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).”

Yes, if not 100% it should be close to 100% attainable. This can be achieved if the foundation of teaching is laid correctly – teach the pronunciation of phonemes correctly and there will be no kid left behind. For goodness’ sake think as to how kids who were unable to read were brought to grade level and maintained at grade level after a short period of intervention. How did intervention help? Why did the kids need intervention in the first place?

Timothy Shanahan had said in an interview on Children of the Code the following.

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  It’s a little complicated, but essentially I look at it and say in terms of what schools have done, we’re probably pretty equivalent to where we were thirty years ago. Things haven’t gotten any better. Likewise, I could say they haven’t gotten any worse. We’re probably doing about as good a job as we’ve ever done in dealing with the teaching of literacy. That’s probably both a victory and a defeat because on the one hand we’re managing to teach literacy as well as ever but we're doing it under more difficult circumstances. For example, we have a lot more people in this society who have to learn to speak English while they’re learning to read and the fact is we’re doing that and still maintaining the literacy levels.

How can we accept the above coming from an educator? "We are managing to teach literacy as well as ever?"

“We are left then with an enduring question that I think is valid and worth considering: Why do some students not become eager and critical readers at the same rate as most of their biological peers?”

My comment: I have the answer to that question in my blog. There are approximately 20% of kids who shut down/disengage from learning to read when they are confused. They get confused when they cannot connect the phonemes to the words taught. These are the kids who ask questions such as how does duh aah guh (as sounded out by Sally Shaywitz) represent the word dog. I have numerous videos on this in my blog posts. When these kids cannot reconcile the sounds to the words they give up learning and are then conveniently dumped aside as dyslexic.

A majority of the others struggle and after sometime figure out how to read, by analysis. I have also provided videos of university students pronouncing phonemes wrongly but are able to read nonsense words given to them.

P.L.Thomas should do research on this. I am more than willing to guide him on how to carry out the research.

 “Data for many decades have shown that all sorts of achievement gaps, reading included, are strongly correlated with the socioeconomic status of any student’s parents, home, and community as well as the educational attainment of the parents (notably the mother).”

My comment: This is just an excuse for the achievement gaps. I’ll bet that if the pronunciation of phonemes is taught correctly right from kindergarten then all children will learn to read.

Again, P.L. Thomas should look at the results in grade two of all students in a class and see how many rich kids as compared to poor kids are unable to read at grade level.

Then he should look at the same kids in grade 5 or 6 and see the kids who are able to read. I believe that the rich kids who could not read in grade 2 will now be able to read. What is the reason for this improvement among the rich kids as compared with the poor? The answer is obvious. The rich kids would have been sent for tuition which the poor kids cannot afford. As such, it is erroneous to look at the results in later years and give the excuse that it is poverty that is the cause of reading problems.

“So this all leads to the blog post’s title: Did balance literacy fail to teach your child to read?
I suspect if you have made it this far and if you have fully interrogated the information I have provided, you can expect that the answer is very unlikely.”

My comment: Nothing has worked in the last 3 decades, not whole word, not Systematic Phonics and not balanced literacy. This is because most of the educators are influenced by money. The phonics proponents insist that sight words should not be taught as they are only interested in promoting their products.

I have now prepared a video on my first lesson using phonics and sight words that I have used to teach all my so-called dyslexic students. They were all able to read by the time they finished the 30 lessons prepared by me. This video is produced to prove the point that teaching phonics with a few sight words can easily get children to read and build their self-esteem. I will post it tomorrow.
Educators will argue that there are other matters of importance but I say those things like comprehension, vocabulary and fluency come after they have been taught to decode.

“Are too many students not acquiring reading at rates we would prefer in the U.S.? Absolutely.
It is compelling to identify one thing to blame and to embrace a structured single solution, but that is a historically failed strategy.”

My comment: Students not acquiring reading at rates we would prefer is a truism. Everyone knows that. The question is how we are going to improve reading. I have given the one single most important ingredient but the educators are simply stubborn to discuss this. Phonics proponents like Sue Lloyd say that it cannot be the wrong pronunciation of phonemes that is the problem. Yet, she does not come up with an alternative suggestion. Similarly, another phonics proponent, Stephen Parker, removed me as his connection on Twitter when I gave my point of view.

“The paradox about blaming balanced literacy is that as a guiding reading philosophy and theory, balanced literacy supports that every student should receive whatever reading instruction the student needs (systematic intensive phonics, reading authentic texts, read aloud, special needs intervention, etc.); therefore, if a student isn’t receiving what they need, then the fault doesn’t lie with balanced literacy — just as Kilpatrick’s project method was being misused in the 1930s.”

My comment: This is the problem with the educators; they go about rehashing the same thing for decades and then say reading levels have not improved. Einstein has defined this as insanity.

“This may seem like a trivial distinction, but I think it is important because the current “science of reading” movement is laser-focused on blaming balanced literacy and offering a silver-bullet solution, systematic intensive phonics for all students.
This bodes poorly for students because with a false diagnosis, you are likely endorsing a flawed cure.”

Yes, the diagnosis is flawed. Stop the dyslexic advocates from classifying any and all kids who cannot read as dyslexic. I have given many pieces of corroborative evidence on my blog on this. Interview kids and find out the true cause of why many smart kids are unable to read in English but are able to read in Malay and in Romanised Mandarin.

Educators should stop writing for the sake of writing and start thinking.

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