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)

I have been saying this same thing repeatedly and stressed that teaching sounds represented by letters with extraneous sounds is the main cause of kids disengaging from learning to read. Yet, many educators have said that that cannot be the reason why kids shut down from learning to read.

Even if they do not agree that that is one of the reasons why don’t we ask all teachers to teach the sounds represented by letters without extraneous sounds?

You may continue reading more extracts of the discussion between Siegfried Engelmann and David Bolton copied below. 


David Boulton: Well, today, my understanding from the National Center of Learning Disabilities, and Reid Lyon et all, is that less than five to six percent of the children in this country have anything innately neurobiological that underlies their processing problems.  For the rest of the kids, the problem is instructional confusion.


Siegfried Engelmann: I would say that it is closer to like maybe one-fourth or a-fifth of one percent. No kidding. I mean, I've worked with a couple of kids...

David Boulton: Well, is this based on your experience or based on some research you've had access to?

Siegfried Engelmann: Well, I've worked with hundreds of kids.

David Boulton: You mean hundreds of kids that were labeled as having some learning disability or dyslexia, that once you met them the right way, given the way that they had adapted to the teaching that they had had, you were able to pull them through it?

Siegfried Engelmann: Right.

David Boulton: Oh, it's beautiful. I totally get that. I totally agree with that. So the intention is to intentionally bring about their error and help them connect the strategy that's implicit in their error making and learn through that into the mode of participation that will go past the error to the correct approach.

My comment: Prevent that error from happening. Get it right from the word ‘GO’. Why feed someone poison and then give them medication to ‘cure’ their illness?

With all this knowledge, why did David Boulton block me on Social Media when I told him that the videos he had recommended were the cause of kids disengaging/ shutting down from learning to read?

Is/ are there someone pulling the strings?

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