Sunday, June 18, 2023

Different perspectives – Part 3 – Memorising Dolch (High frequency) words.


I teach all my students to memorise the 220 Dolch words. I don’t use flash cards. Who introduced flash cards and why would one foolishly use it is beyond me. English is not pictorial or ideograph like the Chinese script. Even the Chinese script is not memorised by looking at it but by students writing a character a minimum of a hundred times.

I ask my students to list down the Dolch words, introduced in each lesson, in an exercise book and spell out each word five times before going down the list to the next word. Within a short period of time they are able to spell the words. If a kid who is going to vernacular school can learn to memorise 600 Chinese characters in a year what is the problem in memorising 220 HFW? 

A child in grade 1 in a Chinese school has to learn 600 Chinese characters in addition to learning the English alphabet and the different sounds in Malay and Hanyu Pinyin. AND we have the Americans and the British complaining about kids memorising 220 simple HFW. They give all kinds of stupid excuses to explain why China, Singapore, Macau and Hong Kong beat all the English speaking countries in the PISA test. Read my post here on the PISA debate between Monique @GovTutor and me.

Why is memorising these words important? By memorising these words about 50 to 70 % of words in a child’s story book is able to be read without having to sound it out. The balance 30 to 50% can be learnt via phonics i.e. sounding it out. When a child is in grade 4 and above and needs to write essays, she will be able to write the correct spellings of at least 50% of the words. I helped a girl in Kenya to score passing marks which resulted in her self-confidence sky rocketing. Read my posts of my Kenyan Student Here and Here.

The educators on Twitter who ask me why they should teach memorising HFW when many of the words can be learnt phonetically must have their brains somewhere other than in their heads. I teach my students to memorise the word ‘with’ in the second lesson. With that word they are able to read many sentences incorporating that word in their second lesson with me. Here is a LINK to my second lesson.

There are many proven methods and mine is just one of many. Every educator may teach in a method that he thinks is suitable but why criticise my method where I teach kids to memorise Dolch words and teach them phonics and get them to read sentences right from day one?

Here is a post where I explain what my lessons are all about. 

I teach phonics using word families, Dolch words memorisation, context clues once they can decode, patterns and analogies. I encourage my students to use all these ‘TOOLS’ to decode.

Read my post here on the advantages of rote memorisation. 

Who is/are the puppeteer/s pulling the strings of so-called educators who discourage memorising HFW? What prevents the puppets from admitting their folly when I point it out to them?

Read my post on many so-called educators who discourage memorisation of Dolch words. 

I refuse to believe that people like Emina McLean and Mme Lockhart are that stupid to say such an idiotic thing as ‘if the child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 three sound words, 4,320 four sound words and 21,650 five sound words’.

Here is my post on Emina McLean and her 26,000 words.


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