The “Provable Ultimate” Spelling System

My new ending functional illiteracy in English website, covers the problems of English literacy and functional illiteracy — the extent, the causes, and the cost of illiteracy, the suffering of illiterates, and the proven solution. The home page of Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., http://NuEnglish.org, also presents valuable information about our humanitarian project of ending English functional illiteracy.

This blog covers only one important aspect of the solution to illiteracy: the proposed NuEnglish spelling system. A very natural objection to a new spelling system is the difficulty of learning the new system. Most of us learned to read as a child and have long ago forgotten just how difficult it was. Our eyes glide easily over a multitude of traps for beginning readers of traditional English spelling. Nevertheless, when the subject of a new spelling system comes up, in the back of our minds is the fear that learning any new spelling system is going to be very difficult — because of our experience with traditional English. But as you will see in reason (10) Why NuEnglish Is the Ultimate Spelling System (below) NuEnglish is extremely easy to learn, for present readers as well as beginners.

The purpose of this blog is to prove that learning NuEnglish will be very easy for YOU. I can only do that, of course, if you will carefully and honestly examine the simple-to-understand facts presented in this blog. If you do not want to be convinced because you do not want to be bothered with learning a new spelling system, you are not only doing yourself a disservice by continuing the average of more than $5,000 that functional illiteracy is costing you (and every adult American, both reader and non-reader) each year, but you are also doing our nation a disservice by doing nothing to help enable 93 million or more functionally illiterate U.S. adults to have an above-poverty-level-wage job. In addition, illiteracy has caused some American jobs to be sent overseas. Most importantly, you will be contributing to the continuance of the problems and suffering of hundreds of millions of English-speaking people around the world who are functionally illiterate in English.

Why Present Spelling Is So Difficult to Learn

  • A spelling system following the laws of logic for an alphabetic spelling system will have only one spelling of each phoneme (the smallest sound used to distinguish between syllables and words in a language or dialect) and each grapheme (a letter or a specific combination of letters) will represent only one phoneme. With only 38 phonemes needed to learn English and 26 letters in the English alphabet, ideally, a single letter would be used for 26 of the phonemes and a specific combination of two letters would be used for each of the other twelve phonemes. Instead, there are at least 184 two-letter graphemes, at least 131 three-letter graphemes, 22 four-letter graphemes, and at least 4 five-letter graphemes! There is a total of at least 367 graphemes (26+184+131+22+4) when only 38 are needed!
  • Only four of the single-letter graphemes (B, K, P, and V) have only one pronunciation, but all four are doubled in some words and not in others.
  • In total there are at least 1,768 graphemes used for forty phonemes in English because many of these phonemes are spelled with more than one grapheme! Two phonemes (H as in had and TH as in then) have only (!) four spellings; all the others have more than four. The worst of all (the U phoneme as in nut) has at least 60 spellings! We only need forty graphemes for forty phonemes — one each! (Different linguists will list different English phonemes; it is easily provable that students can easily learn to read English fluently by knowing only 38 phonemes, as in NuEnglish.)
  • Present English spelling uses hundreds of silent letters.
  • Present English spelling uses hundreds of double-letters which represent only one phoneme. All but six of the single-letter graphemes (H, Q, U, W, X, and Y) are not doubled in any of the words.
  • Present English spelling has at least 203 spelling rules and every one of them have exceptions — some of the exceptions even have exceptions!
  • Present english spelling has no indication of accent. The accent of each English word must be memorized the same as the spelling must be memorized (since you cannot be sure of the spelling by spelling rules.)
  • Some English words have phonemes which are not represented by any grapheme — you just have to learn that the phoneme is there!

Why NuEnglish is the Ultimate Spelling System

Basically speaking, NuEnglish is the ultimate in ease of learning for two reasons. First, it avoids all of the problems listed above for present spelling. Second, I have carefully examined every spelling system proposed in the last two and one-half centuries, that I could find, and no other known proposed spelling system has all of the beneficial characterisitcs listed below that NuEnglish has.

Surprisingly, I could not find any proposed spelling system that had a perfect one-grapheme-for-one-phoneme correspondence. As a result, every spelling system I could find requires a certain amount of memorization of individual words.

