Sunday, May 21, 2023

“one-size-fits-all” approach is not effective. (Dr. Sam Bommarito)


What reading research (the science of reading) has shown is that there are no differences in outcomes among the various approaches to teaching phonics and that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not effective. (Dr. Sam Bommarito)

I have written several posts on the importance of teaching the correct sounds represented by letters.

Many of the teachers/ educators say that it is impossible to teach the sounds of consonants without extraneous sounds. They refuse to correct themselves when videos pronouncing the sounds correctly is produced. 

One guy says 'one size does not fit all' and everyone who reads that statement repeat it without the slightest bit of thought. They use this as an excuse for the reading levels maintained for the past more than 30 years.

Now, listen to the video clip here which teaches the correct pronunciation. There will be no kid left behind if teachers teach the pronunciation of sounds represented by letters in this manner.

Listen to the video clip produced by the UK and see how sounds represented by consonants are pronounced wrongly. This episode is being watched by toddles in more than 100 countries in the world. Imagine the amount of harm this will create in time to come.

Read my post on the importance of initial/ early input here.


Listen to a kid in Lagos pronouncing the sounds of the letters. If he can pronounce it correctly who/ what are the educators on Twitter to say that letters cannot be pronounced without extraneous sounds.

Of course, Dr. Sam is correct in saying that there are no differences in outcomes among the various approaches to teaching phonics. This is simply because these educators are only looking at the kids who learn to read despite the ways they are taught. What they should do is to talk to the kids who were unable to read and subsequently able to read when taught the correct pronunciation of sounds represented by letters. I did this with many of the kids I taught since 2004. My book ‘Shut down kids’ is based on what I learnt from my students.

As mentioned by me several times, many kids shut down / disengage from learning to read when they are confused and are then wrongly classified as dyslexic.I have discovered 3 reasons why kids shut down/ disengage from learning to read.

Here is a relevant statement by Nancy Hennessy, the director of IDA from 2003 to 2005.

 “……even if we settle on a middle number, let us say 10%; that still leaves a lot of children who are not dyslexic, whose brains are not wired any different way, who have reading difficulty.

We are not supporting the learning of our teachers in order for them to do what we are talking about

We still don’t have the capacity nor the will to change what it is that we are doing with reading early on and so consequently unless we make those significant changes we are not only going to lose the dyslexics but I am also concerned about these other children; these other struggling readers.”

Here are a few excerpts from a book written by a dyslexic, Mike Thomas entitled ‘The successful dyslexic’ which supports what I have been writing since 2010.

If possible, we need to go back to this “Critical Period” in order to address all of the factors that lead up to the initial “failure”. Looking at the lessons being taught at the time the child experienced this first critical failure will help us understand and determine the specific kinds of dyslexic problems the child was facing at the time. It may have been the first presentation of the ABC’s. It may have happened much later, perhaps when the child is called on to read “See spot run” and is unable to sound the words out.

Once this critical failure occurs, a pattern of failure after failure is put in motion. All too often, this pattern of failure when trying to get the meaning of a lesson, leads to failure on the tests. The next thing that happens with this constant pattern of failure is that it leads to an unconscious withdrawal from the learning process.

Sometimes the student may simply shutdown, feeling it is safer not to even try in class. Some may cover up their fear that they may be discovered (“They are going to find out how dumb I am”), by being the showoff, becoming the “class clown”.


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