[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society J18 1995/1 p11-17]
[Valerie Yule: see Book, Journals, Newsletters, Media, Anthology and Bulletins, Personal View 10 and web.]

"Teach yourself to read at home by video" problems and promises.

Valerie Yule.

ABSTRACT.

An account of an experimental video exploring the potential for adult literacy, and calling for further development. Video and CD-ROM make possible a new cognitive methodology linking the written and spoken language in a half-hour overview of learning to read and spell, for home use. It has a sound basis in reading theory and research.
If people could help to teach themselves to read by video at home, the consequences include:-
However, the difficulties faced by a project to develop an experimental video for home literacy mirror the difficulties faced by current attempts to improve English spelling. Vast and dedicated industries teach, remediate and research reading in English, but there is ambivalence about universal literacy, particularly about making it easier to learn to read and write.

For the individual learner, learning to read well requires motivation, effort and understanding, as much as any other sport. Yet there is public uncertainty about whether the effort is worthwhile - after all, do not computer games develop the intelligence, and databases supply the information, that is required for the next century? The correct answer to this supposedly rhetorical question is NO, but it is an answer often ignored in the rhetoric.

If understanding how to read could be simplified, motivation could be improved. This article describes a video project that would be a good complement to Rondthaler and Lias' Sound-Speler computer program. It makes clear that reading and writing would be easier if English spelling were cleaned up, and gives clues about how this cleaning up could be done.

A 'Teach yourself to read' home video, for learners to find out how to read and for failing readers to 'find out where they got stuck!

The experimental video encourages self-help. Its half-hour's overview and demonstration of how to learn to read include an exposition of the English writing system, with animated computer graphics that give an overview of 'what it helps to know' about the writing system for reading and spelling. Students relate each point of their learning to reading that is provided in Script and Picture Manuals which confirm and complement the content, and to reading of their own choice, rather than being directed to activities'. The video is designed to be watched and re-watched at least three times, so that what seems at first complex and packed becomes simple and unpacked, and students can concentrate on the sections which they feel most need their attention.

Computer animated graphics can be designed to teach reading at an adult level of understanding, altho they are so intrinsically simple that children can follow the major teaching points. Children from three upwards also enjoy the intrinsic entertainment of animated cartoon on screen and have a preview of what lies ahead in preparing to read. There is no live film or extraneous content for extra entertainment. It is not like television literacy programs, seen 'one- off', which by their nature must be diffuse and serialised. It caters for individual differences since the watcher is in control, to skip or repeat. On first watching, there is an overall view of the whole reading process. Then the learner can go back and watch more carefully for the detail, or pass over sections according to personal needs.

The video demonstrates the clues that good readers and spellers discover by intuition if not by direct teaching, but poor readers have missed out on. Since so many adults have become lost to literacy during their first year at school, the experimental video starts from scratch, so that failing learners can check out their gaps and confusion, which so often go unrecognised. Everything included is something I have found as a teacher that many adult learners have not known, or have been confused about - even such basics as how to hear sounds in words, or that there are only twenty-six letters, not thousands.

A further advantage of a half-hour meta-cognitive overview of the task is that it sets out a cognitive map for learning, with 'advance organizers', so that at all times the learner can see how immediate learning fits into the total picture of what has gone before and what is to come (Piaget 1959, Bruner 1960, Downing 1979, Venezky 1970, Tzeng 1983). Video-graphics are superb as visual 'maps' which are economical summaries of processes and knowledge, to present complex information in a condensed form. They can chunk and link information (Miller 1956), using 'one way to teach a thousand things'. The mapping strategy also takes advantage of masculine visual-spatial abilities. As both surface structures and cognitive structure are presented simultaneously, multi-level, without distracting diversions for entertainment', the viewer can take in what she can at each viewing, and deepen and extend it on repeat viewing. Its presentation avoids current trends of film and television to flash at speed and exaggerate visuals, preventing intelligent reflection.

Content of the video.

