Sunday, September 10, 2023

Sharon Vaughn - helping kids with reading problems


The following are from the blog post by Kathryn Solow that I posted yesterday.

All of this advice applies to college professors as well. We have to remember that professors are people too.

So what does this mean in practice?

It means that we have got to stop shaming and blaming professors for what they do not know and were never taught. Many of these professors started out as classroom teachers. They took the same reading methods courses that the teachers did. They completed the same projects. They learned from the same professors. They are just as much victims of a broken educator prep-system as classroom teachers are.

My comment:

YES! Professors are people too. However, these professors/educators/researchers should think and be responsible for what they write. They should be willing to admit a mistake and move on. I have far too many examples of this but will, for now, give just a few examples.


Michele Pentyliuk.

Michele Pentyliuk, M.Ed., is a Registered Psychologist and Certified Teacher. She gave a talk on Phonological awareness deficit being the cause of dyslexia. In 2010, she wrote a guest post in a blog that is now non-existent. I wrote to her and said I disagreed that phonological awareness deficit is the cause of dyslexia. She replied she had just repeated what she had heard from Sharon Vaughn and that she was not an expert in this subject. I admire her for saying this. She is the only professional who admitted her mistake and moved on. I thanked her and wrote to Sharon Vaughn.

Sharon Vaughn

In 2010 she replied to my first introductory letter but ignored my detailed questions.

I told her that I disagreed with phonological awareness deficit being the cause of dyslexia. She did not have the decency to respond. That theory was debunked in 2017.



Coincidentally, I saw Sharon’s name in a Tweet on 8th September 2023.

For a vast majority of children, the key to better reading is enhanced instruction within the general education classroom. If your child is struggling, remain hopeful: most children with reading challenges improve considerably with effective instruction.


My reply to the Tweet by Reading Forum


There is nothing new in this post that had not been said 10 years ago. It was Sharon Vaughn who wrote about phonological awareness deficit being the cause of dyslexia and I wrote to her disagreeing with it in 2010. She did not respond.



My comment now:

This is what has been said for decades. What is effective instruction?


A child who has disengaged from learning to read in grade 1 remains disengaged unless intervention is provided. Sharon should get a copy of my book - Shut Down Kids – and find out the reasons why many intelligent kids disengage from learning to read.


Then she should get a copy of my book – Teach your Child to Read – and get all kids to learn to read.


She, like most educators/researchers, has no idea why many intelligent kids are unable to read and refuses to discuss it with me.


Many teachers have been taught to use programs and practices that are not based on the science of reading. Many children with low reading achievement have preventable problems; with explicit, evidence-based instruction, they will learn to read.


My comment now: The science of Reading, Systematic Synthetic Phonics, Balanced Literature etc. have been around for years and yet the level of illiteracy has been a flat line since 1972. Sharon and her other researchers should research why kids disengage from learning to read. Ask me and I will gladly explain.


But easily learning to read does not occur for many youngsters. Learning to read is not a natural process. Rather, for all children, parts of the brain designed to support language and visual processing must be reorganized to support reading.


My comment now:

Where did this woman come up with this notion?

Why can kids read in Malay if we sit them down and ask them to read sentences after the teacher for about two hours a week for 3 months? Reading is as natural as learning to speak.


How do we reorganise parts of the brain to support reading?


How do such educators say such stupid things and get away with it?


For many children, learning the relationships between sounds and letters (often called the alphabetic principle) requires systematic and purposeful instruction; otherwise, reading becomes an effortful, unenjoyable process.


My comment now: Another load of crap. All a teacher has to do is teach the sounds of the letters without extraneous sounds. No child will be left behind. Teachers teach letters with extraneous sounds and then complain that kids are unable to blend the letters. I have explained this in detail in my blog and in my book.

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