Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

News articles, interviews, research, events and lots more - ready for your comments.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:04 pm

This very interesting, important debate is being live-streamed via youtube on 31st January 2019. It has been organised by UCL Institute of Education 'in association' with the University of Durham:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoSc5Z64B98


Dyslexia diagnosis, scientific understandings, and belief in a flat Earth

Following comprehensive revision of their assessment and intervention practice guidance for with reading difficulties, Warwickshire and Staffordshire County Councils were heavily criticised in the House of Lords (30.10.18).

Despite the express intention of the authors to assist more children with difficulties, it was suggested that the practice guidance represented an attempt to reduce, rather than increase, SEN services. A statement in the guidance that a dyslexia diagnosis is "scientifically questionable" received a particularly fierce reaction. The fall-out from the Lords publicity resulted in the removal of Warwickshire CC’s practice guidance from its website and challenges in other Local Authorities.

This series of events throws up many questions about professional autonomy, the use of scientific knowledge in developing policy and practice, and the influence of lobby groups. This event has been arranged to highlight and consider some of the key issues.

Venue

Logan Hall, University College London, Institute of Education

20 Bedford Way, WC1H 0AL

31st January, 2019, 1.00pm - 5.00pm

Confirmed Speakers

Greg Brooks, Emeritus Professor, University of Sheffield (Conference Chair)

Jules Daulby (SEN consultant and former Director of Education at the Driver Youth Trust)

Julian Elliott, Professor of Educational Psychology, Durham University

Dr. Jonathan Solity, Optima Psychology

Sarah Crawford, Specialist Senior Educational Psychologist (Cognition & Learning), Warwickshire Educational Psychology Service

Jo Ward, District Senior Educational Psychologist, Staffordshire County Council
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Julian Elliot

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:27 pm

Here is an earlier thread featuring Professor Julian Elliott and the Dyslexia Debate - and various responses - from 2015. This sets the scene:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=453&hilit=julian+elliot
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:22 pm

Professor Elliott has just provided this link via Twitter about the forthcoming conference - you can watch it 'live-streamed':

https://www.dur.ac.uk/research/news/ite ... emno=37426

The value of a dyslexia diagnosis

(29 January 2019)


One English council is changing its guidance for children with reading difficulties after research by Durham University questioned the value of a dyslexia diagnosis.

The study concluded that the term ‘dyslexia’ lacks scientific rigour and leads to many children missing out on receiving the help they need.

Warwickshire County Council has developed practice guidance for the teaching and learning of all children with literacy difficulties

Professor Julian Elliott from our School of Education believes other councils will follow suit.

Dyslexia diagnosis

The research found that substantial time and money are poured into expensive and time-consuming diagnostic tests for dyslexia, which lack scientific credibility.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:41 pm

I have now watched the Dyslexia Debate event from beginning to end and it certainly raised many points that I would like to address including regarding Dr Jonathan Solity's approach to reading instruction and his comments about the Government's direction of travel to promote Systematic Synthetic Phonics programmes - which I may well do in good time.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:55 pm

I have been privy go some responses to the Dyslexia Debate talks:

The video was a marathon indeed. I thought that Jules Daulby illustrated the emotional hold that the dyslexia lobby has over people – the actual word 'dyslexia' does open resources, sympathy and perhaps a diagnosis does give comfort through understanding – but really she missed the point that early identification of children who struggle and early extra good quality teaching through synthetic phonics could still teach vulnerable (‘potentially dyslexic’) children to read and spell.

I enjoyed Joe Elliot. It was refreshing to hear his take on dyslexia. He acknowledged the positive spin of having an ‘explanation’ and that the name dyslexia does unlock funds but it was great that he highlighted that there are no medically acknowledged criteria (as there are for ADHD, ASD) and no special intervention for ‘dyslexia’ that is any different from that offered to all children who struggle with literacy. I liked – that one should put one’s “effort into assessing proximal literacy skills and then put time and training into that” . Also many youngsters need help and we should “create a system to intervene as soon as possible and put a greater focus on intervention as soon as possible”. I believe that the success we have achieved with SSP was achieved from identifying all strugglers early in Reception and putting in regular light touch extra teaching straight away (about 6-8 children out of a 3 form cohort of 90 pupils). These children need much more practice learning the basic skills and with applying their phonics to reading and spelling.

Re Jonathan Solity – the core of his approach is taken from instructional psychology with Direct Instruction (but we would not disagree with that and we have also incorporated aspects of that approach in our SSP teaching), and also interleaved learning, distributed practice (little and often), generalisation and teaching whole classes are all things we could support.

But I really do think his approach goes from the wrong start point. He analyses books and then extracts the most frequently occurring words and the most frequently occurring GPCs –and then teaches these and only these. I think that this is restrictive and would make generalisation more difficult. He extends to other GPCs and Tricky words by reading real books – but for this he needs another adult/skilled reader on a one-to-one basis through shared/paired reading. I would probably agree with him that there is a law of diminishing returns by trying to teach a very extensive code with every possible alternative spelling to be explicitly learned and that we should be teaching what is most useful - but I think that what he is teaching may be overly restrictive (although it is difficult to tell as I still don’t know what it is that he actually explicitly teaches).

He dismisses out of hand what the government has suggested – “whatever the government suggests is wrong” – how can a scientist say that without evidence? Does he just dismiss the whole of the Rose Report?