Songs and a story demonstrate features of letters, words, sentences and text, with cartoons and graphics pyrotechnics that make the print intrinsically interesting.
The songs also show:
- How words and sentence structures are built up, and how to begin reading words.
- Nonsense word-plays show how to use analogies and rimes in word recognition, and highlight the importance of meaning.
- The basic underlying English vowel spelling system and consonant-vowel combinations.
They are shown the useful spelling strategy of observing whether words have 'too many letters', 'too few letters' 'the wrong letters' or 'just right' spellings. Common and uncommon spelling patterns are shown, and elaborated in manual. Some teachers condemn the video for giving away this information about English spelling, as being 'demoralising'. However, students, and the general public, have a democratic right to know. It also lays the ground-work for expectation of reforms in spelling.

Rationale.

The innovative possibilities of take-home video and CD-ROM for teaching literacy, and in particular, adult literacy.

A hundred years ago my grandfather taught himself dozens of skills from Do-It-Yourself books, but he could not have taught himself to read from a book. In the past, it has not been possible to 'teach yourself to read' at home, because learners could not read the books to teach them.

Many literacy programs using video are now being developed, but except for this innovative 'TYTR' (Teach Yourself To Read) project, they rely on principles developed before video. Yet there is opportunity for revolutionised teaching principles that take advantage of the direct link of speech and the written word, the potential of animated computer graphics, and the learner's control over viewing, reviewing and application to real reading, so that no time is wasted.

Videos for Do-It-Yourself, from assembling domestic gadgets to brain surgery, show how well animated graphics can explicate complex concepts and present them in visually fascinating form. Videos that teach foreign writing systems show how to read English written language too. Adult literacy programs already use the electronic technology of computer software, audiotapes, and live-film video. Television literacy programs for adults such as the British BBC On the Move, and the Australian ABC Between the Lines try to encourage adults to want to read and to take courses. The approach is deliberately low-key, in view of the sensitivities of poor readers and non-readers in literate society.
'I dream a lot. I dream about people and about reading. I think it would be great to read, you know, to read something, a book or even about something that was in the newspaper'.
(Theme words for initial reading in the adult-literacy audiotape produced by the Australian Broadcasting Commission for International Literacy Year.)

Animated graphics are used in computer software that teaches and tests on specific aspects of reading and writing, and in children's television such as Sesame Street. However, as far as I know, the experimental video here described, started in 1981, is the first to take up the concept and challenge of teaching older learners 'how to' from the very beginning, by a single-session overview video-graphic for take-home adult literacy in English.

Users of a take-home literacy video.

A half-hour video can be cheap and accessible at local video-libraries, public libraries and shops, work-places, schools and courses.

Ex-literates and poor readers. This concept of 'take-home' literacy video-graphics is primarily but not only designed for adults who are completely or functionally illiterate in English, to use individually at home because they are unable or unwilling to attend courses. The video makes learning possible without social embarrassment, and it is so different from previous experiences that it can avoid activating the old anxiety responses.

The video takes account of the cognitive and motivational resources and needs of adults and teenagers who have been thru the school system without learning to read, or who have become ex-literates, or remain very poor readers. Typically they have missed out on essential clues, have developed habits and strategies that handicap them, have a morale block about reading that is more disabling than their original childhood weaknesses, find formal learning situations difficult, do not know how to put their own effort into learning, their early experiences deter them from classroom situations, and they watch television casually with scattered concentration. They may have learned expectations to be pushed in their lessons, with the teacher doing the work, since, as in sports training, work that is essential can be exciting, satisfying and delightful. Sometimes their learning problem turns out to be only some simple gap or confusion that has never been recognised, such as 'Are there only 26 letters? I thought there were thousands!' 'The basic cause of reading difficulty is confusion' was the finding of M.D. Vernon's pioneering research in 1957.

Former Child 'dyslexics'. Adults who have been thru the school system without learning to read have outgrown the immaturities that handicapped them between the critical ages of five to eight. They now also have adult abilities to compensate for any continuing weaknesses, and can direct their intelligence independently. The novel approach of an entertaining video can step around their emotional block about reading.

