Reserch in Spelling Reform
This bibliography is only a selection of reserch into spelling reform and the costs of the unnecessary difficulties in present standard spelling. It will be added to later. September 11, 2013
Top are listed important research papers, compiled by Allan Campbell.
Below is a further compilation of research by Stephen L and Jean Hutchins
And see Reserch in cutting surplus letters -
Some web-pages may no longer exist. Please inform us of missing URLs
Some key research papers, compiled by Allan Campbell
1984: Journal of Educational Psychology, vol 76, #4, pp 557-568: Decoding and comprehension skills in Turkish and English: Effects of the regularity of grapheme-phoneme correspondence; Banu Oney and Susan R Goldman, University of California, Santa Barbara.The decoding and comprehension skills of Turkish and American first and third graders learning to read their respective languages were assessed. Turkish students were faster and more accurate on the decoding task than Americans at first-grade level and equally accurate but faster at third-grade level. 'The data suggest that languages with more letter-sound correspondences lead to faster acquisition of decoding skills.'
1991: British Journal of Psychology, #82, pp 527-537: The effect of orthography on the acquisition of literacy skills; Gwenllian Thorstad, The Tavistock Clinic, Child and Family Department, London. This study compared Italian and British children, showing, for example, that 7-year-old Italians were able to read words they did not know, and some 11-year-old British children could not read words they DID know [in speech]. The report concludes: 'As a result of this learner-friendly orthography, Italian children do not need to spend so long learning the mechanisms of literacy skills as English children do, and have more time for other studies.'
1997: Cognition 63, pp 315-334: The impact of orthographic consistency on dyslexia: A German-English comparison; Karin Landerl, Heinz Wimmer, Uta Frith (variously of University of Salzburg and MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London). The main finding of the present cross-orthography comparison of development of dyslexia was that English children suffered from much more severe impairments in reading than the German children.
2000: Nature Neuroscience, vol 3, #1: A cultural effect on brain damage; E Paulesu and 15 other researchers from Italian and English educational institutions. The study was to see how the different orthographies of English and Italian were accessed by the brain. It found that Italians showed greater activation of the part of the brain that deals with phoneme processing. In contrast the English had greater activation of the part of the brain that deals with word retrieval. That is, reasoning v. memory. Among other results: 'Italian students were faster at both word and non-word reading, even when the non-words were derived from English words.'
2001: Science 291, March 16: Dyslexia: Cultural diversity and biological unity; Eraldo Paulesu and 11 others (from Italy, France, England, and Quebec)*. This study found that though the neurological basis for dyslexia is the same across English, French, and Italian languages, the disorder manifests itself in different ways according to the regularity of the orthography. The reading disorder is twice as prevalent among dyslexics in the United States (and France) as it is among Italian dyslexics. Again, this is seen to be because of Italian's 'transparent' orthography.
2001: How do children learn to read? Is English more difficult than other languages? Paper presented to the British Festival of Science, Glasgow, September; Professor Philip H K Seymour, University of Dundee*.
English-speaking children take up to two years more to learn reading than do children in 12 other European countries.
2004: Understanding English Spelling, Masha Bell
The book contains a history of the development of English spelling and illustrates why our spelling system is so difficult to master compared with other Indo-European systems.
2005: OECD-CERI Learning Sciences And Brain Research, Learning to Read Report:www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/39/35562310.pdf
'The studies so far undertaken in individual countries are building evidence for the hypothesis that shallow [simple] orthographies are a real advantage in terms of acquiring reading proficiency for both normal and dyslexic children. Countries with deep [difficult] orthographies might possibly begin to consider the political and societal feasibility of implementing orthographic reforms.'
2006: KPMG Foundation: "The long term costs of literacy difficulties" December 2006. This study estimates the total costs to the UK public purse to age 37 arising from failure to read in the primary school years at £1.73 billion to £2.05 billion a year.
