Saturday, October 7, 2023

When does one size fit all


On 6.10.23 in a Twitter thread Dr. Sam Bommarito Twitted the following:

Dr. Sam Bommarito @DoctorSam7

One of the many reasons I speak out against one-size-fits-all solutions is that different children really do need different things. What works with one does not always work with another. Many adults who were Dyslexic as a child have found ways to succeed. One of my favorite stories along that line is the story of this mother and daughter team, who saw the strengths in themselves and shared with others how to use those strengths. They replace "succeeding despite of Dyslexia" with "succeeding because of Dyslexia". 

Dr. Sam keeps saying the same things over and over because, as I have said several times, the mind of most people is like the human egg. 

Different children really do need different things. (Dr.Sam)

Do different children ‘really need different things’ when it comes to teaching them the sounds represented by consonants. This thing about one-size-does-not-fit-all has been deeply entrenched in the minds of many people. Many of these educators keep saying that consonants cannot be taught without extraneous sounds. Where did these guys come up with such a stupid notion? They continue saying this despite videos where the correct sounds are taught. LINK

Even a 6-year-old kid in Lagos can pronounce the consonant sounds correctly. If this kid can pronounce the consonants correctly what excuse do the Westerners have? LINK.

I have said many times and I repeat that all teachers should teach the sounds represented by letters correctly. Teachers should not teach consonants with extraneous sounds. As far as decoding is concerned, one size will fit all if you teach the consonants with no extraneous sounds. There will be no kid who will be unable to blend letters. I have explained in my book that this is one of the main causes of kids disengaging from learning to read. Get a copy of my book and then question me if there is anything you disagree with. LINK

‘What works with one does not always work with another.’ (Dr. Sam). 

When you teach kids wrongly most of the kids disengage from learning to read. Fortunately, a majority figure out how to read despite being taught consonant sounds wrongly. Dr. Sam and his colleagues take these kids who can read as an example and dupe themselves into believing that consonants can be taught with extraneous sounds. In addition to duping themselves, they dupe distraught parents into believing this nonsense. Here are a video of a college student in Perth who read out the sounds of consonants with extraneous sounds and yet could read nonsense words. LINK

Dr. Sam and many others have stock answers to questions. Here is a Tweet by Alanna and a reply by Dr. Sam in January 2021 which is exactly the same answer he gives now.

Alanna Maurin @AlannaMaurin Jan 4, 2021

Replying to @DoctorSam7 @DrMaryHoward , Carol Varsalona @cvarsalona,TC Advancing Literacy @TCRWP, Education Week @educationweek, Kylene Beers @KyleneBeers, Kathryn M Pierce @KMPBooker, MoCTE @moteachenglish, Molly Ness / End Book Deserts @drmollyness, Jennifer Serravallo @JSerravallo


He's attending to print and reading words that he hasn't mastered the code of yet.

This is a child who for a year has been switched off to reading and struggled to decode and blend simple cvc words and was distressed by his inability to retain 'tricky' words out of context.

Dr. Sam Bommarito @DoctorSam7 Jan 4, 2021

What works with one child doesn't always work with another. Glad you found something that is working for your student. Here is a blog in which I try to make it clear one size doesn't fit all.

What can we learn from ‘He’s attending to print and reading words he hasn’t mastered the code of yet?’

This means a kid is able to memorise Dolch words such as with, here, there, say and not only read those words but able to spell them too.

Why was he not able to blend simple cvc words but able to do it after learning the sounds of consonants taught without extraneous sounds? He could not blend buhahtuh, fuhahtuh etc and had shut down from learning to read. He was confused.

Upon listening to a sound recording of Alanna Maurin’s son I told her I knew her son’s problem and told her to teach him the correct sounds of the letters by following the lessons in my book. LINK

After 2 lessons the son was keen on learning to read. Ask yourself why this happened.

‘What works with one child doesn't always work with another.’ (DR. Sam) 

Blending words with extraneous sounds does not work for a majority of kids. Fortunately, most of them figure it out and are able to read at a later stage. These are the kids who would have missed a lot of what was taught in grades two onward until they figured out how to read. Those who do not figure out how to read start misbehaving and cause stress to teachers.

‘Many adults who were Dyslexic as a child have found ways to succeed.’ (Dr. Sam). 

This we all know. One good example is Tom Cruise who started reading only at the age of 22 after finishing Top Gun.

The question to ask is what if Tom Cruise had, in grade 1, found a teacher who taught him to read? 

We should not be proud that the level of reading proficiency has remained the same since 1972 and has not worsened. What kind of a mindset is this?

Get rid of the root causes of kids disengaging from learning to read and you will not have to blame Phonics or Lucy Calkins or BL. No child will be left behind.



DoctorSam7 said...

I respect and applaud what you do. But I stand by my statement that there is no one method that works for every single child every single time. The is more than one way to teach phonics. Syntheic phonics, which is what you are doing, works for many (most). But not for all. Good luck with you books BTW. Best Dr. Sam

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your kind words, Dr.
I think there is a slight misunderstanding here. I am not talking about the 4 different phonics methods. I am talking about how the letter sounds are taught wrongly. Whether it is synthetic, analytical, embedded or analogical phonics or whole language it does not matter. What is paramount is teaching kids the correct pronunciation of the sounds represented by consonants. Teach kids sounds represented by letters without adding a vowel sound to the consonants. You cannot teach kids sounds of letters with extraneous sounds and say they are unable to blend luhuhmuhbuh to sound out the word lamb. Refer to the post on Mark Seidenberg at

Thank you for your wishes on the success of my book. If there are criticisms on the contents please let me know. We can always learn from each other.