Beneficial Characteristics of NuEnglish

(1) No phoneme is ever spelled with more than one grapheme.

(2) No grapheme ever represents more than one phoneme.

(3) There are no silent letters.

(4) There are no double letters which represent only one phoneme except OO and TT — and EE, if macrons are not used. (A macron is a horizontal line directly above a letter.)

(5) Every sound in every word is represented (except the NG sound in words such as bank and jinx) and is represented in strict first to last order.

(6) An asterisk (pronounced “star,” when spelling aloud) precedes the vowel in the primary accented syllable unless the accent is on the first syllable, the English syllable which is more likely to be accented than any other. Knowing the accent helps considerably in recognizing (reading) words. The pronunciation of some English words, in fact, is different only in the placement of the accent, such as insight and incite.

(7) The maximum number of phonemes possible are spelled as they are most often spelled in traditional spelling (30 of the 38 phonemes, 79% of them, used in NuEnglish), based upon Godfrey Dewey’s landmark 100,000 word study of numerous representative prose samples of English usage. Every spelling of the phonemes in NuEnglish, except one (the grapheme TT), is either the most-used or the expected spelling of that phoneme in traditional spelling. The TT grapheme represents the phoneme as in the word thin. This is because in traditional spelling the TH grapheme represents both the sounds in thin and then. Many people who can already read fluently will tell you, “that is no problem,” because they know which phoneme to use anytime they see the TH grapheme. That is true, of course, but it is only because of years of experience in seeing words with that grapheme. A beginning learner does not know which phoneme the TH graphemes represent and learning the difference is just one more added thing they must learn by memory. The vowel phoneme, as in the word say, must be spelled AE or A with a macron over it because all other choices conflict with another phoneme spelling. The other seven are spelled as they are expected to be spelled.

  • The letter F is expected to have the sound as in the word fan, but more often it has the sound of the letter V entirely because of the very common word of.
  • OE is expected to have the sound as in the word doe, but it most often has the U sound as in the word nut entirely because of the common word does.
  • the letter S is expected to have the sound as in the word set, but more often it has the sound of the letter Z because of the common words is and was and plurals such as bags.
  • E and O are expected to have the sound as in the words pet and not, but most often have the sound of U in nut because of the illogical use of them in unaccented syllables.
  • IE is expected to have the sound as in the word lie, but most often has the vowel sound as in the word bee because of changing Y to I and adding ES or ED for plurals and past tenses, and
  • Y most often has the sound of the vowel in the word bee because of words ending in Y, but Y must be used for its “consonant” sound as is yet, as it is expected to be pronounced.

(8) There are 14 vowel phonemes, five of which are spelled with a single letter grapheme (a,e,i,o, and u, as in “That pet did not run.“), five are spelled with a digraph (ae, ee, ie, oe, or ue) or with a macron (pronounded as in “They eat fried tofu.”), and four others are spelled only with digraphs (au, oi, oo, and ou, as in “Haul good oil out.”). There are 24 consonant phonemes, 18 of which are spelled with a single letter grapheme (as in “Yes, Val ‘Zip’ Kim hid our big fan-jet win.“) and six are spelled with a digraph (ch, sh, ng, zh, th, or tt pronounced as in which, wishing, azure, then, and thin).

(9) There is a free computer program on our http://nuenglish.org website which will quickly convert up to about 25 pages of traditionally spelled material at a time into NuEnglish. The program has an English word database of more than 600,000 words and provides NuEnglish spelling in either General American or British dialects. It was prepared by my colleague, Gary Sprunk, who has a masters degree in English Linguistics.

(10) Due to the simplicity and logic of NuEnglish spelling, people who already read traditional spelling can learn the ten simple, unvarying NuEnglish spelling rules in less than ten minutes. In fact, I have seen several people pick up something written in NuEnglish, knowing nothing about NuEnglish and read it aloud to me at almost a normal reading speed with only an occasional two or three second stumble over some of the words. Present readers can return to previous reading speeds after only two or three months of using NuEnglish. Most of the better beginning students can learn to read NuEnglish fluently in about a week, as Dr. Frank Laubach stated. All but the most mentally challenged students can learn to read English fluently in less (perhaps much less) than three months.