Also decodable text – he says this gives children no extra decoding practice but again I think he misunderstands. Through SSP children read decodable words and sentences at a certain level and then they also find that their knowledge and skills can ‘work’ when they are faced with decodable books. This is very empowering and excellent reinforcement. In decodable texts there are novel words that have not been previously encountered but can be worked out from existing knowledge and skills so there is generalisation. Tricky words are also introduced on a drip-feed basis in context and all the time the child grows in confidence through success. I would maintain that this does add to the ‘reading for meaning’ and ‘reading for enjoyment’ he talks about.

He says “children have more opportunities to practise with real books” – but where is the evidence for this vs decodable readers which incorporate novel words plus experience of real books supported by adults?

Does he not know that SSP children are also exposed to real books? There are the books they spontaneously pick up for themselves and have a go at. Also there are the lovely books of literature that are read and shared with them by adults and the one-to-one reading with real books when they also use a shared/paired reading experience with the adult supporting and supplying words which are beyond the child’s scope.

So in SSP, decodable books are not used exclusively but are hugely valuable for consolidating the knowledge, skills and confidence of children who do not come easily to reading. Also they are a wonderful launch pad for children who come easily to reading and go off to self-teach and expand their reading experience.

Also he does not mention spelling, that the alphabetic code is reversible and that blending and segmenting are opposite sides of the same coin.

As for phonic self-correction/that children are ‘set for variability’/ tweaking – do we not use that all the time and of course incorporate it!

I see that Solity has now identified 3% of mainstream children who are resistant to his teaching. From my observation of smaller scale SSP studies, I think that excellent synthetic phonics could equal if not surpass that figure. He is very fortunate to have access to whole authorities, schools and teams of well qualified educational psychologists. It would be interesting to compare his results with larger scale projects with SSP, similarly resourced.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:49 pm

Here is another response:

I think a researcher, who has pre-decided ideas and a tendency for having a bee in his bonnet, is not likely to find out what is best. I wish research was written in the style Marlynne has used. It gives you much more idea of how that bottom group of children do. Solity does recognise the importance of strong decoding and encoding skills, which makes it much easier for the children to do well, especially the top and middle group. What I would like to know is how well the bottom group did. I know he said that 3% still had poor reading ability - but where is the line drawn.

I disliked his condemnation of our type of SSP, which has produced some excellent results. Often people are just trying to promote themselves/products when they rubbish others, without strong evidence. We have all seen the huge amount of failure that has been caused by children being given reading books that are not decodable. He seems to have little experience of the actual teaching and does not seem to understand how difficult it is for some children to master enough of the alphabetic code, without that extra decoding in the books to revise GPCs and prevent that awful guessing. Results and teaching ideas are never quite as black and white as we might like them to be. Solity reminds me a bit of Usha Goswami - they shout loudly about the improvements they saw in their research but do not look and see if there is an even better way.

I don't suppose Solity has seen many decodable books. There are some excellent ones available. It is sad that he is turning teachers against something that is so helpful, especially for the vulnerable group.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:58 pm

Blogger Faith Borkowsky has written an excellent summary of Professor Julian Elliott's perspective on the Dyslexia Debate - via her 'High Five Literacy' blog:

VIEWS ON THE DIAGNOSIS OF DYSLEXIA


https://highfiveliteracy.com/2019/02/04 ... omment-229

As a parent, I would want the diagnosis and label of dyslexia if it meant better instruction and intervention for my child, as well as positive self-esteem. But as a proponent of evidence-based reading instruction for all children, it is unconscionable that, given the research on word-reading disorders, we live in a society where only some children gain access to the right to read.



This is really worth reading to get an understanding of the issues explained clearly and succinctly.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Feb 06, 2019 6:48 pm

This piece illustrates that parents want that label of 'dyslexia' and they still seem to think that the label is for children who are also intelligent rather than any learner who struggles to read at word level:

Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

ByAvi Wolfman-Arent


https://whyy.org/articles/meet-the-craz ... h-reading/
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:19 pm

For anyone interested in the work of Solity, one of the main speakers at the Dyslexia Debate, there is a very, very interesting (and arguably important) post here - on the topic of 'sight words' to which a number of specialists in the field provide responses including Jonathan Solity himself - keep scrolling to see the very detailed, important responses and the issues raised for further inquiry:


Read Oxford

Guest Blog: Are sight words unjustly slighted?

July 1, 2016

What is meant by ‘sight word reading’? It’s a term that seems to mean different things to different people, leading to misunderstandings and confusion. We asked Professor Anne Castles to share with us what the evidence says about sight word reading.


https://readoxford.org/guest-blog-are-s ... y-slighted

Professor Solity's approach is to teach a bank of common sight words 'as wholes' as analysed in children's 'real books' and to teach a minimal number of letter/s-sound correspondences (around 60) on the basis that this combination will enable children to read real books and self-teach code beyond their formal provision.
User avatar
Debbie_Hepplewhite
Posts: 1878
Joined: Sat May 23, 2015 4:42 pm

Re: Eng: Live on 31 Jan 2019 - more on the Dyslexia Debate and the work of Professor Julian Elliott

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:57 pm

On the topic of Dr Jonathan Solity and the 'Optima' programme, Dr Marlynne Grant wrote a post about it via the UK Reading Reform Foundation blog:

The Optima Reading Programme by Dr Jonathan Solity: Does it Provide Optimal Results? A Paper by Dr Marlynne Grant

http://rrf.org.uk/2017/01/28/the-optima ... nne-grant/

Return to “Around the World: News and Events”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests