Saturday, June 4, 2022

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.


Dr. Sam Bommarito @DoctorSam7 May 17 Replying to @luqmanmichel @WSroufe and 13 others

At the end of the day students must learn to decode, not just memorize. The sooner they are able to decode the better. Teaching them all the Dolch words by memorizing wastes opportunities to teach them to decode.

My comment now:

Dr.Sam has been teaching for donkey years and obviously knows much more than me in teaching kids. I am not a trained teacher and have only taught dyslexic kids on a one on one basis. That simply means I have only taught kids who have not been able to be taught by teachers in schools be it government or private schools. Most of these students had completed grade one and some of them who came to me were in grades 3 to grade 5.

My current student whom I took in to record his progress after each lesson is in grade 3 and was unable to read even a single sentence.

As I have explained several times in my blog posts, these kids were all able to speak well in English and had no problem with comprehension when I read the stories to them. I have more than a 1000 stories from which I pick and choose when they are able to decode. The main problem with all my students have been decoding and not comprehension.

I use the same simple books that I published myself for all students regardless of whether they are in primary 1 or in primary 5.

As such, I teach them to decode – nothing but decoding until they are able to decode. I use simple story lines that any kid is able to comprehend.

Dr. Sam insists that I am wasting precious time in teaching kids to memorise Dolch words. There is no basis for such a statement as I spend hardly a few minutes. I ask kids to spell the Dolch words and list down those that they cannot spell. The only word my current student could spell is the word ‘on’. So, I give him 8 Dolch words per lesson and he will be able to spell them all by the time we finish the 30 lessons in my books.

My only condition with parents is for them to make sure that their kids learn the Dolch words before they come for their next lesson. I insist that they do not teach their kids to learn to read. They may read story books to them but I ask them to leave teaching to read to me as I have my own way.

When a kid is not able to read a single sentence, what is the harm in him/her learning to memorise the Dolch words? If my current student is not memorizing his 8 Dolch words I give him during each lesson he will be playing with his ‘Tablet’ or playing video games.

By me asking the grade 4 kid in Kenya to memorise her Dolch words she began to score in her writing as there were fewer mistakes and therefore she began to get passing marks which in turn boosted her self-esteem. LINK. Part 2 LINK.

Anyway, I don’t see the big fuss made by the western world in insisting that Dolch words should not be memorised. Any kid will be able to memorise the word ‘no’ by repeating the spelling of the word 5 times, using letter names. Otherwise, when will he be able to read this simple word ’no’ using phonics.

I’ll bet with Dr. Sam that many of the kids around the world will be able to read most of the Dolch words in a book but will be unable to spell them like my students can.

We all have our own ways of teaching. Any parent is welcome to teach their kids using my books. However, any idiot will know that my way cannot be the only way, but for now I am happy with MY WAY to teach MY STUDENTS.

To quote Dr. Sam – ‘To each his own’.

In fact, my primary school motto was: To each his own, from each his power.

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