In NuEnglish there is very little that must be learned other than the spelling of 38 phonemes and how to blend them into words. Traditional English requires the rote memory (or learning by repeated use) of every word in a person’s reading vocabulary, because there are no spelling rules that do not have exceptions. Most readers have a reading vocabulary of 20,000 or more words. Some readers have reading vocabularies of more than 70,000 words.

There are ten invariable spelling rules in NuEnglish ; some of them are specifically to remove the variability of spelling (due to slight differences in pronunciation by different speakers) so that the Respeller computer program could be prepared to convert traditional spelling to NuEnglish.

Most of what you need to know to read NuEnglish, besides the spelling of the phonemes, is the following. Since we have billions of dollars worth of computers and printing equipment using Q and X, which are unneeded for a spelling system, NuEnglish uses these two letters for two consonant phoneme blends. The letter X is used ONLY for the KS phoneme blend, as in exit (X also represents another consonant and three other consonant blends in traditional spelling). The letter Q (NOT QU)is used ONLY for the KW phoneme blend as in quit (Qit in NuEnglish), but the Q also represents another consonant and another consonant blend in traditional spelling.

Traditional English does not distinguish between the two “long U” sounds as in the words sue and fuel. The vowel sound in these two words is different, but they are spelled the same. This ambiguity is removed in NuEnglish by spelling the first sound as “sue” and the second as “fyuel.” This is equivalent to placing an F phoneme before the English word Yule. In short, traditional English does not show whether the Y sound is there or not.

Many, if not most, people pronounce the words watt and what (and many similar words) differently. The word what is different from the word watt by having an expulsion of air (an H phoneme) before a W phoneme. In traditional spelling this phoneme blend is spelled WH. In NuEnglish, it is spelled as it is pronounced; for example, the word what is spelled hwot in NuEnglish.

The only deviation from phonemic spelling is for numbers of less than a million. Thus: “U 3-foeld inkrees”, “1 and 1 iz 2″, “Sum-1 iz at thu doer”, and “Ie’l bee u-wae foer 4 daez”. The reasons are because numerals are universally understood, are very compact, and are easily distinguished from “won”, “to”, “too”, “for”, “fore”, and “ate”. Ordinal numbers are written as a numeral plus “tt” or “ett”: “4tt”, “10tt”, “100tt”, “20ett”, “30ett”, excepting “1st”, “2nd”, and “3rd”, and the pronunciation of “5tt” (fiftt).

The use of numerals instead of spelling the numbers is optional and should not be used when filling out forms such as bank checks which specify spelling out the numbers, or whenever the number 1 could possibly be confused with the letters I or L, or when the letter O could possibly be confused with zero. This is all you need to know to read NuEnglish. To spell NuEnglish consistently, it is necessary to follow the other NuEnglish spelling rules.

Teaching Reading: Are You Resisting An Improvement?

Generally speaking, people resist change — often resisting even a change which would be an obvious improvement. People often prefer to keep courses of action with known disadvantages rather than gamble that the unknown disadvantages of a new course of action will outweigh the known, obvious advantages. That being the case, people often overestimate the difficulty of making a change as a way of resisting the change.

Does that describe you when considering solving our very serious educational problems in English-speaking countries? As any teacher will probably tell you, reading ability is the foundation of all learning because there are few, if any, subjects in school which do not require reading for class-work, home-work, and testing. When considering the education that their children are receiving, most parents are — or certainly want to be — optimistic about their children’s schooling. They may read about educational problems, but they believe that their children’s school is doing a good job.

If, however, the statistics prove that 48.7% of U.S. adults read and write so poorly that they cannot hold an above-poverty-level-wage job — as the most comprehensive and statistically accurate study of U.S. adult literacy ever conducted proves in a report titled Adult Literacy in America — what are the chances that your optimistic assessment of your child’s school is a little too optimistic? More importantly, if there is a proven way of improving the teaching of reading in English-speaking schools, are you overestimating the difficulty of implementing that teaching system?

The website of Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., two non-profit educational corporations, will convince even the most skeptical observers that the problem of functional illiteracy in English is both more serious than most people realize and can be solved more easily than most people would dare to dream. The reason this is true is that if people do not know how to solve a problem they have a natural tendency to downplay the problem’s seriousness, and if people learn that the simple, easily-implemented solution is spelling reform, they may immediately think of objections to spelling reform and wrongly judge that changing the spelling would be much more difficult than it really is.

