[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Summer 1980, p1]
[Also on this page: IRA convention, A Spelling Reform Step.]
[Newell Tune, see Newsletter, Anthology, Bulletins.]

Causes of Failure in the Schools,

by Irene & Newell Tune.

"The home has the most important part in the motivation of children (pupils)." (Irene Tune). Certainly the responsibility for achievement or failure in school by children must be shared as much or more by parents as by the teachers. Homes in which a parent is really concerned that his/her children get a good education and show the child that he/she is really interested in the child's progress, seldom have a failure or dropout of their children. Homes in which parents read to little children as soon as the children have a sufficient understanding of the spoken language, start the process of motivation early enuf to create in the child a strong desire to learn to read. So no matter how difficult it is to learn to read, the child will (eventually) be able to overcome the handicaps of our illogical spelling.

But should we be satisfied that our children can eventually learn to read even if it does take an inordinately long time? No, not if there is an easier way - a way to overcome the obstacles that every child finds in his path to learning - learning to read: the most important part of every pupil's goal in going to school.

Everyone knows, or should know, that English spelling which is an unsystematic, unreliable, archaic form of written communication is the greatest handicap to learning to read. Yet little has been done to alleviate this obstacle. In England, over a decade and a half ago, an experiment was tried to show that a detour around the boulders that obstruct progress in the path of education, can be a quicker, easier means of achieving the end - to wit: learning to read (and in our conventional spelling, too). Even tho the results of this experiment were quite convincing, many of our stubborn, die-hard educational supervisors still cling to the unanswered prayer that there must be a better way or method of teaching reading - when a little logical thinking by out stubborn, unthinking educational administrators should have pointed out to them the folly of their present course of action. Until we can convince our educational hierarchy of the futility of searching for better methodology, when it is really the medium of education - our conventional spelling - which is the cause of the trouble, we will get no progress in achieving better reading achievement standards in our schools.


Annual Convention of the International Reading Association
at St. Louis, Mo. May 5-9, 1980.

It will include two special meetings of interest to our readers:

Committee on Spelling Research - co-sponsored by the British Simplified Spelling Society.

Program Organizer: John Downing, Univ. of Victoria, Can.
Chairperson: yet to be selected.
Speaker John Downing, President, Simplified Spelling Society.
Subject: How Children Think About Spelling.

The other, a joint IRA-Phonemic Spelling Council meeting, will be held Thurs, May 8, 1980.

Organizer: Emmett Albert Betts, Ph.D., LL.D. Research Prof. Emeritus, Univ. of Miami, Fla.
Topic: "Word Perception: Strategies and Tactics"
Chairperson: Dr. Katherine P. Betts, Florida Southern College.
Dr. Emmett A. Betts, Univ. of Miami.
Dr. Lou E. Burmeister, Univ. of Texas at El Paso.
Dr. John Downing, Univ. of Victoria.
Dr. Thomas Horn, Univ. of Texas at Austin.
Dr. Milton Jacobson, Univ. of Virginia.
Dr. Donald C. McFeely, Indiana Univ. at Penn.
Dr. Michael Strange, Univ. of Texas at Austin.

Panelists present facets of English orthography (writing system) which facilitate and interfere with pupil-acquisition of word-perception skills, e.g., phonic rules in terms of application/exception ratios, ambiguity of rules, syllabication generalizations, effects of syllable and phrase stress on applicability of phonic rules. Demonstrate techniques for application and for teaching, e.g., "first-aid" for pupils requesting help during silent reading, phonics countdowns and substitution methods, a Russian training system in word-perception skills. Audience questions may address the above, as well as constraints influencing word perception and factors contributing to effective teaching of word-perception skills.


Notice: Due to greatly increased costs, the cost of a subscription to Spelling Progress Bulletin will be increased to S 4.00 a year, effective July 1, 1980.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Summer 1980, p6]

A Spelling Reform Step, by Frank T. du Feu

In an interesting personal letter to me from Frank T. du Feu, received last summer (undated), he proposed what he believed to be, "... the biggest change in Eurospelling that I have made for more than ten years."

The change he proposed was for the elimination of the unneeded 'w' in words commonly spelt with the unstressed 'ow'. Thus 'arrow' would be spelt, 'arro', which would be comparable to our usual spelling of words like: alto, banjo, buffalo, canto, cargo, ditto, domino, and dynamo - none of which appear to suffer from the missing 'w.'

Mr. du Feu provided a list of about 70 words to demonstrate the lojic of his proposal, which I append here:

EURO spelt without the w.

canto, cargo
ditto, domino
dynamo, eko
embargo, foeto
haelo, heero
innuendo, limbo
martello, motto
neegro, piano
portico, potaeto
raedio, saego
soelo, stucco
tango, tempo
tobacco, veeto
volcaeno, zeero
EURO simplified omitting w

arro, barro
bello, billo
boro, bungalo
burro, callo
elbo, fallo
follo(er), furro
gallo(es), hallo
harro, hollo
marro, medo
mello, minno
motto, narro
pillo, sallo
shado, shallo
sorro, sparro
swallo, tallo
wido(er), willo
windo, winno

Mr. du Feu was careful to point out that several compound words should not be included in this deletion of the unsounded 'w', such as
'rain + bow', which should remain 'rainbow.'
'oever + flow', which should remain 'oeverflow.'
To such modifications, I would reluctantly subscribe, which could be given a simpl rule: (if eny is needed), the final 'long-o' phoneem be spelt with a singl 'o' rather than 'ow'; the latter being reserved for such words with a different sound, such as: bow-wow, how now brown cow, hibrow, and hay-mow.

Harvie Barnard.

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