Sunday, July 30, 2023

Simple view of reading


Here is a tweet by Dr. Sam Bommarito that I disagree with. I have said this several times and I say it again, I have the highest respect for Dr. Sam and his blog posts but I believe he sometimes gets carried away and says things he ought not to. Here is one such tweet this morning, 30.7.2023.

Dr. Sam Bommarito @DoctorSam7

There is more to reading than just decoding (reading with your eyes). Students need to learn to read with their eyes, ears, mind and heart. That results in READING with comprehension and fluency.  Phonics first can result in creating word callers instead of readers.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Letter names vs letter sounds - another debate


Today, 29.7.23, again there were a few tweets debating whether to teach letter names or not.

WARNING: These are debates by adults, just in case you think they are by kids. 

EBLI tweeted followed by the tweets below which are self explanatory.

High Five Literacy@FaithBorkowsky

This is why delaying letter names makes sense.

Heidi Jane @DroppinKnwldge

Actually research shows letter names are important and can actually facilitate letter sound learning. Many letters like the one shown, have the sound in the letter name.

High Five Literacy @FaithBorkowsky


And many don’t. From my experience, having worked with hundreds of kids over the last 37 yrs, struggling readers mix up letter names and sounds and continue to do so for a while. For typical readers, it doesn’t matter.


From the above tweet it is obvious that Faith is arguing for argument sake. This is the problem with educators on Twitter. They will never back away and admit that they had not seen it from the other party’s viewpoint. The tweets continue:

Friday, July 28, 2023

Disinformation by SoR advocates


I saw the following image on LinkedIn and commented on it. I then happened to see that that image was liked by 83 members and was re-posted by 42 of them. I then decided to post this on my blog hoping to get some comments from those who re-posted. Will any of the 42 educators have anything to say? It will be an interesting discussion.


The following are my comments on the LinkedIn post. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Memorising Dolch words (High-Frequency words) - Research Evidence


I have written several blog posts on memorising High-Frequency Words by rote memory. Educators have consistently said that there is no need to teach these words by memorising because they had learnt about visual memory without understanding what is rote memory. An article published in Neuroscience News  mentions students memorising Kanji by rote memory. This is exactly what I said about kids in Malaysia having to learn to read Chinese characters by repeated writing.

We don’t have to rote memorise the Dolch words by writing them a hundred times, though that will be a good idea, but just spell out the word using letter names a few times and recite the word at the end.

Reading to your children


There have been debates on Twitter about reading to children. There are those who say that reading to children helps them to learn to read whilst another group says it does not.

Let us examine this. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Sounds represented by letters – A revisit


Many of the educators on Twitter imagine things instead of trying to understand things as they are.

I have written many blogs stating that one of the main reasons why kids disengage/shut down from learning to read is confusion as a result of teachers teaching the wrong sounds of letters. This is supported in both of Dr. David Kilpatrick’s books. Refer to page 107 of Equipped for Reading Success - How to teach the letter sounds. Also refer to page 171 of Essentials of Assessing, Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties - Keys to blending: T does not say /Tuh/.

This was also discovered more than 15 years ago by Children of the Code in which Timothy Shanahan was also interviewed.

The following is an extract from one of the interviews in Children of the Code:

And the mistakes that the kids made guided us to see that we had something missing. For instance, at first, we had them sound out words traditionally. We never permitted "ch-aa-tah” for chat. Unvoiced sounds were unvoiced -- "ch-a-t." Well, they showed us through their responses that, that stop sound beginning was really hard for them. So now we had precise corrections that related to what they had learned earlier. We had a procedure for sounding it out that would reach virtually 100 percent of the kids. So we could teach even really low performers now to take the first step on the ladder. Then they can follow the entire sequence and they can learn at a rate far faster than would have been anticipated. (Siegfried Engelmann)

Monday, July 24, 2023

Malaysian politicians and our sorry state of education


Our education ministers and politicians rush to do repair works of dilapidated school buildings. But they don't have time to respond to emails suggesting how to reduce illiteracy.

Over the years I have written several emails to a number of our education and deputy education  ministers who do not even respond to emails. I visited Jennifer Lasimbang and gifted her my book Shut Down Kids. LINK.  I have written to Teo Nie Ching, Maszlee Malik LINK and lately to Fadlina Sidek to no avail. LINK

I recently wrote to Datuk Andi Suryady who also does not reply to emails sent.

I wrote an email to the MP Datuk Andi Suryady on 10.7.2023. This was followed by another email on 15.7.2023 to another email address of his. Not receiving a reply, I wrote a message on Facebook Messenger on 16.7.2023. On Monday 18.7.2023 he replied and asked me to send the email via the Facebook messenger which I did. There has been no acknowledgment from him to this day.