Functional illiteracy in English not only causes serious physical, mental, emotional, medical, and financial problems for an estimated 600 hundred million of English-speaking illiterates around the world (including more than 93 million in the U.S. alone) but also costs every U.S. adult — reader and non-reader alike — more than $5,000 every year. Due to the seriousness of the problem of ending functional illiteracy in English, you are challenged to carefully examine the problem and get an overview of the solution. The details of the solution are in the breakthrough book about ending our very real literacy crisis.

Are You SURE Your Young Child Will Learn to Read Well?

If you are even a little bit concerned that your preschool child (or a child in the first three grades in school) might not learn to read (and if you are not, is it just false bravado, considering recent news reports and literacy studies?), you badly need to see what is in store in the U.S. educational system. This, by the way, is NOT bashing the U.S. educational system. For an overview of the problem and a proven solution, see this amazing website about English functional illiteracy. For an even more authoritative and comprehensive exposition of the facts, see the breakthrough book, available from Amazon.com, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition.

Teaching Reading

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Dr. Frank Laubach spent almost his entire adult life teaching thousands of illiterates around the world to read. He taught in more than 313 alphabetic non-English languages and even invented an alphabet for 220 of these languages. In some of the simpler languages, such as one or more dialects of the Philippine language, he could teach an adult illiterate to read fluently in only one hour! In 95 percent of these languages he could teach students to read in from one to twenty days. In 98 percent of these languages he could teach students to read in less than three months. As far as grammar and syntax is concerned, English is neither the easiest nor the most difficult. It is easier than several of the European languages, every one of which can be learned in less than three months.

Most students who learn to read English need at least two years to learn to read and the Adult Literacy in America study, the most extensive and statistically accurate of U.S. adults ever commissioned by the U.S. government, proves that a shocking 48.7 percent of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate, defined as being unable to read and write well enough to hold and above-poverty-level-wage job. In Dr. Laubach’s two books, Teaching the World to Read and Forty Years With the Silent Billion, he never mentioned even one student that he could not teach to read. On page 48 of Dr. Laubach’s book, Forty Years With the Silent Billion, he stated, “If we spelled English phonetically, American children could be taught to read in a week.”

Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., two non-profit educational corporations, collaborated over the last several years in perfecting a simple spelling system such as Dr. Laubach recommended, a spelling system called NuEnglish.

Teaching NuEnglish will be very easy. The first step, of course, is to teach the student(s) the letters which represent all of the sounds (or more particularly, phonemes) in English words in the following NuEnglish spelling rules. A phoneme is the smallest sound in a language or dialect that is used to distinguish between syllables and words. There are 14 vowel phonemes and 24 consonant phonemes needed for effective communication in NuEnglish. Five of the vowels are single letters and nine are digraphs (two letters), unless macrons are used, then it is 9 single and 4 digraph. There are 24 consonant phonemes, six of which are digraphs. (The 38 phonemes used in NuEnglish are in bold, italic, underlined capitals for emphasis. No emphasis — bold, italic, capitals, underline, or even color — affects the pronunciation in NuEnglish.)

NuEnglish Spelling Rules

1. Each letter or combination of letters has only one sound, as follows:

5 short vowels: use A, E, I, O, and U for the more-often-used sounds, as in “That pet did not run.”

5 long vowels: Ā, Ē, Ī, Ō, and Ū use macrons [mākronz] (lines over vowels) for the less-often-used sounds, as in “Thā ēt frīd tōfū” (“They eat fried tofu”), or add an E to the vowels (AE, EE, IE, OE, or UE) if macrons are not available, as in “Mae Green tried roe glue”.

(Note: “short” and “long” as used here are traditional and popular, but not phonetic, terms.)

4 other vowel sounds: use AU, OO, OI, and OU for the sounds in “Haul good oil out.”

18 consonant sounds represented by a single letter: B, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, R, S. T, V, W, Y, and Z, use the letters that are used most often as in “Yes, Val ‘Zip’ Kim hid our big fan-jet win.”

