Monday, August 21, 2023

Why do children run into reading problems? Beverley Sinton


Here are conversations on LinkedIn that those not in the thread may benefit from.

Beverley Sinton (she, her) 1st degree connection 1st President at ADHD, ASC & LD Belgium, Ambassador at Neurodiverse Brains @ Work, & Advisory Board at PWI (Brussels) asked the following question:

Can I ask about the 40% who pick reading up - does that trait continue for the rest of their lives? Or do (some of them) they stumble later on and need help with decoding then?

…. what happens to those 40% after they are 7 or 8 and most people have been taught how to read? Do they continue being able to read (despite being self-taught) - or does their early 'brilliance' fade, and they run into reading problems?

Note: Bear in mind Beverly’s ‘some of them’. Not all but only some of them, and to reduce illiteracy, these are the kids we should be concerned about.

Here is my answer to the question above:


Luqman Michel

Beverley Sinton, if I may share, please. I don't know about self-taught but when kids are taught to read in Malay, after 3 months they will only continue progressing and there is no such thing as fading and running into reading problems. A kid can be taught to read in Malay (it uses the same letters as English) just by sitting beside you and reading to him with him following you sentence by sentence. He will read any word that he sees regardless of it being familiar or unfamiliar.

This may not happen in English, especially with kids predisposed to disengaging from learning to read due to confusion. When they are confused and no one clears them of their confusion, they shut down from learning to read.

I have explained this with corroborative evidence in my book. LINK

I will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.



The main reason why a kid who has learned Malay will continue to read is that he will not disengage from learning to read because each letter in the Malay language represents one sound except for the letter E. The westerners define Malay as a transparent language. But what does it mean?

Let us get back to the letter E. It represents 2 sounds – E as in besok (tomorrow) where the sound of the letter E is as in the English word egg or the ay as in bay. E as in berok where the sound of the letter e is as in the English word err.

All other letters are represented by only one sound. For example, the sound represented by the letter A is as in the English word are, arm, etc. Any word with the letter A whether it is in the beginning or anywhere else in a word it carries the same sound. Almari, Abu, Ahmad, aku, marah etc.

This is not the same for a kid who has been taught the sound represented by the letter A as in apple. The kids predisposed to disengaging from learning when they are confused with shut down from learning to read due to this confusion. This is one of 3 confusions I have stated in my book ‘Shut Down Kids’.

To prevent kids disengaging from learning all we need to do is to inform them at the onset that almost all letters in English represent more than 1 sound. As I mention in my book to be published we don’t need to list the different sounds but point them out when we arrive at the different sounds of the letters. If you decide to buy my book, please read the notes before jumping to the lessons.

Many teachers think that teaching kids to know the long and short sound of vowels is enough. But what happens with kids who cannot understand how to pronounce the word ‘bald’ for example. The letter A in bald is neither a short nor long sound that he has learnt.

Fortunately, a majority of kids accept what a teacher teaches without questioning. Many of them figure it out but we should be concerned about those who disengage from learning to read and are then wrongly classified as dyslexic.

Listen to my video on the different sounds represented by the letter A. LINK 



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