End Illiteracy in English

The problem of English functional illiteracy is a very real nightmare, but the solution is easier than you would ever dare to dream.

Archive for the 'extent of illiteracy' Category

Is News Coverage of Scientific Reports Dependable?

Unfortunately, when scientific reports are issued on important studies, many reporters only read the “Executive Summary.” They must hurry to write their article about the report before a competitor does and it is no longer “news.” Furthermore, if the report requires a small amount of mathematical analysis — as was the case with the most accurate study of U.S. adult literacy ever performed — the reporters (most of whom are journalists, not mathematicians) do not try to analyze the data in the report. As a result, the newspaper, TV, and radio reports badly underestimated the seriousness of a recent report on literacy — the most comprehensive and statistically accurate report on U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government.

Bob C. Cleckler, with Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., two non-profit educational corporations, has been researching and writing about ending English functional illiteracy since 1985. The extent and seriousness of the problem of illiteracy is much worse than almost anyone realizes. People have a strong tendency to believe what they want to believe, and few people want to believe that teaching reading in the U.S. is as difficult as it really is, because they do not know what to do about it. If anyone determines the true seriousness and extent of English functional illiteracy, they will want to help. The best way is to learn how we can definitely and permanently end what is provably a literacy crisis. The “English functional illiteracy” website linked above provides five short statements on the extent, seriousness, cause, and cost of functional illiteracy and five short statements of how to permanently end English functional illiteracy, all of which are proven by the “Read More” pages following each statement. The home page of this website can be read in less than six minutes. This website also has a link for a no-cost, no-obligation copy of the second revision of the award-winning, breakthrough book titled Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis. A careful, honest evaluation of this book will convince even the most rabid skeptic — who is not completely close-minded about the teaching of reading — that the proven solution to illiteracy that we are advocating is the RIGHT way to solve the serious problem of English functional illiteracy.

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America’s Dirty Little Secret, II

Please follow this link to see a very important August 16, 2012 blog about ending our literacy crisis. Placing this blog on more than one website would result in a search engine optimization downgrade.

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Debunking All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform, Part 4

If you have been reading these blogs and are not concerned about literacy — or more specifically, the shocking level of English functional illiteracy around the world — you have not been paying proper attention to what you read. Or you need to read the most complete blog about our humanitarian project, “America’s Dirty Little Secret.”

If they knew the situation you now face, at least 600 million people would hope you aren’t reading this just for entertainment or for temporary relief from boredom. For the benefit of these 600 million — and for your own benefit — they are hoping you will take action on what you read. For the success of this or any similar humanitarian project, publicity is badly needed. Are you up to the challenge? Do you know at least two or three people you could refer to this blog? Do you know a celebrity whose endorsement would be much more influential than an endorsement from you or me?

This is the fourth in a series of five blogs about the only reasonable objections to spelling reform. Some people will complain that a phonemic spelling would hinder the recognition of the plural and past-tense forms of words. This is not true. If the plurals and past tenses were shown with a standard prefix, the reader might recognize them as plural or past tense a millisecond sooner. When the reader’s eyes reach the end of a word, however, if the word has been recognized (read), the reader knows that the word is plural or past tense — not only by knowing the word but also by the context. The ability to decide the pronunciation from the spelling is a big help in recognizing the word.

What is the ideal solution to our serious English functional illiteracy problem? The website linked here shows the problem and solution for English functional illiteracy. This website gives five short statements of the problem and five short statements of the solution, which can be read in less than six minutes. The proof of each of these statements is shown in the “Read More” pages. This website also has, in the left-hand column, a link to a no-cost download of an amazing, breakthrough, 265 page e-book in .pdf format which — if read carefully and honestly — will convince even the most skeptical reader of the wisdom of adopting the proposed solution to English functional illiteracy.

