Monday, May 10, 2010

Dyslexia a cruel fiction leading to crime

A London UK Times article reported last year:
A Labour MP has provoked anger among literacy campaigners by calling dyslexia a “cruel fiction” that can often lead to criminal behaviour.

Graham Stringer, the Labour MP for Manchester Blackley, wrote in his column for Manchester Confidential magazine: “Dyslexia is a cruel fiction, it is no more real than the 19th-century scientific construction of ‘the aether’ to explain how light travels through a vacuum.”
Bad analogy. The term aether went out of favor in the early 20th century, but since about 1940 the concept has been essential to understanding how light travels thru a vacuum. Quantum field theory teaches that there is no such thing as a vacuum, and what we call the vacuum is actually filled with particles that are essential to the propagation of light.
In the same column, Mr Stringer argued: “The reason that so many children fail to read and write is because the wrong teaching methods are used.” He accused Ed Balls, the Education Minister, of wasting nearly £80million in disability benefits given to dyslexic children, when government policy should target an overhaul of the way that children are taught to read.

Mr Stringer pointed to the synthetic phonics method of teaching, whereby children were taught to associate letters with their phonetic pronunciation (reading “ee” for “y”, for example).

He said: “It is time that the dyslexia industry was killed off and we recognised that there are well known methods for teaching everybody to read and write.”
He has a point there. Phonics has been shown to be a superior method for teaching reading, but most schools don't use it.

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