’25% of children find learning to read difficult’ (Sue Lloyd)

The following is from Sue Lloyd’s blog found here.

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. Their replies tend to be that the children who struggle:
    are not mature enough
    come from a poor environment
    have not had stories read to them
    are not interested in reading
    are poor at speaking and listening
    are limited in their vocabulary
    do not have English as their mother tongue
    have parents who are not willing or able to help them
    have parents who are too pushy

The list goes on and on. All these explanations may have some validity but, to my mind, they are not the main causes of the children’s difficulties.

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.

Where in the world did this lady come up with a ridiculous statement such as ‘undoubtedly have weak memories’ from?

I know for a fact that most of these kids who are unable to read are instructional casualties. I have educators such as Reid Lyon, David Boulton, Seigfried Engelmann and many others who have confirmed in writing that a majority of these kids are all instructional casualties.

If these kids have an inability to hear sounds in words how in the world did the University of Florida manage to get all the kids who could not read, to read at grade level and maintain them at grade level after a short period of intervention?

How did all my more than 70 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?

I had written several emails to Sue Lloyd explaining that the main reason for these kids being unable to read is the fact that about 20% of kids disengage from learning to read due to confusion. They shut down from learning to read when they cannot make sense of the sounds of letters taught to the words being asked to read.

In the first paragraph above Sue Lloyd had written ‘Teachers know very well that in each class there is … a group who learn steadily and gradually succeed; and a group of children who struggle and frequently fail.

We need to think of the group who struggle and frequently fail. They struggle and fail because of the confusion of not being able to make sense of the wrong pronunciation of phonemes taught. 

When I told Sue Lloyd that the reason why many of the kids struggle and disengage from learning to she said that that is probably possible in countries teaching English as a second language but cannot be true in the UK. 

If that is the case then she has to answer how China, Singapore and Hong Kong beat all the English speaking countries in the last PISA test.

Click here for the result of the last PISA test.