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Debunking All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform, Part 3

Reason for this blog: to start a grass-roots movement of the American public to permanently solve the serious problems that functional illiterates must constantly endure — problems that we would consider a crisis if they occurred to us — which affect a huge number of U.S. adults (see the shocking extent of illiteracy in the U.S.) rather than continuing merely to fight the symptoms of the problem as we have been doing for over 250 years. Merely reading this blog and making complimentary comments will accomplish nothing — readers need to reach logical conclusions from what they read and spend a few minutes to take action to further this important humanitarian project.

This is the third in a series of five blogs on the false excuses people give to avoid making the correction of our spelling which is the obvious way to permanently end English functional illiteracy.

A third and much less convincing supposed disadvantage of spelling reform is that reformed spelling would destroy the etymological or linguistic history of words. Samuel Noory shows that “today’s spelling is in many respects as much an offspring of fancy as of design.” He gives several examples, on pages X-XIV of his book Dictionary of Pronunciation, in which spelling is not based on historical roots. Also, etymologists themselves would prefer to see English spelled phonemically, and thus, from this point forward, have a dynamic history of the language. As it is, we have more than 250 years of repetition of a “snapshot” of spelling the way many words were pronounced 250 years ago — a static history. Adoption of a phonemic spelling of English — as recommended by Dr. Frank Laubach, who is arguably the world’s greatest expert on teaching adults around the world to read — would not result in the instantaneous destruction of all books written in English. On page 48 of Dr. Laubach’s book Forty Years With the Silent Billion, he states, “If we spelled English phonetically, American children could be taught to read in a week.” Dr. Laubach prepared reading primers for 313 languages and devised spelling systems for 220 unwritten languages. He found that adults could be taught to read fluently in from one to twenty days in 95% of the languages and that adults could be taught to read fluently in less than three months in 98% of the languages in which he taught — because 98% of these languages were very nearly phonemic (words spelled the way they sound). In the U.S., almost half of the students never become fluent readers, and those who do become fluent readers require at least two years to do so. This is because there are at least 1,768 ways of spelling only forty phonemes (the smallest sound used to distinguish between syllables or words in a language or dialect), and not even ONE spelling rule that does not have exceptions — some of the exceptions have exceptions! Prior to 1750, English was a conglomeration of the spelling of eight languages, the language of every occupying nation in the British Isles. According to page 2 of Henry Hitchings’ book, The Secret Life of Words, English has adopted words (and usually the spelling) from 350 other languages.

As a result, the question must be asked, “How much more static history of a mid-1700s spelling freeze do we need?” A much more pertinent question must be asked. Let us grant for a moment that the etymological history of present English spelling is very valuable. Should we let the desire for etymological data by a limited number of scholars cause us to keep a spelling system that is causing a severe problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world?

No one knows how many facts will be required to get any one person to take action. Reading all of these blogs may not result in the badly needed action. A very careful, honest reading of Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Second Revision, however, is likely to be very beneficial to hundreds of millions of English functional illiterates by resulting in the needed action — if the reader is at all compassionate about the suffering illiterates. This breakthrough book is available as a no-cost download in .pdf format from our website on ending English functional illiteracy.) This is a 265 page ebook has enough facts and figures to convince anyone who will honestly grapple with the multitude of facts presented. It is offered in the left-hand column of a website which gives a very good introduction to the humanitarian project of Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. (two non-profit educational corporations). The home page linked above has five short statement about the serious problem of illiteracy and five short statements about the solution, all of which can be read in about six minutes. The proof of each of the ten statements in given in the “Read More” sections after each statement.

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Debunking All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform, Part Two

The Purpose of This Blog: Very few people realize the seriousness of the problem of functional illiteracy in English. The most statistically accurate and thorough study of adult literacy in the U.S. was a five-year, $14 million study commissioned by the U.S. government. It employed lengthy reviews of 26,049 U.S. adults statistically balanced for age, gender, ethnicity and location to represent the entire U.S. population. It was balanced for urban, suburban, and rural locations in twelve states across the U.S. and included 1100 prisoners in 80 prisons.

