Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Broken record


On 7.3.2022, The Reading Ape @TheReadingApe tweeted the following:

'...many first grade readers who struggle to master orthographic-phonological coding and read laboriously while they are doing so, may be more on track for becoming independent readers than readers who memorize words and disregard the alphabetic principle.' (Rayner et al., 2012).

I then tweeted as follows:

If kids learn the alphabetic principle should they not memorise words?

What is wrong in memorising words and at the same time learning the alphabetic principle?


My comment now:

Where do these guys come up with such ridiculous statements as those who memorise words will disregard alphabetic principle?

It is these kinds of stupid statements that make many parents avoid programmes teaching kids to memorise a few Dolch words.

A parent with 3 dyslexic sons in Minnesota who was keen on my free lessons shunned away from it because of having to teach her children to memorise Dolch words.

I think it is irresponsible for anyone to tweet something that was said 10 years ago without thinking if it is true and how it will affect readers.

This morning, there were a few tweets in response to my tweet above by one marion s @mazst who is an SoR proponent.

marion s @mazst Replying to @luqmanmichel @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

Why would they need to memorise words as wholes if they can decode the words they will become automatic.

Luqman Michel

This implies that memorising words does not make it become automatic. I teach my students phonics as well as memorising a few Dolch words, which is done easily by any student, they are able to read sentences in the first hour of teaching.

marion s @mazst Replying to @luqmanmichel @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

No it doesn’t …

Luqman Michel Replying to @mazst @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

Who says so? One does not have to sound out words to be able to orthographically map words.

NO RESPONSE.                                                                                                  

marion s @mazst Replying to @luqmanmichel @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

Why do you think it’s necessary

Luqman Michel Replying to @mazst @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

Good Question! It is not a must but learning just a few Dolch words and teaching the sounds represented by letters gets my dyslexic students to read about 10 sentences in their first 1-hour lesson.

Please tell me why I should not teach them to memorise the Dolch words.

Instead of answering my question Marion tweeted a clip that I had seen many number of times. The following is what the clip says:

If a child memorises 10 words, they can only read 10 words, but if a child learns the sounds of 10 letters, they will be able to read 350 three-sound words, 4320 four-sound words, and 21,650 five-sound words.

Luqman Michel Replying to @mazst @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

I have read the above several times.

You are still evading my question as to why I should not teach memorisation of whole words.

I like drinking coffee and tea. I prefer coffee to tea.

You appear to be telling me to choose one over the other. Why?

My comment now:

The above reminds me of what Dr. Sam Bommarito says of some of the SoR proponents; ‘It is my way or the highway’.


Luqman Michel

I always teach my students the names and sounds of all letters before I teach them to read.

i. Teach names of letters

ii. Teach sounds of letters.

iii. Family words

iv. A few Dolch words

And they begin to read sentences.

marion s @mazst Replying to @luqmanmichel @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

Spend the time more productively. Time spent teaching 10 words could be better used to teach the sounds and skills needed to decode and encode.

Luqman Michel

I teach them the sounds of each letter in the first hour.

We don't need months for that.

If you read the preface and notes to my lessons and then look at my first lesson you will understand why many parents in many parts of the world successfully use my lessons.

marion s @mazst

So after the first hour they should be able to decode words without needing to memorise them as wholes … look at all the time you’ve saved!

Luqman Michel

Perhaps, you misunderstood. I teach them to memorise 5 Dolch words in my first lesson. Another 5 words in my second to 4th lessons and then 8 words during each of the subsequent 26 lessons. By the end of 30 lessons they would have memorised the 220 Dolch words and able to read.

marion s @mazst

Spend the time teaching them to decode and they will be able to read any word they meet. A much more effective use of time.

But still waste time unnecessarily teaching Dolch words.

Luqman Michel

Teachers on Twitter have said

i. Teaching memorising of Dolch words creates dyslexia. LINK

ii. Memorising causes kids to guess words. LINK

iii. You say it is unnecessary to teach Dolch words without actually looking at my first lesson.

Why you say it is wasting time is beyond me. Dolch words comprise about 50 to 70 percent of words in a child's storybook.

This reminds me of Charlie Munger who said that the human mind is like the human egg. LINK

(Links were not in the tweets)

marion s Replying to @luqmanmichel @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

If you’ve taught them to decode then they can read the Dolch word without needing to memorise them.

Luqman Michel Replying to @mazst @TheReadingApe and @GeoffEdinspire

That is exactly what I am suggesting. I teach them to decode. By the end of 3 months of 3 one hour lessons per week they are able to read (decode).

Comprehension, vocabulary and fluency will then follow.

All my former students are doing well in universities.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

Why you say it is wasting time is beyond me. Dolch words comprise about 50 to 70 percent of words in a child's storybook.

marion s

If you’ve taught them to decode then they can read the Dolch word without needing to memorise them.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

Marion, we are going around in circles. Many people argue for argument's sake. If you don't look at the lessons and argue there is not much we can achieve. I know that most Dolch words can be sounded out but when do we teach kids to sound out the word with?

I teach it as a Dolch word to memorise and use it from my second lesson. The child can then read many more sentences.

Please answer - when do we teach a kid to decode the word with?

marion s @mazst

The word ‘with’?


Luqman Michel

Yes, the word 'with'. When do you teach your students to read this word?

My students learn to read this word in their second lesson and read many sentences containing that word.

My comment now:

It appears that Marion has not looked at my lessons. This reminds me of another woman from the UK who kept arguing without reading links I had supplied. 

To be continued…

Note: For the new generation - To sound like a broken record means to repeat something over and over in an annoying fashion. The phrase comes from certain characteristics of a vinyl record, also known as a phonograph record. If there is a slight scratch on the record it will keep playing at the same spot until someone lifts the needle and places it further up.



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