PARENTS asked to choose new SPELLING system to improve literacy
07/01/2020

The English Spelling Society would like parents to choose between six proposed new spelling scheme arrangements to improve the teaching of English and spelling.

Online PR News – 01-July-2020 – LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – Two years ago, in association with the American Literacy Council, the Society launched the International English Spelling Congress to allow reformers a chance to put forward their alternative ideas for English spelling to the English-Speaking World. An expert review panel chose six proposals for final debate. (http://spellingsociety.org/iesc-papers)

Jack Bovill, Chair of the Society, says ‘We are keen to hear what parents think about these proposals. Parents and carers have been on the front line teaching their children over the last three months at home and will have been made more familiar with how difficult it can be to teach English spelling. We would like parents, teachers and anyone interested in improving literacy to take a look at the proposals and to register, if they wish, for the second round of the Congress; this will be held towards the end of this year, (via video conference) and will be a most important debate.’

The Society cites independent research showing that due to its extreme irregularity, English speaking primary school children can take up to 3 years longer to master basic spelling compared with speakers of other languages; also that many of these pupils leave primary school with a poor command of spelling and hence of literacy. The Society believes that the only way to improve our spelling significantly, and in a lasting way, is to simplify it at source and make it more predictable.

16.4% of adults in England, or 7.1 million people, can be described as having 'very poor literacy skills and this will have made homeschooling a challenge for many.

Jack Bovill says: ‘This is multi-generational and affects so many people. Poor literacy affects your chances in life; it can dictate how much you earn, what careers are open to you and even how likely a person is to spend time in prison.

‘Over the last 12 weeks we know that parents with poor literacy skills will have had great difficulty helping their children during lockdown. The Office for National Statistics reports that 2.3 million children did no home learning during lockdown. This is a critical time and we need to look to initiatives that will help people to master English spelling more quickly and without the teacher's red pen - which is ultimately demoralising for children.’

The Society propose that the new arrangements would be introduced alongside traditional spelling in the hope that they will eventually replace the current system.

The six spelling proposals can be viewed on the Society’s website along with thumbnail descriptions and poem extracts to illustrate how the schemes might work in practice.

Link to proposals: http://spellingsociety.org/iesc-papers