In my professional work as a clinical psychologist, when I was asked to diagnose the intrapersonal defects of possible 'dyslexics', I found that taking them thru a single session of 'what they need to know to learn to read' was a 'teaching by testing' method that often made further assessment superfluous. This gave me the impetus to construct an experimental video that started from the very beginning, to clear up all the confusions and gaps that I had observed. Someone told to 'LOOK at the word' may not have known how to look. Inability to hear sounds in words is more often a cognitive matter of not knowing how to discern them than due to a neurophysiological defect.

Distance learners. A use-at-home literacy overview could be invaluable for all distance learners who want help with reading and spelling at a basic level.

Poor readers and poor spellers often improve when they are given a way to understand the orthographic task and how to change to better strategies than their ineffective rote-learning.

Complete novices can learn to read without incurring confusions or gaps in information.

Immigrants and other learners of English as a foreign language may be illiterate in their native tongue as well, or they may speak English but not read it, or read it but not to speak it adequately. Immigrants busy establishing themselves can benefit from a half-hour program as a starter, before they are able to take on a full course. Others may be isolated from mainstream of contact for reasons of culture, work-involvement or shyness, and learning in their own homes or workplaces may be the only way that they can move out of their isolation.

Adolescents still at school who begin to realise their handicap if they cannot read, can be motivated to work at learning to read in private, tho they are embarrassed and reluctant in public.

Children. Children as young as three can enjoy cartoon episodes in the video and this initial learning can build up understanding and knowledge for the task ahead.

The role of teachers.

Many adults who prefer to watch at home because they are as yet unwilling to attend classes, could be given the confidence and motivation to join in further courses, to learn more. The video thus gives opportunities for teachers to do what teachers do best, in developing full literacy, while the video does the 'hackwork' for students at home. Teachers can use the video to complement courses, and as a forum or platform for lessons, after all students have watched and rewatched individually. It can be a base for instruction about the writing system and reading strategies, in schools as well as in adult and remedial courses. It can serve a diagnostic function for learners and teachers to find out what students have not known.

The video is not suitable for initial class viewing, except in some primary grades, where young children will join spontaneously in the songs and word-play The social dynamics of a group prevent most people with literacy problems being able to attend to content of a video rather than fidget, particularly if they are under any formal supervision.

The assets of adults learning to read.

Most English-language knowledge of reading and learning to read has come from research in reading and learning to read in the English writing system, using personal contact, print, pencils and computer worksheets. Only recently has significant Anglo-American research attention begun to turn to reading and learning in other writing systems, and the potential of multimedia is still not really understood.

Most teaching of reading is based on research into how children learn, since they are the most usual beginners and the most accessible subjects. There is little research and evaluation of successful teaching of adults, due to the late entry of adult literacy into the educational field and also to the sensitive issue of subjecting adults to assessment. Adult learning differs from how children learn in some important ways, and apart from the build-up of longstanding emotional blocks, the adult beginner and the failing adult reader have advantages over child learners.

Video-graphics can exploit adults' greater cognitive maturity, knowledge, accumulated linguistic skills, experience and the ability to orchestrate efficient strategies. Adults can learn 'top-down' from an overview more easily, with less need for small sequential steps. They can learn more independently and use resources with less need for other help, self-pacing their own learning - once they realise they can. Adults are more capable of holding several things in mind at once, and so can integrate reading strategies more easily. They can work harder than children. Adults can telescope into days or at most weeks learning that takes children months or even years. So an understanding of reading can be gained quickly, and then fluency results from long practice in reading, 'reading what you want to read'. After two hours' work, further exercises with segregated words and sentences are unnecessary except for writing skills.

Adults with cognitive understanding of a task are more motivated can learn more readily, and can reason about it. They have a democratic right to understand the writing system that they must use, rather than simply rote-memorise and guess. But, treated as a children, adults respond like children.

Criticisms of the video.

However, the concept of a take-home video for adult literacy has been criticised, even for use as an adjunct to formal courses. A Victorian government agency for Adult Literacy and Basic Skills rejected it out of hand on the grounds that it is undemocratic and authoritarian to tell adults what others think could help them to learn to read and write; the students should tell their tutor what they want to know, and then they negotiate how they can find itout (vide attitudes reported by Morris, 1994).