2007: “Learning to Read” Masha Bell, (published Pegasus Educational) ISBN 978 1 90349 023 5
2008: Zuzana Kotercova: "The cost of teaching English in primary schools"(commissioned by the Spelling Society) A survey and analysis of the amount of time (and therefore money in staff salaries) spent by teachers in teaching English spelling to primary school pupils. The figure of £18m emerges from this final-year student research project.
Further spelling research - compiled by Stephen Linstead and Jean Hutchins
b. Research evidence that changed spelling is easier for beginners (various types of changed spelling allowed)
Children's Responses to Simplified Spelling - Part 1 Thorstad G JSSS 21 1997 -1 99 3-8 http://220.127.116.11/~triftcom/journals/j21/children1.php
Children's Responses to Simplified Spelling - Part 2 Thorstad G; JSSS 21 http://18.104.22.168/~triftcom/journals/j22/children2.php Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1980 pp10-12
The Effects of a Simplified Spelling in Children's Readiness to Read. Thackray, D V. http://22.214.171.124/~triftcom/bulletins/b80/spring/effects.php
c. Research evidence that changed spelling is easier for dyslexics, foreigners, disadvantaged adults
i.t.a. In Adult Remedial Education, Duxbury J N .Spelling Progress Bulletin Summer 1965 http://126.96.36.199/~triftcom/bulletins/b64/b64fall.pdf
Special Report on Methods used on Retarded Educables Busgnell M http://188.8.131.52/~triftcom/bulletins/b65/b65summer.php
Case Histories of Remedial Reading Instruction in the Penitentiary, Pahrman, W H Supervisor .Spelling Progress Bulletin Summer 1967 pp10-12] http://184.108.40.206/~triftcom/bulletins/b67/b67summer.pdf
d. Research evidence that changed spelling is easier for literate adults to read, and to transfer to
e. Research evidence on attitudes to reformed spelling
Attempts at Reform Prior to 1850, Hart J Spelling Progress Bulletin Fall 1970 pp 11-26; http://220.127.116.11/~triftcom/bulletins/b70/b70fall.pdf
Spelling and Spelling Reform: Arguments Pro and Con, Yule V [Spelling Reform ed Newell Tune t2.4pp9-18][Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1976 pp11-20] http://18.104.22.168/~triftcom/bulletins/b76/b76spring.pdf
The Duke of Edinburgh Interview, by Richard Baker, B.B.C. http://22.214.171.124/~triftcom/bulletins/b70/b70spring.pdf Message by the
Patron of S.S.S., H.R.H. Philip Duke of Edinburgh SSS International Conference 3. Edinburgh, July 31-August 3, 1981.
Spelling, Research & Reform. Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1982 p6
f. Research evidence that adults can't read or spell present spelling eg V Yule's 16 word experiment'
g. Statistics re illiteracy/semi-literacy in English and evidence in the fusses made about it.
Study examining life expectancy by race, sex and education August 7, 2012 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/literacy>
In 2006 the KPMG Foundation published a study, "The long-term costs of literacy difficulties", which estimated the total costs to the public purse to age 37, arising from failure to read in the primary school years, at £1.73 billion to £2.05 billion a year. Our children start formal education at five compared to the European standard of seven. Even with this head start, 23% of 11-year-olds fail to achieve their literacy milestones. This figure is typical in the English-speaking world so it cannot be blamed entirely on teaching techniques. The acquisition of literacy in English takes up to three times longer than our European competitors. We have a cohort of chronic reading underachievers: one-fifth of our working population have a reading age of 13 or less ˆ twice the number in Germany.A huge culprit is our antique and irregular spelling system. that virtually guarantees literacy failure. While this is the case, we will continue tosearch in vain and spend fortunes looking for ways to the elusive goals of mass literacy and children reading for pleasure. How many of your readers remember having to learn 240 pence makes a pound (money) and all the other permutations? Or learning that water boiled at 212 Fahrenheit and froze at 32 Fahrenheit - the same goes for inches and feet, and 1760 yards makes a mile, and ounces and pounds weight? All these needed rote learning. Suddenly we were free of this with decimalisation.