6 consonant sounds represented by digraphs (two letters): (1) use TH and TT for the sounds as in “then” and “thin”, respectively; (2) use C ONLY in CH as in “chip”; (3) use SH and NG for the sounds in “wishing”; (4) use ZH as in the English word “muzhik” (= a peasant in czarist Russia), for the sound of Z in “azure”, of S in “treasure”, and of G in “massage”.

Use Q ONLY as follows: use Q (not QU) for the KW sound as “qit” (“quit”).

Use X ONLY as follows: use X for the KS sound of “exit”, as in “suxes” (“success”) and for CS, which has a KS sound, as in academic subjects: “fizix”, “mattum*atix”, and “ekon*omix” (“physics”, “mathematics”, and “economics”). Use KS instead of X for plurals and possessives ending in K, as in “duks” and “duk’s” (“ducks” and “duck’s”).

The two “long U” sounds: There are two “long U” sounds in English, as in “fuel” and “sue”. To distinguish them, NuEnglish spelling of the English word “fuel” is “fyūl”. This is equivalent to adding the sound of the letter F before the English word “yule”.

The WH consonant blend: All WH- words with the W- sound are spelled HW- (the actual sound) in NuEnglish.

2. There are no silent letters and no double letters that make a single sound, except OO and TT—and EE if macrons aren’t used.

3. All sounds must be shown, except for the NG sound in NK and NX, as in “bank” and “jinx”.

4. For consistency, the “-able” and “-ible” suffixes are always written “-ubul” in NuEnglish, as in the words “kāpubul” and “terubul” (“capable” and “terrible”).

5. So that no words seem foreign, all words, including proper names and trademarks such as “Jon” and “Drānō” (“John” and “Drano”), are spelled phonemically.

6. When proper nouns and trademarks are first used, for clarity and legality the traditional spelling will appear between square brackets after the proper noun or trademark, as in “Mattyū [Matthew]” and “Tīlunaul [Tylenol]“. The only exceptions are the names of the months and days (“Janyūarē”, “Mundā”, etc.), and proper nouns used as common nouns, as in “Mok” (“Mach” number).

7. An asterisk (*), pronounced “star” when spelling aloud, immediately precedes a primary stressed vowel(s) or semivowel, as in “qōt*āshun”, ;”sur*ound”, “dāb*yū” (“quotation”, “surround”, “debut”), unless the primary stress is on the first syllable, as in “hapē” (“happy”).

8. Compound words (words composed of 2 or more words) are hyphenated, as in “hot-daug” and “finggur-print” (“hotdog” and “fingerprint”). A prefix is considered a separate word when its meaning is clear and the meaning of the rest of the compound word is clear also, such as “a-”, “anti-”, “dis-”, “non-”, “re-” and “un-” in “ā-mōrul”, “antī-statik”, “dis-up*ir”, “non-profit”, “rē-dū” and “un-butun” (“amoral”, “antistatic”, “disappear”, “nonprofit”, “redo” and “unbutton”). This special consideration for prefixes will improve sight understanding, and may not burden a word with more punctuation, as the hyphen may substitute for a star. Chemical names hyphenate all prefixes, such as “polē-tetru-flōrō-ettilēn” (“polytetrafluoroethylene”).

9. Use an apostrophe to show contractions, as in “kan’t” for “kan not”, or possession, as in “Tom’z” (“Tom’s”).

10. The only deviation from phonemic spelling is for numbers. Thus: “U 3-fōld inkrēs”, “1 and 1 iz 2″, “Sum-1 iz at thu dōr”, and “Īl bē u-wā fōr 4 dāz”. The reasons are because numerals are universally understood, are very compact, and are easily distinguished from “won”, “to”, “too”, “for”, “fore”, and “ate”. Ordinal numbers are written as a numeral plus “tt” or “ett”: “4tt”, “10tt”, “100tt”, “20ett”, “30ett”, excepting “1st”, “2nd”, and “3rd”, and the pronunciation of “5tt” (fiftt). The use of numerals instead of spelling the numbers is optional and should not be used when filling out forms such as bank checks which specify spelling out the numbers, or whenever the number 1 could possibly be confused with the letters I or L, or when the letter O could possibly be confused with zero.

