Thursday, June 16, 2022

My 10th day with Jack


Yesterday, 15.6.2022 was Jack's 10th Day with me. The ninth day was on 24th May 2022. 

My only request from Jack's mother when she visited me on the first day was for her to make sure that she spends at least 15 minutes per day teaching him the 8 Dolch words to be memorised. I stressed that I will stop teaching Jack if she does not do this.

Yesterday, I asked her to sit in with Jack while I taught him. He could spell all Dolch words to lesson 12 but not a single word from lesson 13. In addition he did not bring his exercise book in which I add the new 8 Dolch words.

Below is an email I wrote this morning to the principal of the tuition centre who had sent Jack to me.


Good morning,

This is to keep you informed.


Yesterday, Jack’s mother came and I requested her to sit with Jack to see what he has learnt to date and how she can help him to read at home.

Jack came without the only exercise book that he was told to bring each time he came. I wrote 8 Dolch words in it on 24.5.22 for him to memorise at home.

He completed his 9th visit on 24.5.22 when I gave him the sight words from lesson 13.

Yesterday was his 10th day with me. He could not spell even one Dolch word from lesson 13.

I asked Jack in the presence of his mother what he does when he returns home and he said he takes his bath and then plays on his tablet until dinner is ready. After dinner, he watches TV until it is sleeping time.

If his mother cannot see that he has progressed so much in just 1 month and I have another 3 months with him, I do not want to waste my time with Jack.

Of course, his habit of guessing will go on for a while more but...


Luqman Michel

 Note: I added the last sentence as, at a zoom meeting with the principal and 3 of her teachers on 13.6.2022, the teacher teaching Jack had told me that Jack still guesses.

Of course, he has formed this habit over 3 years to avoid shame of not being able to read like his classmates. This habit will take a bit of time to get rid of.

What is important is that Jack is able to read and spell words that he could not when he came for tuition with me.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Cluella Study tweeted by Marlene Greenwood and my comments


On 29.5.2022 Marlene Greenwood @MarleneGreen193 Tweeted the following”

Have you seen this Cluella Study @luqmanmichel about children blending sounds in onset and rime, body and coda, or phonemes?

I read the article linked and then send Marlene a message as follows:

I have read your Cluella study several times. What are the salient points you want to discuss, please?

I have yet to receive a response. Here are the main conclusions of the article.

As a caution, however, it should be noted that with or without added schwa, success in blending fully segmented words was relatively uncommon; only 43% of our participants were correct on any fully segmented items, which is to say that 57% scored zero.

Another limitation for our study is that our kindergarten sample was not proficient in oral blending under any condition.

My response to comments by Dr. Sam Bommarito


Dr. Sam Bommarito @DoctorSam7 Replying to @luqmanmichel

No one knows everything, but all of us know some things and if we all are willing to talk instead of bickering then we all can learn a lot.

My comment now:

Everyone on earth knows something I don’t and I have always listened to those who have spoken to me. I read articles and links in articles, blog posts and on Twitter before making a decision. If everyone reads before opening their big mouth, we will all learn together. The problem is that many on Twitter are mind readers and they think for others.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

No answers from Science of Reading Folks


Here is a tweet by Jeffrey Bowers in response to Back Seat Linguist's Tweet followed by my thoughts on it.

@jeffrey_bowers May 25

Interesting thread.  Again, when proponents of the science of reading are asked to cite specific studies that support specific claims, no answers.  Can anyone provide a reference to support highlighted claim?

Quote Tweet

BackSeat Linguist @BackSeatLing · May 23

Any help with these "missing links" - citations to these MRI studies - @markseidenberg @DTWillingham @ehanford or other SOR fans?


Obviously we'd need something beyond presenting isolated letters or words to readers.…

My comment now:

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Civil Engineer Chan Tze Hou

This is a proud moment for the parents of one of my former students as well.

Chan Tze Hou came for tuition with his sister for a very short time of less than 2 months when he was in primary 2.

His mother was at wit’s end as to why he was not able to read at grade level. He was good in other subjects. Within a short spell I knew what his problem was and guided him and then went over to his house and explained to his mother.

His mother was a housewife and had been teaching her two children.