Jean Gross, formerly of the UK charity Every Child a Chance Trust, on 3 April 2012, added another set of numbers: in 2009, a study prepared by KPMG auditors estimated that every pound spent tackling literacy difficulties before children reach the age of seven will generate a "return on investment" of between £11 and £17 over their lifetime. In contrast, it said, failing to address these issues costs the UK public purse up to £64,000 per individual – primarily due to lost job opportunities and the related cost of the welfare system.
Acknowledging global health triumphs over the last decade, delegates proposed that it's time for us to treat illiteracy as a "disease" that needs to be eradicated once and for all
The results of the NAEP were that 80% of US 4th graders are below proficient in reading. Why not use what works? Our local universities are still pumping out whole language theory, as reported in Education Week,
80% of students were failing to learn to read adequately, budget crises everywhere, and a tool that would help to fix that problem available for free.
The more that children can decode new words, the more that they can learn - unless they have superior verbal memory.
All the time spent devising ways to teach spelling – e.g http://www.ldonline.org/article/6192 -- Five Guidelines for Learning .Spelling and 6 Ways for Practicing Spelling http://www.spellingcity.com -- a site with games and activities and ways to make custom spelling lists. http://www.gingersoftware.com/ -- sophisticated grammar and spellingchecker. http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/winter0809/joshi.pdf -- How Words Cast Their Spell; Spelling is an Integral Part of Learning the Language ,Rayner, K., White, S., Johnson, R., Liversedge, S. (2006). Reading
Wrods With Jubmled Lettres; There Is a Cost. Psychological Science 17(3), 192-193. Discussed at:http://blogs.msdn.com/fontblog/archive/2006/05/09/594050.aspx
A Report on I.T.M. Harrison M, Director of Education, Oldham Education Committee. Spelling Progress Bulletin June 1963 pp12,13 wrongly marked as October 1963. http://126.96.36.199/~triftcom/bulletins/b63/b63june.pdf
Personal Experiences in Teaching with the Pitman I.T.A., Kemp V I. Spelling Progress Bulletin October 1963 pp19,20,25 http://188.8.131.52/~triftcom/bulletins/b63/b63october.pdf
Two Years of the Initial Teaching Alphabet in England Pitman J. Spelling Progress Bulletin December 1963 pp15-20 but wrongly marked as October 1963. http://184.108.40.206/~triftcom/bulletins/b63/b63december.pdf
End of First Year Results, Lehigh Univ - Bethlehem Public, Schools - i/t/a Study, Mazurkiewicz, A. Spelling Progress Bulletin Fall 1964 pp2-4
One Teacher's Experience with an Initial Teaching Alphabet in First Grade, Allen B., Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1966 pp13-15. http://220.127.116.11/~triftcom/bulletins/b66/b66spring.pdf
i/t/a in the School year 1965 Final Newsletter, by i/t/a Studies Center, Lehigh Univ. Spelling Progress Bulletin Fall 1966 p24 http://18.104.22.168/~triftcom/bulletins/b66/b66fall.pdf
A very similar account, with the same title, is given in: Spelling Progress Bulletin Fall 1966 p1 http://22.214.171.124/~triftcom/bulletins/b70/b70winter.pdf
h. Comparisons with other writing systems
Decoding and comprehension skills in Turkish and English: Effects of the regularity of grapheme-phoneme correspondence; Oney B and Goldman S R, 1984: Journal of Educational Psychology, vol 76, #4, pp 557-568: University of California, Santa Barbara.
The effect of orthography on the acquisition of literacy skills; Thorstad G, 1991: British Journal of Psychology, #82, pp 527-537: The Tavistock Clinic, Child and Family Department, London. (British-Italian comparison).