Is there any politician who really cares about improving education?

Research suppressed

This is a continuation of my post yesterday on my comments on Dr. Sam Bommarito’s post which said:

I think a more useful use of our time would be to explore ideas from all sides and to find practical research-based ideas that all teachers can use regardless of whose “side” it comes from.

Research if not suppressed is not publicised. The powers that be ensure that the research material is not disseminated to schools and to the public/ parents.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

'Explore ideas from all sides' - Dr. Sam Bommarito


Below is an extract from Dr. Sam Bommarito’s blog followed by my comments.

I think a more useful use of our time would be to explore ideas from all sides and to find practical research-based ideas that all teachers can use regardless of whose “side” it comes from.

Yes, if we take ideas from all sides and use them we can achieve George Bush's ‘No child left behind’ policy of 2001. 

But, what I disagree with is Dr.Sam’s suggestion to find practical research-based ideas. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Faulty instruction is the cause of kids being unable to read


Here is a comment from Educhatter which I would like you to ponder.

Siegfried Engelmann of blessed memory offered $100,000 to anyone who could send him a child whom he couldn’t teach to read. Engelmann’s money was never collected.

Faulty reading instruction has made tens of millions of innocent children suffer terribly. And it continues to do so.

Why does society not protect these vulnerable children from the misery inflicted by most public schools?

Friday, July 21, 2023

Brain’s Innate Capacity for Reading

This is a continuation of my post yesterday found here.

Renee Harding asked the following question:

If the majority of kids were somehow figuring out how to read (i.e., stumbling upon, “discovering,” or activating that “innate” ability [that doesn’t exist]), then why are so few students reading proficiently?!

I have said in several of my blog that reading is an innate ability contrary to what the general opinion is. I based this on observation of my students whom I started teaching in 2004 to learn why kids were able to read in Malay but not in English.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

A Twitter discussion with Renee Harding -19.7.23


Here is a Twitter discussion with Renee Harding on kids figuring out how to read.

Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

No! There is absolutely no need to teach all the phonemes. I have said several times that even when phonemes are taught wrongly a majority of kids somehow figure out how to read.

Renee Harding @rhardin29556971

If the majority of kids were somehow figuring out how to read (i.e., stumbling upon, “discovering,” or activating that “innate” ability [that doesn’t exist]), then why are so few students reading proficiently?!

LinkedIn discussion on Dyslexia with Amy Rheault-Heafield, M.Ed.


The above clip depicts what was said by Charlie Munger about the human mind being like the human egg.

The following is a LinkedIn discussion with Amy Rheault-Heafield, M.Ed.

Amy Rheault-Heafield

The reality is that 1 in 5 students are dyslexic.  Dyslexia encompasses many realms and is a language-based disorder. You cannot “identify” a dyslexic student at first glance or even on a city or rural street. However, once you interact and also analyze written/oral/ and reading behaviors, the evidence to suspect this exists in a student becomes much clearer. Pandemic learning loss is not the same as dyslexia or even being slow to develop reading/writing/language skills.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Then and now


This morning,19.7.23, I read the following tweets

Secretary Miguel Cardona @SecCardona


Every student deserves the opportunity to have a career in what they’re passionate about.

That’s why we are raising the bar in education.

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

One best way

Since 2010 I have written exhaustively on how to teach kids to decode. I have written the 3 reasons I have learnt from my students on how to teach decoding to ensure that no kid shuts down/ disengages from learning to decode. My book ‘Shut down kids’ explains this and is backed up with corroborative evidence from researchers. Educators who agree with me keep saying that there are other considerations including vocabulary and comprehension. But what has vocabulary and comprehension to do with decoding?

Monday, July 17, 2023

Be respectful and professional - Dr. Sam Bommarito


Here is an excerpt from Dr. Sam’s blog. In general, I agree with what he says.

‘…educators should fairly evaluate all evidence “regardless of whether the conclusions are inconsistent with your beliefs.” It also says we should “acknowledge differences and discuss them with respect and decency.” Unfortunately, I seldom see this kind of respectful debate on social media posts. I sincerely hope we can find common ground on the essentials of effective reading instruction, and when we disagree, we can do so with respect and professionalism.’

Of course, we should be respectful on social media. But, I am reminded of a Tamil proverb that says that a thorn in the flesh should be taken out with a thorn. I have been respectful of all my comments and posts until recently when I realised that many on social media are there to make money at the expense of distraught parents. I have no respect for those who do not apologise for grave disinformation which is then retweeted or liked by many.

