Sunday, September 3, 2023

Teaching correctly


For many years now I have said that many intelligent kids disengage from learning to read due to teachers/schools teaching the wrong sounds represented by letters.

The obvious questions to ask me, which have never been asked, are:

i.                    Why are there kids unable to read in schools teaching systematic synthetic phonics like the school in which Sue Lloyd is teaching?

ii.                  How are a majority of kids who are taught sounds represented by letters wrongly, that is teaching letters with extraneous sounds, able to read?


Here is something from the Sue Lloyd’s website:

On average, about a quarter of children find learning to read difficult. There is a tendency to think that these children are not very bright but this could not be further from the truth. I have known many highly intelligent children who have had problems with learning to read and vice versa.

Teachers know very well that in each class there is a group of children who learn to read easily, whatever method of teaching is used; a group who learn steadily and gradually succeed; and a group of children who struggle and frequently fail. I have often asked teachers why they think this happens when the teaching is basically the same for all the children.

She then goes on to say that the main problem is that these children undoubtedly have weak memories or an inability to hear the sounds in words or both.

How did all my more than 80 students, who could not read even in grades 2,3 and 4, begin to read within 4 months? More importantly, how did they memorise the 220 Dolch words if their memory was bad?

How did Alanna’s son suddenly become eager to learn to read just after 2 lessons from my book? LINK

How did Cindy, from California, get her 2 grandchildren to like reading after going through the lessons from my book? LINK

The reasons I can think of for why about a quarter of children find learning to read difficult are:

a.     The kids have been exposed to the wrong teaching of sounds represented by letters even before entering school. They could have been taught the wrong sounds in kindergarten or even through TV programmes such as Baby TV which originated in the UK.


Let us be reminded of what Thorndike had said about the importance of early input/learning. Having been exposed to the wrong sounds of the letters many kids predisposed to disengaging from learning to read do indeed shut down from learning to read. However, good the second scaffolding is, it is impossible to mount it on top of the faulty first scaffold.


b.     Kids predisposed to shutting down will be confused with teachers not telling them that letters in English represent more than one sound, unlike transparent languages such as Malay and Italian. LINK


The next question on why many kids are able to read despite being taught the letters with extraneous sounds may probably be because of the following reasons:


a.     Most of them had not been misguided by TV programmes such as Baby TV. These children could have been taught by teachers in kindergarten that teach the proper sounds of the letters.


b.     A majority of them figure out how to read. Figuring out how to read could have been achieved in later grades. This may account for the not very brilliant achievement as would be expected of students because of the length of time spent figuring out how to read when they should be learning facts. LINK

A good solution is to get a copy of my book – Teach Your Child to Read – and teach all kids to learn to read by the end of grade 1.  

No comments: