Tuesday, February 20, 2024

How dyslexia changes in other languages - Sophie Hardach


Here is an article on BBC written by one Sophie Hardach on 10th March 2023. This was a copy-paste article about which the author knows zilch about. LINK

Here are extracts from the article and my comments.

At the age of 13, however, Alex was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning difficulty that affects reading and writing. According to test results, his English reading level was that of a six-year-old.

Read my post on this in 2010. LINK 


"We compared his Japanese test results to those of 20-year-old Japanese university students," says Taeko Wydell, a professor in cognitive neuroscience at Brunel University London, and one of the researchers who studied Alex's case in the late 1990s and early 2000s. "He was often equivalent, and sometimes better, than those university students. So he was a really able reader in Japanese." His writing was also very good.

How was this dramatic contrast possible, given that dyslexia is commonly thought of as an innate, lifelong condition?

The answer lies in how our brain processes writing – and how different languages are written.

Professor Taeko Wydell and Brunel University did not respond to any of my emails subsequent to sending me her research reports.

Perhaps Sophie Hardach may get a response from her. Here are the links to my post.

Union Reception - Neuroscience news - Part 1 LINK

Union Reception - Neuroscience news - Part 2 LINK

Union Reception - Neuroscience news - Part 3 LINK

In English, readers also have to know which sounds the different letters represent, and how those sounds make up words – a skill known as phonological awareness.

Children with dyslexia typically struggle with that.

How well you read and write can depend on the language you are using.

Children who speak languages as diverse as Welsh, Spanish, Czech, Finnish and many others, learn to read more quickly than English-speakers.

My comment:

If children can learn to read in all the languages above including Hanyu Pinyin and Malay, then surely these kids do not have a phonological awareness deficit. I wrote several comments and articles disagreeing with the theory that it was phonological awareness deficit that is the cause of dyslexia until it was debunked in 2017. You may Google my articles written in 2010. LINK

Consider, for example, how long it takes children to learn to read in different languages, or more specifically, in different orthographies (spelling systems).

"There is quite a lot of evidence that learning to read in English just takes longer because it's harder than other orthographies," says Karin Landerl, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Graz, Austria.

In Finland, most children can read within a few months of starting school, while it takes English-speaking children much longer.

My comment:

This is what I have been harping on since 2010. I can teach a kid to read in Malay just by sitting him beside me and reading to him for half an hour each day for 3 months. Yet there are educators like Pamela Snow from La Trobe university who keep insisting that learning to read is not natural. LINK


A study comparing children learning to read in English, Spanish and Czech found that reading skills in the latter two languages soared soon after the start of instruction, while the English-speaking children progressed more slowly.

My comment:

Yes, the children learning to read in English progress slowly especially when teachers teach them consonant sounds with extraneous sounds. I have explained this in detail in my book Shut Down Kids.

"If you try to learn to read in English, and you don't have a good phonological awareness – an awareness for the sounds of spoken language – it can lead to massive difficulties," says Landerl. "Because you don't understand how the letters and sounds fit together."

Such slow reading can be a serious obstacle in itself, and even make children stop reading altogether, according to Landerl.

My comment:

The key words above that is music to my ears are, ‘and even make children stop reading altogether’. This is what I mean by kids disengaging/shutting down from learning to read. If this is not remedied in grade 2 or earlier there is no point in talking about morphology and comprehension as often repeated by Tim Rasinsky and Sam Bommarito.

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