Useful And Fantastic: Don’t Waste Our Work
Val Yule wants someone willing to carry forward her work and research into literacy innovations.
A colleague in my University department died suddenly, and within a month his room had been utterly cleaned out and his work thrown away. He had been a pioneer of research in Papua New Guinea, and many of his papers were irreplaceable.
Another had original research about immigration – it was all forgotten as others repeated the work he had already done.
Other people have had their homes emptied into the skip.
“The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”
I have made two rooms of my house into an Australian Centre for Literacy Innovations, including the heresies of one period that are accepted by the next, and the heresies of today that give leads for the future.
It is a Museum of the past, and Innovations for the future. Education needs to know the past, as well as think ahead for the future. Unless we know what has gone before, wheels are re-invented and mistakes are re-made.
I have a collection that is unique, now that libraries dispose of old material so quickly. I need to find some site/s and people that are interested in taking the material, since I am jn my eighties and have had a stroke. It needs publicity rather than money. I can fund it to some extent. I can provide DVDs of some of it.
The collection consists of:
1. Methods of teaching reading, going back to the 1880s.
2. Children’s reading materials, in schools and privately, also going back to the 19th century.This is even more likely to be thrown out elsewhere,because the most popular becomes tatty. I have old Reciters and copybooks, family books, Children’s Magazines, and classics of each period, through to a wide range of modern reading programs in books, online and DVDs.
3. Other countries’ methods of teaching reading and books to teach it. Often the children’s readers are so beautiful, they are a lesson to us. These are worth some attention by educators and publishers.
4. Books and journal on all sides of the Methods controversy, including some that are rare, being not what the establishment of the time approved.
5. Literacy innovations in types of books, fonts, and “multilevel”, suitable for many abilities in the same class. Literacy innovations in shared reading. Literacy innovations in content of early children’s books.
6. Spelling. This is probably the best collection in Australia of books on the nature and history of spelling, as well as on methods to teach it. It is certainly the best collection in the world on the history and nature of spelling reform in English, apart from Sweden.
7. Writing systems of the world and how they have been reformed, and how they determine the best methods of teaching them.
8. My own research on spelling, and recommendations arising. The chief recommendations are: English spelling rules should be simple. And fit on one page, like other writing systems have theirs.
Could readers think and experiment with something like this:
A.Keep the 35 most common iregular words, since they make up 12% of most running text. all, almost, always, among, as, come, some, could, should, would, half, know, of, off, one, only, once, other, pull, push, put, they, their, two, as, was, what, want, who, why, and word-endings -ion/-tion/-sion/zion.
These ar not too many to lern.
B.Then cut out surplus letters from words – the cause of half our spelling problems. This has been happening slowly,but has been stopped by spellcheckers for the literat. For exampl, demon, omelet, economy, error, ether, exotic, horror, medieval,music and program, have replaced daemon, omelette, oeconomy, errour, aether, exotick, horrour, mediaeval, musick and programme.
Take this further. Anyone can replicate my experiments finding that removing surplus letters – that make no difrence to meaning or pronunciation but are a major cause of “spelling demons” – helps children, poor readers and spellers, and English-language lerners, with no major effects on those reading already. We could distinguish minut (time) from minute (small) as we now distinguish secret and secrete.
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© Valerie Yule