After learning these ten simple, unvarying rules, you can remember the pronunciation of the NuEnglish graphemes by learning two memory aid sentences. The first sentence has all fourteen vowels in alphabetical order: long vowels, short vowels, and then four other vowels. The first sentence also has three consonant blends: GR, BL and ND. The second sentence contains all of the consonants represented by digraphs. The two sentences together contain all the consonants represented by a single letter.

Mae Green lied, “Joe Blue and Kevin ‘top gun’ Wood haul our oil.”
Qit mezhuring fish hwich yuez this ttin box
.

The spelling rules to be taught first, of course, are spelling rules 1, 2, 3, 7, and 10. The other rules were added to make NuEnglish consistent enough to prepare a computer program for converting traditional English into NuEnglish and can be taught last. Begin by teaching only one student at a time. If you are an accomplished teacher you might be able to effectively teach five or six students at a time.

Spelling rule 1 shows the phonemes and the letter or two-letter combination used to spell each phoneme. The important thing to know is to teach the students four or five phoneme spellings every few days and do not progress to the next phonemes until they have mastered the ones already taught.

The Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis Teachers’ Guide and the Beginners’ NuEnglish Workbook will give you all the guidance and teaching materials you need. Even without these resources, you will be able to teach most students if you make certain that every student quickly and unfailingly pronounces all 38 phonemes correctly when they see its NuEnglish grapheme on a set of flash cards you have made. Frequent review is important and should be done after learning each group of about five pronunciations of the graphemes. This involves teaching the student the SOUND of the phoneme NOT the NAME of the grapheme (letter or letters) that represent the phoneme. The names of the English letters, especially the letters H, Q, W, X, and Y, give little or no clue as to the sound they represent.

Many, if not most, of the students will have been “taught the alphabet” —that is, they will know the names of the letters—before you begin teaching them. As a result the very first thing you must teach the students is that the names of the vowels are only vowels but the names of the consonants consist of the consonant AND a vowel because many of the consonants cannot be said without a vowel. Tell the students that from this point on in their reading classes they should refer to the graphemes by the phoneme they represent rather than the name of the letter. (A grapheme is a letter, combination of letters, or a symbol used to represent a phoneme, syllable, or word.) They should be taught to say the consonant phonemes of all consonants graphemes except the letter X by following the consonant with an U sound, as in the word “nut,” by placing as little emphasis on the U as possible. The Q blend will be pronounced KWU and the X blend will be pronounced UKS.

Spelling NuEnglish words.

When spelling NuEnglish—other than orally—the student will simply record, in consecutive order, the graphemes for the phonemes in the word. When spelling orally, the student should consecutively pronounce the phonemes in the word NOT the letter names. They will already have learned the grapheme (letter or letters) used to represent these phonemes. For example the oral NuEnglish spelling of the words spelled “exquisitely formed” in traditional spelling would be “e-uks-kwu-i-zu-u-tu-lu-ee fu-oe-ru-mu-du,” placing as little emphasis on the U sound in the consonants as possible. The Letter names should only be used when referring to the physical letter’s form or when referring to abbreviations such as FBI, CIA, FDA, TV, OK, ASAP, etc.

Teaching the phonemes that the graphemes represent could take as much as three weeks, especially if you do not teach them every day. The remainder of the teaching time will be needed to help the students blend the phonemes into words. Begin this process by teaching the students some of the consonant blends. The following figure shows the fifteen most-used consonant blends, so these should be learned first. These fifteen consonant blends are all of the blends that occur in more than one percent of the words in a typical portion of English prose.

Frequency of Occurrence of Two or More Adjacent Consonants

Percent of Test Sample Blends

TH 33.1
ND 8.4
NG 4.5
TT 3.9
SH 3.2
RD 3.0
ST 3.0
NT 2.7
HW 2.5
FR 1.8
CH 1.6
LD 1.3
SP 1.3
NS 1.3
RZ 1.2
LZ 1.1
RLD 1.0
NGZ 1.0
BR 1.0
TR 1.0

The phonemes are in bold italic.