Once his mother understood his problem she was able to guide him.

Chan Tze Hou’s degree from University Technologi Malaysia is in Civil Engineering. 

For some of these instructional casualties it takes just a little to get them back on the right track. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Has Lucy Calkins hoodwinked anyone?


I tweeted the following and received a tweet in response from Karen Vaites.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel May 23

'She is only now embracing reading research that is >20 years old.'

Some say 50 years.

Where were the teachers and educators during these past 20 to 50 years?

Karen Vaites @karenvaites Replying to @luqmanmichel and @DanaGoldstein

It’s a fair question, but when a woman at @Columbia @TeachersCollege tells you her program is evidence-based, I can understand people getting hoodwinked.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Swarm behaviour by Twitters


This morning, 23.5.2022, I read many tweets referring to a post in New York Times.

There was only one educator, Jerusha Beckerman, who spoke her mind instead of following the crowd.

Here are a few of the many tweets and my comments.

Jodi Snowdon @joleigh_snow

Simple fact- if you don’t know the code, you can’t learn to read. You can guess but it won’t take you far enough to reach your potential.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The important first step


I read the following tweets this morning which prompted me to write this post.

Regie Routman @regieroutman Mar 3

Explicit, systematic teaching of letters & sounds—decoding-- is necessary but insufficient for becoming a reader, one who chooses to read (mostly) books & who comprehends, self-monitors & finds joy in becoming a discerning reader. We have known this for decades.

suzy yates @bubbletroublex7 Replying to @regieroutman

I have been reading your books since I discovered Transitions in the 90s. My district is now following the science of reading. I don’t see kids reading books.
Heartbreaking. Decoding only is, imo, not going to develop lifelong readers. Have you written any articles about this?

A retweet of the above with the following by: Regie Routman @regieroutman on 22.5.2022 (Malaysian time)

SoR is needlessly a fraught topic. Teaching kids to read is not either-or. Becoming a reader requires decoding AND fluency AND attention to comprehension AND lots of reading of self-chosen books.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Recordings of Jack’s reading to 8.5.2022


The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. (Einstein)


My 1st lesson with Jack was on the 27.4.2022.

I recorded Jack’s pronunciation of the sounds represented by consonants and posted it in my blog.

I said that Jack is unable to read even a single sentence because he was confused as he was taught the sounds represented by consonants wrongly. This is true of all my dyslexic students I taught since 2004.

Friday, May 20, 2022

My 7th day with Jack and an explanation of my lesson plan.


18.5.2022 was my 7th day with Jack.

We covered word family ‘ot’ and ‘oo’.

I explained that this was the short ‘oo’ as in book, look, cook.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Memorising Dolch words also known as HFW


A former teacher from the UK, Pat Stone, posted the above image on Twitter. I then tweeted the following:

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

One of the widely held beliefs is that HFW (Dolch words) cannot be memorised by kids, dyslexic or otherwise. Kids in Chinese schools have to memorise 600 words per year for 6 years while learning to read in Malay and English and Han Yu Pinyin. What's your view?

Monday, May 16, 2022

My 6th day with Jack and initial input

Yesterday, 16.5.2022 was my 6th lesson with Jack.

I taught him the word families ‘un’ and ‘ut’.

The Dolch (HFW) words I taught him are:

                           who, your, play, today, say, may, did, went

When I asked him to spell the words taught to lesson 5, he had a problem with spelling the word ‘want’. Earlier he had a problem with the word ‘all’. This is something new I have encountered.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

My 5th day with Jack and emails from his parents

My firth day, dated 11.5.22, with Jack was teaching Jack word family ‘ig’ and ‘ug’.

Once he heard me pronounce the word family ‘ug’ he read the words bug, dug, hug, jug, mug, rug, tug with no prompting by me.

He could read the words above because he now knew the correct pronunciation of the consonants and his confusion has been cleared.

Jack is not the first student who can read all the words from chapter 8. Almost all my former students were able to do it. 

What is important is for you to ask how these students who could hardly read any word, when they came to me, are able to read them after a few lessons.

Do read my Twitter discussion with the mother, Alanna Maurin, who had used my lesson to teach her son to read. Link.