Sunday, July 16, 2023

How Dyslexia Became the Child’s Fault


Here is a comment by Tom Berend on Educhatter I wrote about. LINK

He said the following:

The students are not “learning disabled”. There is nothing wrong with the CHILD. There was a famous but horribly flawed experiment, ‘dowel tapping’ that created the dyslexia industry. It should be as infamous as the vaccine-causes-autism fraud.

And here is a link he shared and my comments:  

Friday, July 14, 2023

Literacy Myth busting by Lyn Stone – Part 2


Here are a few more comments I have on the podcast by Kate of IDA Ontario and Lyn Stone.

Sunk cost fallacy

People will keep investing in that thing rather than scrap it. We spent all this money and time and can’t possibly be wrong. The sunk cost fallacy exists and it makes you think that something is working when it is not working.


My comment:

Sunk cost fallacy is the phenomenon whereby a person is reluctant to abandon a strategy or course of action because they have invested heavily in it, even when it is clear that abandonment would be more beneficial.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Pandemic Learning Loss and retention


I see tweets on pandemic learning loss as well as arguments against retention.

I decided to delve into this and see if I am able to contribute a few of my thoughts.

My first student who could not even read a single sentence when he came to me for tuition in 2004 was sent to a private school, SMK Simon Fung. The school would only accept him if his parents accepted him to be placed in grade one. That was when he was sent to me for private tuition. LINK

It was not easy teaching him and I tried all the different methods I could think of.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Teaching sight words as wholes

Here is a Twitter exchange between Elizabeth Brown and me on 11.7.2023. This discussion would not have happened if she had read the links in my post here I wrote that post after a Twitter discussion with her, more than a year ago, on a similar matter on 5.3.2022.

I have several posts on my blog on how to teach kids to memorise the Dolch words. Any educators with a little common sense will realise that memorising 220 words that makeup between 50 to 70 percent of all the words in a kid’s book should be encouraged. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Teaching reading to 'learning disabled' children - Educhatter


This morning (11.7.2023) I read a post on Educhatter. The following extract is of interest.

“Teaching Reading to Learning Disabled Children: A Fourth Approach.”

“Learning disabled children,” Bateman claimed, “have certain characteristics which require very precise and careful teaching of coding if they are to achieve mastery of initial reading skills.”  Long before other researchers, she surveyed the “phenomenal growth” in the field of special education and was troubled by the imprecise definition of what constituted “learning disabilities.” Challenging the traditionalist view of reading and learning disabilities, Bateman claimed that the overriding assumption that “students who read poorly must themselves be deficient” needed to be re-examined and the possibility that “reading instruction was inadequate” given serious consideration. (Dr. Barbara D. Bateman 1976)

That declaratory statement was made in April 1976. What have our educators/ researchers done about it? 

Is it learning disabled or teaching disabled?

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Literacy myth busting by Lyn Stone - podcast


Yesterday, I listened to a podcast by Kate of IDA Ontario and Lyn Stone from Australia.

The topic was: Literacy Myth-Busting with Lyn Stone (LINK)

The episode was propaganda against Balanced Literature and Whole Language and nothing more.

Hundreds of children didn’t progress because of instruction. (Lyn)

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Language at the Speed of Sight – Mark Seidenberg - and my comments

The first sentence in the image above says little was known in the old days.

But, many matters discovered and explained in the old days have not entered the brains of many of our present-day educators including Mark Seidenberg.

One of the most important theories proposed by Thorndike in 1913 (more than 100 years ago) is that what is learnt in the initial stage is important. New ideas that do not reconcile with old ideas will be rejected by the minds of a majority of people.

There is another quote from even much earlier as follows:

It is what we know already that often prevents us from learning. (Claude Bernard 1813 - 1878)

A kid’s prior knowledge can help or hinder learning. Prior knowledge influences how kids interpret what they are learning. When the knowledge a kid has from previous learning is inaccurate it will interfere or impede new learning. 

Monday, July 3, 2023

Divide and Rule by the powers that be.


The powers that be are experts in ensuring that this policy of ‘Divide and Rule’ is in place.

The Reading War has been going on for decades and is now stronger than ever between the phonetics and whole word Apostles.

Exponents from both sides keep warring and will not stand to reason. Their minds are like the Human egg. When one sperm goes into the ovum the ovum does not allow another sperm to get in just like the minds of these exponents. 

Saturday, July 1, 2023

A big Thank You to my Readers

                                        The image above is the readers for the last week of June 2023.

Thank you to the readers of my Dyslexia blog

I am recording this for posterity.

Today, I’m grateful to you, my readers, for your support.

June was the first month since I started my blog to have an average of more than 1000 readers per day.

All Time560202

This Month38435

The readers for the last week of June were from the following countries.