The report titled Adult Literacy in America (available for free inspection and download here) was released September 8, 1993. It received first page coverage in many newspapers the next day which essentially downplayed the seriousness of the findings (partly at least because the reporters more than likely read only the executive summary rather than the entire 200 page report and largely because the report did not mathematically analyze some of the most important findings). A follow-up report in 2006 (available for free inspection and download here) using a slightly smaller database (19,714 U.S. adults) showed no overall statistical improvement.

These reports proved (1) that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate (defined as reading and writing so poorly that they cannot hold an above-poverty-level-wage job), (2) that 31.2% of U.S. functional illiterates are in poverty, and (3) that functional illiterates are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.

The findings in these reports have essentially been ignored since they came out. Many people believe the functional illiteracy rate is lower than the above-mentioned reports prove because of several other reports that came out in the last ten years based upon a smaller database and/or less rigorous statistical methods. Educators and politicians want to believe these reports showing a less serious functional illiteracy problem because — at least in part — the reports mentioned in the paragraph above make them look bad, but primarily because they do not know how to really solve the problem. Their only solution is to request more money for education and request smaller class sizes. Despite numerous attempts at employing increasing amounts of money and smaller class sizes for the last hundred years or so, the literacy rate in the U.S. has not statistically improved.

Numerous apologists for our educational system claim we have made progress in improving literacy. They can only do so, however, by carefully choosing which data they include in their studies and by taking a small enough time period for their studies. Appendix 7 of my book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition gives a point by point refutation of a book claiming that there is not a literacy crisis in America. A more honest evaluation of the data would compare the literacy rate in the eighteenth century (other than that of the slaves who were often uneducated) with that of the twenty-first century. President John Adams did a literacy study in the very early nineteenth century and stated that it was easier to find a meteorite than it was to find an American who could not read.

This is the second in a series of five blogs that debunk all reasonable objections to spelling reform. Spelling reform solves the problem which is the primary cause of English illiteracy — the illogical, inconsistent, and chaotic spelling system — rather than merely fighting the symptoms of the problem. The symptoms of our erratic spelling system are: almost half of the students do not learn to read fluently and most students who do learn to read English fluently require at least two years — students in 98% of the alphabetic languages other than English learn to read fluently in less than three months.

The symptoms of our erratic spelling have been fought for the last hundred years or so by trying to improve (1) the reading textbooks, (2) the teaching method, (3) teacher training, (4) the number of students in each class, and (5) anything else they can think of — other than changing the spelling that is the primary cause of the problem. This makes about as much sense as taking aspirin, decongestants, and cough medicine to fight the symptoms of pneumonia instead of taking antibiotics to cure it!

Debunking Objections to Spelling Reform: Is a standard pronunciation required? Many people believe that instituting spelling reform would require a fixed standard of pronunciation, which we do not have. This line of thinking is a fallacy. We almost always understand each others’ spoken words. We will understand the written transcription of words even more easily than spoken words because spoken words must be understood in the split second in which they are pronounced whereas written words can be examined as long as necessary to understand them. Also, the fact that written words are separated by spaces will be of great assistance in understanding written material. It is often difficult to know the start and end of spoken words because they are run together — unless the speaker purposely speaks slowly and distinctly.

Frank C. Laubach, who was perhaps the world’s best authority on teaching adult illiterates around the world to read, stated on page 233 of his book Teaching the World to Read, “It is a linguistic axiom that what is understandable as speech is also understandable when written with a suitable phonetics.” So, basing our spelling upon pronunciation would not require that we all pronounce words the same to be understood.

No one wants to be told how to pronounce their words — nor should they be. As a result of spelling our words as they sound, however, people’s speech will become more standardized with that of their peers by reading written material published in their area as time goes by. This will occur both by choice and by the same process as widespread use of radio and television begun in the twentieth century caused a large amount of standardization of speech in the area where the radio and television program originated.