Another criticism is that it is immoral to raise students' hopes that they might be able to teach or help themselves in learning to read, because they are bound to be disappointed. Perhaps the tactless title 'Teach Yourself to Read' should have been 'Help Yourself to Read'.

But the usual objection is that the video sets out to explain the writing system and how to decode new words. In the past, normal classroom methods have not been able to teach reading easily or with guaranteed success rates using the alphabetic principle, chiefly because of the deviations of English spelling from its basic underlying system and so this approach has become condemned in many educational circles. Dr Joyce Morris (1994) gives an excellent account of how 'Phonicsphobia' and the present politicised situation came about. Yet now in video we have a medium that can teach the alphabetical approach quickly and effectively, relating the written language directly to the spoken language - which after all, was the original revolutionary principle taken by the trading Phoenicians and the knowledge-loving Greeks because it leads into independent reading and writing more readily than logographics and hieroglyphics.

When the basic learning is only 15-40 letters, and connecting them to hearing the speech sounds in words, the alphabetic principle is 'Easy as ABC'. However, once an alphabetic writing system starts to deviate inconsistently from its relationship to the spoken language, this is more problematic. That is why phonics in English has always been difficult for poorly trained teachers to teach successfully to a significant proportion of children. However, the new technology has the capacity to demonstrate those principles concisely and clearly, and so can avoid the difficulty for which phonics is condemned. This is ironic when there now is an ideal way to teach it.

The theory of reading underlying the video.

("Cut Spelling" used from here on.)

A criticism of th video is that it teaches th alfabetic principle It is stil widely claimd that good readrs do not use or need th alfabetic principl in reading; therefor it shoud not be taut, as it diverts lernrs from developing th strategies of good readrs. (See Morris' acount of th influence of Smith et al, 1994.) This is also mistaken, as reserch evidence shows that good readrs ar betr able to use th principl togethr with othr strategies. Good readrs can identify words as wholes and from asociations of letrs, and this helps them to scan (not the same as skim) whole paragrafs or even pages.

At a central processing levl they also 'hear' what they ar reading, and carry it in short-term memry on an abstract auditry basis, so that they can remembr the beginning of a sentence by th time they get to th end, to follo th continuum sens. They use what they hav red and what they also see coming later to help predict th word that wil come ... ('next') is th word that I woud predict). And they automaticly chek that th word they expectd is correct. Goodman (1976) adoptd th description of reading in English as a 'psycolinguistic gessing game. but 'th good readr need not gess; the bad shoud not' (Gough 1976: 532).

That is, skild reading is both 'top-down', which has been termd 'process-functionl; and 'bottom up' or mecanistic-behaviorl. Th video teaches both. However, popular education filosofies hav tended to polarise on this issue.

'Top-down' theories of reading emfasise non-fonemic sorces of information in reading, and that meaning is an activ reconstruction by th readr. Inference or gessing from context is promoted as th key to fast reading and lerning in many teachrs' coleges and Adult Literacy corses, and biasd. Australian Internationl Literacy Year projects, with oftn explicit dismissl of any need for orthografic strategies to undrstand print. Goodman (1982) and Smith (1985) saw no problem in skipping words that cannot be identified from context, configuration and initial letters, on th grounds that is posibl to comprehend a text even if one word in five is obliterated. [1] Howevr, this is risky advice, and can realy only refer to very simpl text. Efectiv context use also depends on th experience th readr brings to th print. Hence th risk of misinterpretation, with th yung and ignorant being th most handicapd. Th mor weity and complex th message, th mor risky it is to gess from context.

This is a major issue for th teaching of Adult Literacy. A populr instruction to teach adults to read is by 'linguistic gessing', that is, rote-lerning of words from a few memrabl grafic fetures and gessing from context. Words can be lernt as wholes or from 'distinctiv fetures' and initial letrs and context used to identify them, but all words need not be red (cf. th Australian ABC TV and video series and workbook 'Between th Lines, 1991).

