[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1977, p1]
[Also on this page: What is reading?

Announcements.

IRA-PSC Convention,

Miami Beach, Fla, Thurs, May 5, 1977, 3:00-4:00 P.A.
Special Interest Group Meeting.

Chairperson: Dr. Katherine P. Betts.

Participants:
Dr. Ira Aaron, Univ. of Georgia. "Phonic Rules - Values and Pitfalls".
Dr. Abraham Citron, Wayne State Univ. "Reliability in Encoding".
Dr. Milton Jacobson, Univ. of Virginia. "Phonic Rules - Application/Exception Ratios".
Dr. Thomas D. Horn, Univ. of Texas at Austin. "Miscues and What's-the-Next-Word Syndrome".
Dr. John Downing, Univ. of Victoria. "Spelling and 'Word Perception".
Dr. Emmett A. Betts, Univ. of Miami. "Word Perception: Strategies".

-o0o-

The Reading & Spelling Symposium.

To be publisht soon by the British Simplified Spelling Society by foto-offset reproduction, ca. 200 pages, same size as this page. price £4.00 ($10.00), post-paid. Orders: Publications Sec., London, Eng.

This book is the first major publication in recent years of the Simplified Spelling Society. It is made up of a set of 28 papers presented at the First International Conference on Reading and Spelling of the Society in 1975.

It is truly international in scope. Papers were contributed from Britain, U.S.A., Canada, Australia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Africa: Nigeria and The Gambia. All of the contributors considered as experts in their own fields - many of them are already acknowledged internationally as such.

One important piece of new research - the teaching of English as a Foreign Language trials in The Gambia - is described by one of the investigators, Dr. John Osanyinbi, Research Controller of the prestigious West African Examinations Council.

The remaining papers form an interesting miscellany on written communication through time and space. There is an informative account of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics from David Seton and also an interesting proposal for extending the use of hieroglyphics in the modern world by Prof. T. Hofmann. Other nations' problems in representing their speech in writing are described by Prof. Daniels (Japanese), A. R. G. Burrows (Spanish) and Rolf Landolt (German). These allow us to see by comparison how relatively unlucky English speakers are. And, of course, there are the remedies - the reformed alphabets put forward by experimental orthographers.

There are also some valuable items by teachers who have had to take more orthodox roads out of the English spelling problem by adapting their teaching methods to the language as it stands.

There are in addition several thought provoking items on various aspects of the English language and its study. This book will be of great interest to all those concerned with the language, whether as teachers or as students.

2nd International Conference on Reading and Writing in English.

will be held at the College of All Saints, London, from Tues. Aug. 30 to Sat. Sept. 3, 1977. The Patron of this meeting will be His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip. It is not too late to plan to enter a paper for the conference even tho you cannot attend. Arrangements for a paper or for accomodations at the conference can be made thru the Educational Secretary, Staines, Middx., England.

As there were some 28 papers presented at the 1975 Conference, more will be expected for this truly international meeting. It is planned that these papers also will be published in book form at a later date. This will be a worthy contribution to serious study of the English language.

-o0o-

[Spelling Reform Anthology §17.3 p231]
[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1977. p16}
[Harvie Barnard: see Journal, Anthology, Bulletins.]

What is Reading? an Answer, by Harvie Barnard*

Written in SR-1*.
*Tacoma, Wa.

*Note: In "SR-1" we write 'e' for the clear "short" vowel sound as in 'bet', regardless of present usage. (As in eny, meny, redy, sed, and stedy). These simple changes in spelling involve about 300 commonly used words.

Not long ago I was blest with a very unusual experience, an opportunity to "beard a lion in his den." The "lion" was a supervisor and "Director of Reading" in a large and affluently administered school district in a typical medium sized American city.