Almost every English reader who does very much reading has had the experience of not recognizing a written word that is in their speaking vocabulary. If the word were spelled as it is pronounced they would immediately recognize it. Almost every English reader who does very much reading has seen a new word (not in their speaking vocabulary) that they understand by the context but they do not know how to pronounce it — if they do not take the time to find the word in the dictionary or ask someone who knows the word. At a later date they may hear the word pronounced but not recognize it as a word they read earlier but did not learn how to pronounce. Having a spelling system in which the words are spelled as they are pronounced will help standardize their pronunciation.

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Debunking All Reasonable Objections to Spelling Reform, Part 1

This is part one of a five-part series. This blog is presented in an attempt to promote our humanitarian project which is a proven way of ending functional illiteracy.

For several reasons English illiteracy is very much a hidden problem. As a result, very few people except the closest friends of some of the illiterates know the serious effects of illiteracy.

The most statistically accurate and thorough study of U.S. illiteracy ever commissioned by the U.S. government proves that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate (defined as reading and writing so poorly that they cannot hold an above-poverty-level-wage job), proves that 31.2% of functional illiterates are in poverty, and proves that functional illiterates are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.

People may have developed some misconceptions if they have not carefully researched the effects of English spelling upon illiteracy. Certain items, upon brief examination, may seem disadvantages of spelling reform, although they are not. The supposed disadvantage also may be counterbalanced (or even overbalanced) by a corresponding advantage.

Will Existing Writings Become Inaccessible?

This is perhaps people’s most serious objection to spelling reform. Conventional wisdom states that if a completely different spelling system is adopted, all the existing material in English will become inaccessible. However, learning a new language will not make us unable to understand our first language. Learning a new way of spelling will not erase all memory of traditional English spelling. Nor would the printing of new books suddenly cause all the existing books to self-destruct.

The truth is this: all the existing books in English are ALREADY inaccessible — to illiterates! After NuEnglish is implemented, everyone except the most severely mentally handicapped will read. People who now read English will keep their books written in English and read either English or NuEnglish. Libraries will keep their books in English. All others will read only NuEnglish, unless they choose also to learn English, similar to English literature scholars who must learn Middle English to read Chaucer and other writers of his era. Lawyers, English scholars, historians, and all those whose vocation or hobby requires extensive research through written material of the past — if it is not of sufficient interest to make reprinting in NuEnglish economically feasible — would learn English spelling as a college (or possibly high school) elective course.

All the books that are so important that they have a readership large enough to make reprinting economically feasible for the publishers will be reissued in NuEnglish. Competition among printers for their share of the market suddenly swollen with millions of previous non-readers will ensure such an event. In the same way that we recently saw “Now in HDTV!” preceding certain television programs, we will soon see advertisements by bookstores declaring, “Now in NuEnglish!”

Many libraries have few books that are fifty years old or more. Many libraries sell outdated and least used books to make room for new ones. Often the books they sell are only one or two years old. The average age of books in a bookstore is much less than that of books in a library. Few books in a bookstore are so eagerly sought that they will be reprinted for more than a year or two. Our website on Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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The Ultimate Account (?) of America’s Education Dilemma

For the purpose of search engine optimization, this important blog will only appear on one of our five blogs. To see this vital blog click here.

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Has TV News Programs Made You Shockproof?

Many of us see so many “crises” on TV in today’s world that we almost become shockproof, but I never get over being shocked when I look at the analysis of statistics from the most comprehensive and statistically accurate study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government and the 2006 verifying report. English functional illiteracy (defined as being unable to read and write well enough to hold and above-poverty-level-wage job) is far worse than most people — even including our leading educators and politicians — realize; it is worse than our worst nightmares. The proven solution to ending illiteracy, however, is easier than you would ever dare to dream. The details of the solution are found in the breakthrough book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition, describing a revolutionary way of learning to read, by Bob Cleckler, Founding Chairman of Literacy Research Associates, Inc., a non-profit educational corporation. Cleckler has been researching and writing about ending illiteracy since 1985.

