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1. Definition of Functional Illiteracy
2. Extent of the Problem
3. Why We Do Not See the Extent of the Problem
4. Seriousness of the Problem
5. English Spelling Confuses Everyone
6. the Solution in a Nutshell
7. The Obvious Solution Never Tried
8. Characteristics of NuEnglish
9. Spelling Reform is the Only Proven, Easy Solution to English Illiteracy
10. Learn to Read Now!
11. All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform Have Been Debunked
12. Twelve Serious Linguistic Problems With English Spelling
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9. Spelling Reform is the Only Proven, Easy
Solution to English Illiteracy
Page 6. The Solution in a Nutshell shows conclusively that spelling reform is the proven, effective way of permanently ending English functional illiteracy. There are, of course, other possible solutions but they are not easy. Using an effective phonics teaching method, as explained in Dr. Dianne McGuinness' book, Why Our Children Can't Read, may be able to reduce the time required to learn to as little as one-and-one-half years and increase the percentage of students who learn to read in the first two grades in school. But many students — even some of our best students — will still be frustrated by the illogical, inconsistent traditional spelling, secretly decide they cannot learn to read, and stop trying to learn to read. They may hide their illiteracy until they become adults and something finally gives them the incentive to spend at least a year of personal tutor training needed to learn to read. (The success of adult literacy classes where the students do not get personal tutors is discouragingly low.) It will take them another year or two to learn the things they should have learned in elementary and high school before they can become even marginally functional in our culture which now requires a college education for most above-poverty-level-wage jobs.
Furthermore, Page 8. Characteristics of NuEnglish, shows that NuEnglish is definitely capable of easily solving the problem of English functional illiteracy: it has ten essential characteristics that are not available in any other known spelling reform proposal. The proof included on this page will, therefore, cover the mental and psychological obstacles to accepting spelling reform.
The need for literacy has grown steadily as our culture becomes more complicated and technologically oriented. There are very few jobs today which do not require functional literacy. The need for literacy has also grown as numerous pleasant activities have multiplied since the very early 1900s which hinder spending the time on the confusing and unpleasant task of learning all of the spellings of words in a person's reading vocabulary. The need for literacy has also increased as new characteristics of late twentieth century life provide detrimental influences, such as new extra-curricular school activities, new gang activities, new drugs, new bullying and other discipline problems in the schools, and the increase of divorce from no-fault divorce laws and increased living together while unmarried which causes upsetting conditions in the student's home life.
The percentage of students becoming fluent readers has not had any overall statistical improvement since the conditions mentioned above began negatively affecting the literacy rate in the early 1900s. Some apologists for the American school system have claimed an improvement in the success rate of teaching literacy, but they are only able to do so by carefully choosing which time period or which group of test subjects is used in their studies. Any time periods which do not include the 1700s and 1800s along with today's results should be viewed with suspicion. Any group which is not truly representative of the entire population in the area studied obviously should not be used to make conclusions about the entire population, and the results in one area should obviously not be extrapolated to the entire U.S.
Numerous persons who devise brain-testing quizzes have found that many of their quiz problems can be solved by only a tiny percentage of those taking the test because the solution to the problem lies in an approach that is never considered by most people. Many people will assume that the problem must be solved in a certain way. Even though the statement of the problem does not prohibit certain solutions, many people will assume that certain ways of solving the problem are not allowed. In the same way, most people assume that the spelling cannot be changed — partly because they do not want to change the way they spell their words and partly because they have never even thought about it!
In truth, all persons objecting to spelling reform are objecting as a result of the natural human resistance to change rather than because they can prove that spelling reform is not needed. They are resisting because they have been taught as a child and still believe today that there is only one correct way to spell their words. They object because they have not honestly evaluated the seriousness of the problem and the total lack of overall success of anything tried by our educational and political leaders in improving the literacy rate.
Simplification of the spelling of a few English words were made in Webster's early dictionaries in the U.S. This is the reason for the differences in U.S. and U.K. spelling. President Theodore Roosevelt tried unsuccessfully to simplify the spelling of 300 English words, but there has never been attempt to systematically correct the spelling of all English words. At least 33 other nations, however, have simplified their spelling. To see a website listing these nations and providing information about writing systems, click here.
If you think that spelling reform is not very badly needed, it is only because you have not carefully, honestly evaluated all of the facts in this website! There is a saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." I have led you to the water (and I have even referred you to a much more complete and authoritative source on page 10. Learn to Read Now!) but did you allow my words to smear salt on your lips making you thirsty for the truth?
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