Is Traditional English Spelling more Difficult than German? Upward C 1992 Journal of Research in Reading pp82-94 http://126.96.36.199/~triftcom/journals/j13/reports.php
The impact of orthographic consistency on dyslexia: A German-English comparison; Lander K , Heinz Wimmer H, 1997: Cognition 63, pp 315-334:Uta Frith (variously of University of Salzburg and MRC Cognitive Development Unit, London).
A cultural effect on brain damage; Paulesu E and 15 other researchers from Italian and English educational institutions. 2000: Nature Neuroscience, vol 3, #1.
Dyslexia: Cultural diversity and biological unity; Paulesu E and 11 others (from Italy, France, England, and Quebec) 2001: Science 291, March 16..
How do children learn to read? Is English more difficult than other languages? Seymour P H K , 2001 University of Dundee. Paper presented to the British Festival of Science, Glasgow, September.
Learning Sciences And Brain Research, Learning to Read Report: OECD-CERI – 2005 www.oecd.org/dataoecd/54/39/35562310.pdf
a. Studies on the history of English spelling and reasons for its irregularity
Understanding English Spelling, Masha Bell 2004
Pegasus Educational. ISBN 1 903490 12 X
Rules and Exceptions of English Spelling” Masha Bell ,2009 (published Pegasus Educational) ISBN 978 1 90349 039 6
English spelling reform is associated with: Noah Webster's dictionary (1st edition, 1828),
Theodore Roosevelt's instructions (1906, JSSS 23, 1998/1, p14),
and the Chicago Tribune's campaign 1934-75
(Pt.I, JSSS 24, 1998/2, pp3-10,
Pt.II, JSSS 25, 1999/1, pp3-10;
Pt.III, JSSS 26, 1999/2, pp16-19).
For an overview of Anglo-American differences, see JSSS 21, 1997/1, pp30-32.
j. Economic and Social Costs of Traditional Spelling
The Bullock Report
The Effects of a Simplified Spelling in Children's Readiness to Read. Thackray D V - Spelling Reform ed Newell Tune t9.7pp146-148; [Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1980 pp10-12; http://188.8.131.52/~triftcom/bulletins/b80/spring/effects.php
Spelling Difficulties Limit Written Expression Upward C and Moseley D (abstract)
How Lack of Confidence in Spelling Affects Children’s Written Expression Moseley D V,. In Educational Psychology in Practice, April 1989, pp.42-46.
The long term costs of literacy difficulties KPMG Foundation, December 2006
The study estimates the total costs to the public purse to age 37 arising from failure to read in the primary school years at £1.73 billion to £2.05 billion a year.
Reading Words with Jumbled Letters; there is a cost. Psychological Science 17(3) 192-193. http://blogs.msdn.com/fontblog/archive/2006/05/09/594050.aspx
Learning to Read Bell M, 2007 Pegasus Educational - ISBN 978 1 90349 023 5
The cost of teaching English in primary schools"(commissioned by the Society) 2008: Zuzana Kotercova: An initial survey and analysis of the amount of time (and therefore money in staff salaries) spent by teachers in teaching English spelling to primary school pupils. The figure of £18m emerges from this final-year student research project.
k. Surveys on different methods of teaching English spelling to children
THE PYONEER OV SIMPLIFYD SPELING. VOL. VI, No. 2. JOON 1917. THE NEU SCOTTISH EKSPERIMENT. http://184.108.40.206/~triftcom/news/pyoneers/py2pt2.php
THE PYONEER OV SIMPLIFYD SPELING.VOL. VI, No. 3. SEPTEMBER 1917. pp33-48 THE EKSPERIMENTS WITH SIMPLIFYD SPELING. http://220.127.116.11/~triftcom/news/pyoneers/py3pt1.php
THE PIONEER OF SIMPLIFIED SPELLING. FEBRUARY 1918 part 3. S.S. EXPERIMENTS IN SCOTLAND. http://18.104.22.168/~triftcom/news/pyoneers/py4pt3.php
Experimental Investigation of Use of a Phonemic Notation for the First Teaching of Reading and Writing, Dewey G. Spelling Progress Bulletin June 1962 pp2,3, http://22.214.171.124/~triftcom/bulletins/b62/b62june.pdf
Fourth Year Results of Study with i.t.a. in Bethlehem Area Schools,
Mazurkiewicz, A J; [Spelling Progress Bulletin Winter 1967 pp2-6]
A Controlled Experiment to test the Effect of Teaching Reading
by an Articulated or Direct Phonics Method,Babcock, & Henrikson
Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1967 pp2,3
i.t.a. pupils at 8 years of age, Harrison M
Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1967 pp8-9
An Appreciation of The i.t.a. Symposium by Sir James Pitman K.B.E.
