A lot of nonsense is spoken and written about English spelling because many frequently used words are no longer pronounced as they are spelled.

It is true that English spelling is more unpredictable than the sound/symbol correspondence of other languages, but it also has many dependable rules and predictable patterns.

When adults stop telegraphing the notion that English spelling makes no sense, young children will become competent spellers of the words they use. Most English spellings can be learned according to letter/sound correspondences. Exceptions can be taught as exceptions.

Parents who want their children to attain an adult level of literacy need to inform themselves about the mechanics of English spelling.

Teachers, especially those in grades K-3, need to teach children how to spell basic vocabulary before demanding that they write “stories.”

In the words of Romalda Spalding, “No child should be asked to use the tools of a written language until his teacher has taught them to him.”  So-called “invented spelling” is a snare and a delusion.


M. J. Maddox, PhD 
is the American English Doctor.