The twenty blends in this figure (which include the HW blend and five phonemes) made up roughly 78 percent of the blends in the sample text. Concerning the two sounds unlike English: (1) the TT phoneme makes up only about 4 percent of the total blends, and (2) the Q blend makes up less than 1 percent of the total. Note that only two three-letter blends (RLD, as in world, and NGZ, as in things) appear in the list—each of them occurs in only 1 percent of the consonant blends.

The following table shows the 100 most-used words in typical English prose. By learning these words, the students will know about 54 percent of the words they will see in most written material, so the students should be taught these words first.

The most important idea to impart to the beginning students is that reading is fun and exciting. This will primarily be true if you choose reading material that is of interest to the students. This means that you should use children’s classic literature appropriate for the age range of your students who are children. Do not be concerned about choosing reading material with a very limited vocabulary because most six-year-olds have a speaking vocabulary of 24,000 words or more.

The One Hundred Most-Used English Words*

Columns 1, 3, and 5 are English, columns 2, 4, and 6
are NuEnglish, if different, listed in order from the
top of the first column to bottom of the last.

the thē, thu has haz she shē
of uv one 1 made mād
and our other uthur
to an into in-tū
a ā, u been ben men
in no must
that their thār people pēpul
it there ther said sed
is iz were wur may
I Ī so man
for fōr my about ub*out
be if over ōvur
was wuz me some sum
as az what hwut these thēz
you would wood two 2
with witt who very verē
he when hwen before be-fōr
on him great grāt
have hav them could kood
by her hur such
not war waur firts 1st
at your yur upon up-on
this any enē every evrē
are or more mōr how hou
we now nou come kum
his hiz its us
but time tīm shall shal
they thā up should shood
all aul do then
or ōr uot like līk
which hwich can kan well wel
will wil than little litul
from frum only ōnlē say
had
Note that 25 percent of the words in this table are spelled the same in English and NuEnglish. These 100 words constitiute 54.3 % of the individual words found in the 100,000 word sample. The first ten words make up 26,677 of the entire 100,000 words (i.e. 26.677 percent).

Almost any student, except the most seriously mentally challenged, will be able to learn to read NuEnglish in one to three weeks. Due to (1) the very serious physical, mental, emotional, medical, and financial problems for every functionally illiterate person in primarily English-speaking nations, (2) because of the monetary cost of illiteracy for both the illiterate and the fluent readers (at least $5,000 each every year), and (3) for the well-being of the nation itself, ideally, the spelling of all English words will eventually be NuEnglish spelling.

Until that change is made, however, students will have two choices, (1) continue reading only NuEnglish material — which will become increasingly available or which the student can produce by scanning traditionally spelled material into a computer file which is then entered into the Respeller program available for free at http://NuEnglish.org, or (2) attempt the difficult task of learning traditionally spelled material. For most students, this will require a one-on-one tutor for at least one year.

Although some students will be able to make the changeover to traditional spelling without too much difficulty, others will not. The lack of logic and consistency in traditional spelling can be a serious problem for some students, including some very intelligent students. In fact, some of the more intelligent students will have trouble because they look for logic and consistency when learning something new — and failing to find logic and consistency can be a severe source of frustration for them.

This is the reason that some of the spelling systems designed to be a stepping-stone to traditional spelling — such as Initial Teaching Alphabet— have been abandoned. This is why Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. are proposing that our chaotic, ridiculous spelling system be replaced with NuEnglish, rather than using NuEnglish as a stepping-stone to traditional spelling for beginning students. This is why Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis was written and provides overwhelming evidence to justify the change. This breakthrough books provides details that most blog readers do not want to spend the time studying on the internet. The Amazon.com detail page for this book contains an editorial review and numerous customer reviews — one four star review and nine five star reviews (the maximum) — as well as other valuable information about the book and how it came to be written. Click here to go to the Amazon.com detail page.

Tips for Teaching Your Child to Learn to Read

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Modification of an Article by C Michael Levy, PhD

While teaching your child to read is something that should not be taken lightly, adding a little bit of fun into the activity can really make things go a lot smoother. It is important that your child learns how to read efficiently. This article is assuming that you desire to teach your child the NuEnglish way of spelling, which you can learn here. The home page of this website will introduce you to the overwhelming need for solving our literacy crisis rather than just fighting the symptoms of the problem, as we have been doing for more than two centuries now. For the link to the home page, http://LearnToReadNow.org, click here.

