojwani on 3.4.2020 which I am copying verbatim.

Diane Ravitch - Philosopher of Education?

                                                            Philosopher of Education

On the internet, it says Diane Ravitch's blog is 'A site to discuss better education for all.'
I read the following on Diane Ravitch's Blog .
Thursday, March 19, 2020
Joint Statement Regarding
“Science of Reading”

It’s time for the media and political distortions to end, and for the literacy community and policymakers to fully support the literacy needs of all children.
Unfortunately, this media coverage has distorted the research evidence on the teaching of reading, with the result that policymakers are now promoting and implementing policy based on misinformation.
This key idea of a “balanced literacy” approach stresses the importance of phonics, authentic reading, and teachers who can teach reading using a full toolbox of instructional approaches and understandings.
At the very least, federal and state legislation should not continue to do the same things over and over while expecting different outcomes.
I made the following comment and I expected Diane Ravitch to agree or dispute what I said.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

A comment on Diane Ravitch's Blog Post

Here is a response from a teacher who responded to my comment on Diane Ravitch’s blog post.
bethree5 on NEPC: There Is No “Science of Reading”.

My comment truncated:

“The researchers who only speak one language – English – have yet to do research on why many smart kids can read in Malay and Romanised Mandarin, both of which use the same letters as English but are unable to read in English. I have done that research for 15 years with more than 70 […]”

8 - Innate learning difficulties or learned difficulties

                                                                    David Boulton

David Boulton on an article in the Children of the Code said:

10 times the number of kids who have innately biologically ordered learning difficulties have learning difficulties that are a consequence of what they learned…... Until such time we can read that they are cognitively going askew relative to what they have learnt in the past then our teaching is kind of brute force against this deep core stuff that is working against us.

How much of what they are struggling with is an innate learning problem and how much of what they are struggling with is what they have learned in the past working against them learning now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Balanced Literacy?

Unable to find suitable books to teach my so-called dyslexic students, I decided to print my own material for teaching kids using phonics created with family words picked up from the internet.
Then I incorporated sight words for them to memorise so that reading will be fluent.