'Bottom-up' processes in reading. Th readr sounds out th letrs, combines th sounds, identifies fetures of sound-symbl relationships and orthografic sequences th result is a word, and from th combination of words, transformd mentaly into speech, which is th readr's first language, discovrs th meaning intended by th riter. (See, e.g. Perfetti 1984 and Tarnopol & Tarnopol 1976). From th traditionl asumption that riting is a system of visual signs to symbolise th spoken language, teachers traditionly instructed lernrs how to segment ongoing speech into fonemes, and so to reconstruct speech from fonografemes. It was then expected that th meaning of th ritn words woud be automaticly comprehended, and for most peple it has workd thus - altho not for all.
'It may make no sens to ask whethr a readr goes directly to meaning, because a readr has to, directly or not, go to words, that is to lexicl entries, and th gramaticl relationships between these words...' (Stuart & Coltheart 1988: 184, and Spochr, 1978: 17).
Most of th generations who hav lernt to read using fonic decoding hav not been fixated at 'barking at print' like th unfortunat few. They read for meaning, from th start. Skild readrs hav a wide repertoire of strategies, deriving meaning from th ritn word thru flexibl use of all sorces of information, fonologicl, grafemic, syntactic and semantic, but without incurring information overload (See Downing & Leong 1982).

It woud be imposibl to design a half-hour video, howevr animated, to teach anyone to read independently using 'top-down' and whole-word recognition principls only!

Th literacy video TYTR demonstrates how to integrate both 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' reading strategies, as skild readrs do. These strategies enable lernrs to work out new words independently and acuratly without th comon Adult Literacy tutors' recomended recors of 'asking someone'!

Animated grafics can provide almost one-trial undrstanding of how to go about using fonics to lern to read, and aftr a basic levl, students do not need further direct fonics instruction. (See th US Federal survey of 'practices in th most successful classrooms' in Becoming a Nation of Readers, Anderson et al, 1985.)

Awareness of speech sounds is necessary for decoding.

Animated grafics with sound can teach lernrs th fonologicl awareness esential to be able to aply fonics and lern how to decode successfully. There ar certinly intrinsic difficulties in conscius foneme discrimination for children. Cuntries with almost idealy fonemic spelling systems stil find that most children aged four to sevn can hav dificulty analysing or blending fonemes unless givn suitabl preparation and teaching. (Fowler, Shankweiler & Liberman 1979: 29, Mattingly 1987: 260). Th study of literat Portuguese adults by Morais, Cary, Alegria & Bertelson (1979) is also a standard citation on this point.

But in ordr to speak and hear, all children discovr how to discriminate th speech fonemes of their nativ language, without deliberat tuition or aparent conscius awareness, so obviusly they hav a capacity there. Fonologicl awareness can be taut in simpl ways, as shown by th work of Lynette Bradley and othrs. (See Downing 1987, Liberman, Shankweiler, Fisher & Carter 1974, Bradley & Bryant 1983, and th video Anderson et al 1985, Bryant & Bradley 1985, Nicholson 1978, revews by Chall 1983, and th video Preparing to read through play, Yule 1981.) TYTR's cartoon grafics and songs show simpl teeniqes for lernrs to become aware of th fonemes in their language, and how to relate these to grafemes. Th problem of dificulty and tedium of fonic drils is removed.

When adults ar nervus about litracy, and may hav had a traumatic histry of being set to blend sounds in words when this was a mystery to them, whole-word gessing or paird reading may seem kinder than trying to teach them to help themselvs using sound/symbl relationships. But they can fail to progress to skild reading by these unstructured aproaches. Rathr, they need clarity of exposition in permanently available form. Once lernrs hav th 'aha' experience of how to decode print for meaning, they can then race ahed to independent reading.

Singl-word decoding skills, mor than use of contextual information, diferentiate good and poor readrs. (See Perfetti & Hogaboam 1975, Stanovich & West 1979.) Spelling is also helpful in lerning to read, thru use of analogicl spelling patrns and th analysis of onsets and rimes (Goswami 1988, Bryant & Bradley 1985, Stuart & Coltheart 1988, and Treiman 1985). These fetures are demonstrated in th video by word-play with songs.