When Should We Start Teaching the Kids to Read?

For most children, the time is ripe for them to be introduced to reading when they can clearly distinguish shapes from one another. Although they may not know the names of the letters of our alphabet or what role those letters have in our lives and they haven’t yet developed the concept of a “word,” this is the best time to begin slowly introducing them to the world of words. To begin to teach your children how to read and to widen their vocabulary, here is some advice for doing so.

Reading Aloud Time

One thing that can be very helpful is to simply read to them as frequently as possible. Try to go beyond reading only bedtime stories by reading aloud selected commercial messages that appear on your TV screen, by reading aloud grocery store ads, by reading emails that you have written to them, and reading to them from favorite books of yours. This really helps because, as with most things, the more often that they are read to, the more they become used to it. By listening to you read to them regularly, they can also begin to build word associations and begin to understand that there is a connection between the content that you are reading and the sounds of the words that you are speaking.

Visual Stimuli

A fun, but effective, method of teaching your child to develop pre-reading skills is to use blocks or cards. Some children will later show themselves to be visual learners, and this method will work splendidly for them. To begin with, just start with blocks, PostIts, or flash cards showing alphabetic letters and getting them to read the one letter at a time until they can do so (almost) without error. Teach them the name of the letter, but more importantly, teach them the sound that the letter represents. The sound that each letter represents can be found here. After displaying the items containing only letters, advance to a combination of letters, such as the blends “ch,” “th,” “ng,”and “sh.”

Once the child has become proficient here and has started on a more formal or structured reading program, consider this novel way to add a learning to read element to your every day environment: Label everything in your house (or as many objects as you can without wreaking havoc with your décor). This means to take a blank PostIt or flash card and write on it the name of an object in your house, such as “stoev,” “desk,” “doer,” or “char.” (This is the NuEnglish spellings of stove, desk, and chair.) Start by labeling a few objects that the child encounters on a regular basis, then gradually adding a few more each day. If the appearance of your house begins to suffer unbearably, take away an old card every time that you add a new one. Then, perhaps on a weekly basis, cycle through all of the used (previously displayed) cards with the child to ensure that he or she can still recognize the object that the card “goes with.” Because modern reading programs strongly de-emphasize rote memorization, this technique is best saved until the child’s structured reading program is well under way.

You should go into detail on everything that you read with your child. It is okay that you talk at an elementary level for a little bit with your child (baby talk) but you should be watchful that you don’t overdo it lest the child end up with a much weaker vocabulary than her or his peers. Using detailed phrasings and going into depth of what you are reading (explaining everything) can really help assist the child in grasping the concept underlying the words. If your child asks what you are doing while you are looking at grocery store flyers in the newspaper, don’t just say “Looking for good deals” or “Looking at flyers” but actually go into detail and say something like “We’re going to go grocery shopping later so I thought I would look at the deals in the flyers that came with the newspaper so I can save money by picking the right grocery store.” This should help the child get a greater understanding of what you are really doing. Even though the details may apparently escape the child, the highly plastic child’s brain will take in that message, process a part of it, and store in memory a bit of knowledge from that moment.

Have a few good conversations with your child every day. Speak to them at a level that they can understand and carefully listen to them. Try to re-interpret their basic or naïve understanding of the matter being discussed so that their knowledge of their surrounding environment grows. Not only will this help them later by building a greater vocabulary, it will help strengthen the bond between you and your child. Unfortunately, too many adults don’t speak with their children as often as they should or could.

Learning to speak and listen better is part of being able to learn how to read better as well. So you should make sure that you incorporate every aspect into their daily routine. You should listen to what your children have to say, their feelings, and let them express whatever is on their mind.

There are significant benefits in teaching your child to have both a very strong vocabulary and a strong ability to read text perfectly so the task shouldn’t be taken lightly. Make it fun, but make sure that it gets done. Even though you are home schooling them, because in most cases learning to read begins at a early age, the child need not need to know that the “game” that you are playing with him or her is actually an informal lesson that you are teaching.

C Michael Levy, PhD, has been writing and publishing for decades, with more than 300 articles and a dozen books to his credit. Google his name to find his articles.