Following a rather devious and round-about circumvention of the topic at hand, "reading" I finally succeeded in maneuvering the conversation to the subject of "reading problems." This eventually led to, "What is Reading?" When this definitely pertinent question was approached, there was a slight pause, whereupon the good Director somewhat pontificately selected a fresh piece of chalk, rolled his well-padded chair across to the chalkboard, and proceeded to write two words in a rather scrawly penmanship.

These precious words were, "Analysis", and "Synthesis:' The good Doctor then glanced rather condescendingly in my direction as if to say, "You'll never really understand this," and then proceeded with an involved explanation. I confess, it truly was all gobbledegook to me, and quite frankly I did not follow the elucidation nor the blizzard of psycholinguistic verbiage which gushed forth. When, after a few minutes he realized that. I was well snowed, he smiled triumphantly and remarked, "As you can plainly see, reading is an extremely complicated, involved, and complex mental process. It would require hours to make this clear to you, and I doubt if we have time for all that."

I nodded agreement, but ventured a comment of my own. I sed, "You might be surprised to know that I can give you a very understandable definition of reading in just one (1) word, or, if you prefer, in one brief and redily understood sentence." And then, while he was deciding whether or not to throw me out of his office, or call the janitor to do it for him, I ventured the secret word. The word was VISUALIZATION! "Yes," I added, "just a clear mental picture obtained from a combination of symbols - words - which have been established in the memory of the reader as an image, or a "visualization."

"Will you please say that agen?" he asked, rather increduously. I obliged, adding, "That's why all the children's spellers and readers, from the McGuffy readers on, as well as most of the better children's dictionaries, are very liberally sprinkled with illustrations, pictures, drawings illustrating the words being used, spelled, defined or restated (respelled) in fonetic English."

When I sed "Fonetic English," the gentleman seemed to regain his composure. He grinned somewhat benignly - perhaps a little devilishly - as if getting all set up to nail we to the nearest wall, and gave forth with what was intended to be the coup-de-grace; "So, you are one of those Simplified Spelling guys?"

It appeared that he had me well cornered, and in the panic of sheer self-defence confessed that perhaps I was that kind of a "nut" - along with a considerable number of fairly well known people, including Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), George Bernard Shaw, T. R. Roosevelt, Sir James Pitman, Dr. Wm. D. Whitney, and more recently John Henry Martin, Abraham Tauber, John Downing, Godfrey Dewey, Harry Lindgren, Ben D. Wood, Helen Bonnema, William J. Reed, Maurice Harrison, Wilbur J. Kupfrian, Emmett A. Betts, Ph.D, LL. D., to name a few.

"Furthermore," I added, "are you aware that in Australia the public schools have alredy started using the first stages of spelling reform, known as SR-1, and that the teachers as well as the students have received these simplifications with real enthusiasm?" My frend admitted that he'd never herd of enyone actually using simplified spelling, nor did he know that one of Mark Twain's most engaging essays was on that very subject. I'm sure he'd herd of Australia, but certainly had no idea of what was going on down there in the area of education. (But truly, he had earned his academic degrees, and what more can a fellow do, or get, except hold down a job and not "rock the boat?")

And so, following a slight pause I was asked, "Has enything been published in this thing you call "SR-1"?, I was mightily pleased to be able to state with prideful assurance that, "Yes, there was at least one book printed in that kind of simplified spelling," and I promised to loan him my only copy, which I did.

That was about six months ago. Having received no response, I recently wrote, asking if he had been able to read and comprehend the book. (The spelling was very difficult and complicated - just like this.)

(Please see note above.)

The book I loaned him was L. J. J. Nye's Escape to Elysium, (a novel), [written in Bliss symbols!] and I've not herd (or should it be heard?), from him since. And so, I suppose I can struggle with my own conclusions. Perhaps he read it and didn't like the story; perhaps the spelling was too difficult - or too simple - or maybe book-burning has come back agen?

So, . . . "What is Reading?" Do you get the picture, the idea, the image? Some do, some don't, meny will, and others won't. But if you do, my frend, that is VISUALIZATION, which is the essence of reading.

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