Th actual process of fonemic segmentation assists rapid development of word recognition units, facilitates imediat visual recognition, so that as reading vocabulry grows, lernrs rely less on conscius pre-lexicl fonologicl coding (Stuart & Coltheart 1988, Doctot & Coltheart 1980). Successful decoders thus become good readrs with fastr access to th lexicon, th 'language processr in heds' (Foster 1979) with its semantic information about words. Lerning to read itself helps th development of fonologicl processing, and th relationship of linguistic awareness and litracy aquisition apears to be spiral, with each enhancing th othr (Downing 1987. See also Barr 1974-5, Leong 1991, Stuart & Coltheart 1988: 147.) and revews of reserch in Bertelson 1987, Fowler, Shankweiler & Liberman 1979, and Beech 1985, 1987.) Th theoretic basis of th contents and structure of th video is thus grounded in th findings of over two decades of practicl experience and empiricl research on efectiv reading and lerning.

To develop th most efective reading strategies and lern quikly, lernrs need to know letrs, orthografic patrns, how to mach th spoken and writn language, hav some undrstanding of th nature of English spelling, be able to use context in reading with undrstanding of fonics (oftn aquired today thru lerning to rite rathr than being taut to read), can decode an unfamiliar word for meaning thru strategies of fonic decoding, visual analogy and context, and then only a few recurrences, or even one-trial lerning, sufices to incorporate th word into automatic visual recognition of its meaning, so that 'barking at print' does not ocur.

Th valu of th video.

There is evidence of th valu of th video already even in its present low-cost experimentl form, in th enthusiastic responses of many students, oftn to th surprise of skepticl tutors. [2] (See Table 1.) Th experiment version has weaknesses of presentation, thru miniml-cost exigencies that hindr its sales apeal. Howevr, an assessment of th valu of content rathr than surface-form woud also be an inexpensiv and in practicabl test of th conflicting theories about th valu of th writing system for readers, and of th strategies advocated to obtain meaning from print.

Conclusion.

An upgraded take-home half-hour computer-grafics video costing £15,000 that gives an overview of the writing system and demonstrates how to learn to read would surely be an inexpensive aid to add to adult literacy resources. It can lead into interactive CD ROM (estimated cost a further £15,000 - £50,000) for full development of reading and writing skills. It can be adapted for needs of specific age-groups and ability levels. It would be particularly useful for distance learning, home-bound learners, and those disaffected from formal learning and courses. There is sound theory and research to back its concept and content. The experimental English-language version already exists. This innovation deserves attention and evaluation for its international possibilities. Millions are still being spent on literacy projects and courses - but nothing on investigating this method. It is disappointing that 14 years on from its inception, there is little if any educational interest in a 'cheap-reusable-half-hour-computer-grafics animated-take-home' video/CD ROM to help teach yourself to read at home, costing $34.95.

We can now welcom the 2-tape video litracy program for child lerners based on The Phonics Handbook, marketed by Jolly Learning - but there stil needs to be a short overvew of reading and spelling aimed at older beginrs who hav faild in the past.

NOTES.

One section of this article is written in 'surplus-cut' spelling, with omission of clearly superfluous letters in words, plus <f> replacing <ph>.

The structure and details of the video are copyright, but the author would be delighted to hear from others who would like to develop these principles in their own or similar way - so that finally there would be widely available video and CD productions that were the best possible in user-value. Some commercial interest are now taking up the idea of literacy video and CD but there is a strong risk that they may produce whatever has maximum sales appeal in slickness, entertainment ant that matches teachers' expectations of conventionality.

[1] A neglected but probably important reason for modern deconstructionist literacy theories is that readers who cannot decode cannot read accurately, and so learners by 'whole word' methods are more likely to be inventing their own text.

[2] Nothing is a panacea. There will be some learners who do not benefit or who dislike this approach - but they will feel they have failed if the video fails them - unlike the sense of personal failure when other teaching approaches fail. However, if even 10% of failing readers are helped from 90 minutes watching at home, the video is worth production - and so far 95% of viewers' responses show that they have learnt something from it.

SELECT REFERENCE LIST.

(The full list of references is available from the author)

Anderson, R. C., Hiebert, E. H., Scott, J. A., & Wilkinson, I. A. G. 1985, Becoming a Nation of Readers: the Report of the Commission on Reading. Washington, DC: National Institute of Education.