Spelling Progress Bulletin Summer 1967 pp4-7
Fourth Year Results of Study with i.t.a. in Bethlehem Area Schools,
by Mazurkiewicz, A J 1967
Spelling Progress Bulletin Winter 1967 pp2-6
The same experiment is reported more fully in this account.
An Experiment in Methodology Using a Phonetic Alphabet, Tudor-Hart B. Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1969 pp2-10 http://126.96.36.199/~triftcom/bulletins/b69/b69spring.pdf
An Experiment in Teaching Methods Using the i.t.a., Tudor-Hart B. Reading Research Unit, University of London Institute of Education, London, Eng. [Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1968 pp9,10]; http://188.8.131.52/~triftcom/bulletins/b68/b68spring.pdf
An Experiment in Methodology Using a Phonetic Alphabet, Tudor-Hart B
*Reading Research Unit, Institute of Education, Univ. of London.
[Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1969 pp2-10]
Sir James Pitman and the Initial Teaching Alphabet.
Spelling Progress Bulletin Winter 1970 pp2-end
Initial Teaching Alphabet: Results after Six Years, Downing J.
Spelling Progress Bulletin Fall 1971 pp7-9
The Early to Read - i. t. a. program; Effects and Aftermath,
Mazurkiewicz A J - A Six Year Longitudinal Study
Spelling Progress Bulletin Spring 1973 pp13,14
The Effects of T.O. and i.t.a. on Reading and Spelling Skills
of Elementary School Children, Iles B, .
Spelling Progress Bulletin Winter 1974 pp2-15
A Decade of Achievement with i.t.a.,Martin J H
Spelling Progress Bulletin Summer 1977 pp9-11
Spelling Progress Bulletin Summer 1977 p9
Ten Years with i.t.a. in California, by Eva Boyd
Other writing systems reforms.
JSSS has reported over the years on reforms of writing systems in other languages as follows:
1956 (mainland, plus now Hong Kong, but not Taiwan nor Singapore) JSSS J13, 1992/2, pp14-16.
early 1950s, JSSS J17 1994/2, p33.
1948, JSSS J21, 1997/1, p20; JSSS, J25 1999/1, p23.
1815, 1934, 1954, JSSS J19 1995/2, pp11-13.
16-18th century, JSSS , J25 1999/1, pp11-15.
1740, 1835, 1878, JSSS J10 1989/1, p11; 1990 JSSS J15 1993/2, pp3-5.
1901-2, 1996 (for Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and German-speakers elsewhere, mainly in E Europe), JSSS, J19 1995/2, pp18-21. JSSS, J21 1997/1, pp22-24, 36; JSSS, J22 1997/2, p24; JSSS, J23 1998/1, pp20-24.
1957, JSSS, J22 1997/2, pp19-23.
1612, JSSS, J20 1996/1, pp19-24.
1946, JSSS J19 1995/2, pp27-29.
1972, JSSS J11 1989/2, pp9-13.
1912 (Brazil), 1915 (Portugal), JSSS 21, 1997/1, p21).
1907, SSS Newsletter J1 Autumn 1985, pp8-9.
1860, 1904, JSSS J11 1989/2, p21.
1918, SSS Newsletter J2 Spring 1986, p13, §13.1, 13.2.
1815, JSSS J15 1993/2, pp15-21; also 1959.
1928, JSSS J18 1995/1, pp19-24.