Bradley, L. & Bryant, P. 1983, Categorising Sounds and Learning to Read - a Causal Connection. Nature, 301: 419-421.

Bryant, P. & Bradley, L. 1985, Children's Reading Problems: Psychology and Education. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Downing, J. & Leong, C-K. 1982, The Psychology of Reading. NY: Macmillan Publishing.

Downing, J. 1979, Linguistic Awareness, English Orthography and Reading Instruction. Journal of Reading Behavior 10: 103 - 114.

Goodman K. S. 1982, Language and Literacy: the Selected Writings of Kenneth S. Goodman. Vol 11. Reading, Language and the Classroom Teacher. F. V. Gollash (Ed.) London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Jolly Learning: See Links page.

Morris, J. M. 1994, Phonicsphobia JSSS. 1994/2: 3-12.

Nicholson T. 1986, Reading is not a Guessing Game: the Great Debate Revisited. Reading Psychology 7:197-210.

Smith, F. 1978, 1985, Reading without Nonsense. NY: Teachers College Press. Also published as Reading by C.U.P. 1980.

Stuart, M. & Coltheart, M. 1988, Does Reading Develop in a Sequence of Stages? Cognition 30 (2): 139-181.

Yule, V. 1983, Preparing to Read Through Play. VHS 83/042T. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Television.

Yule, V. 1993, Teach Yourself to Read or Find out Where You got Stuck. 30 min VHS Video. Melbourne: Literacy Innovations.


[Journal of the Simplified Spelling Society, 1995/1 p18 later designated J18]

Viewers' learning from a 30 minute literacy video.
Valerie Yule.

Findings from a small sample of users of the video who completed questionnaires, with or without help, about what they found out from watching it, and what they knew already.

Table 1: Percentage of viewers who had not known or understood the information before.

Summary description of literacy information and
understanding obtained from the video
AdultsESL
adult
TeenageChildrenTotal
Vowels ar er air or aw and their spellings
Vowels ow oy oo ou and their spellings
Old English spelling patterns
The 19 English vowels sounds
French spelling patterns of imported words
Basic English spelling system
Singing slowly to hear sounds in words
Re-reading practices important for fluency
Classical Greek spellings in words
Spelling long vowels A E I O U
Latin prefixes and segmented long words
Latin suffixes
Latin roots can show meaning of unknown words
Silent <e> for long vowels
Spelling analogies; switching letters to make words
How to look at spellings of the regular words
Two letters spelling one sound - ch sh ng nk etc.
Reading and spelling regular words
The 26 alphabet letters in sequence
Distinguishing upper and lowercase letters
How to join sounds to make words
How to integrate strategies to read for meaning
How to make sense of spellings that seem silly
The hundred most common 'sight' words
C G Y letters with alternative pronunciation
Basic sounds of the alphabet letters
Letters can have different shapes and sizes
The five basic vowels, a e i o u
100
100
100
88
88
75
75
75
75
63
63
63
63
38
38
38
25
25
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
-
-
-
50
83
100
100
100
83
100
66
50
50
66
83
83
83
83
50
-
33
-
33
50
17
50
17
50
50
-
17
66
100
100
100
100
66
66
-
66
66
66
100
66
100
-
66
33
33
33
33
66
-
66
-
66
-
33
33
58
33
50
33
58
42
75
17
67
47
58
50
42
25
25
58
58
50
42
33
50
58
58
58
67
42
25
25
66
66
77
66
77
60
77
40
63
50
60
60
57
46
36
50
33
36
23
26
40
33
44
30
63
26
13
17

Analysis of the checklists demonstrates the value of a 30 minute video in helping unskilled readers and spellers to find out what they may not have known or understood:
i. There was no information in the video about reading and spelling that all these viewers already knew - 8% of the adults did not know even the complete ABC, and there was key information that none of them had known.
ii. Adults and teenagers were shown to have gaps and problems even at a very basic level, that can easily be remedied.
iii. Primary school children may be better informed about important aspects of how to read and spell than adults who have left school still with difficulties, but they also benefit from the clarification and further knowledge.

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