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Challenge: I Bet You Don’t Know How Few American Adults Can Read Well

If you have not carefully analyzed the most accurate and complete study of U.S. adult literacy ever commissioned by the U.S. government, you DO NOT know the seriousness of this well-hidden problem.

The media have not accurately reported on this study. There are several possible reasons. Reporters are in a hurry to get their report out before another news media reports it, so they only read the Executive Summary. Or they read the report of the study, but the study does not carefully detail the meaning of some of the data that are contained in the report of the study. Or they do not want to upset the educational and political leaders by highlighting the very serious nature of the problem.

Whatever the reason, the shocking facts reported in the 1993 Adult Literacy in America study report (see http://nces.ed.gov/pubs93/93275.pdf) have been largely ignored. This is true even though the results of this report were confirmed by a report issued in 2006 (see http://nces.ed.gov/NAAL/PDF/2006470.PDF). The Adult Literacy in America study was a five-year, $14 million study involving extensive interviews of 26,049 U.S. adults statistically chosen by age, gender, ethnicity, and location (urban, suburban, and rural locations in twelve states across the U.S. and including 1100 prisoners from 80 prisons) to represent the entire U.S. population. The 2006 report was prepared by the same group as the 1993 report, but it used a database of 19,714 interviewees.

The Adult Literacy in America study gave the interviewees written material to read and then tested how they responded to what they had read. They divided the interviewees into five groups, depending upon how well they responded. The two least literate groups totaled 48.7% of the interviewees. The average annual earnings of these two groups were well below the threshold poverty level earnings for an individual in 1993 according to the U.S. Census Bureau!

There are several methods used to determine functional literacy in English. By far the most accurate method of determining functional literacy is the wages that employers are willing to pay to employ workers who can read and write well enough to be a profitable employee. Employers have a strong financial incentive to determine accurately how well their prospective employee can read and write. No other method of determining literacy has such a strong incentive for accuracy. In fact, researchers may very well have reasons for wanting their literacy determinations to show certain results.

Almost all American adults can read a thousand or more simple words they learned in the first three grades in school. A careful analysis of the data in the Adult Literacy in America study, however, proves conclusively—as shocking and as unbelievable as it may be—that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate. It also proves that 31.2% of these functional illiterates are in poverty and that they are more than twice as likely to be in poverty because of their illiteracy as for all other reasons combined.

After many years of research, Literacy Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc. (two non-profit educational corporations) have perfected a proven, easy-to-implement solution to the very serious problem of English functional illiteracy. Our nine websites explain the seriousness and the solution to the problem of illiteracy. Our “home” websites are http://NuEnglish.org and http://EveryoneCanReadNow.com. Our http://LearnToReadNow.com website gives the best introduction to our humanitarian project of ending our very real literacy crisis. No website, however, can give the understandable, progressive, and complete revelation of all the facts that may be needed to spur readers to action that is almost certain after a careful reading of our breakthrough book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, Revised Edition available at http://www.amazon.com/dp/1589824970. If more than 500 million English-speaking people around the world who are functionally illiterate in English (including more than 93 million in the U.S. alone) knew the choice facing you at this moment, they would urge you to get this book and carefully read it.

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Many People Avoid Badly-Needed Changes. . . . Do You?

Caution: this is important to you and to all of us, but it is not “light-reading.” Are you up to the challenge?

Many people resist change, even a change to something that is better. This is because people often prefer to continue the inconvenience of the known instead changing to achieve the proven benefits of the unknown. People often continue to resist change until it becomes a crisis that they cannot continue to ignore. I hesitate to use the following example because it is so trivial compared to the shockingly large problem of English functional illiteracy, but it is a perfect example of avoiding change until a crisis occurs that cannot be ignored.

In a Western U.S. city, which shall remain nameless, there is a straight stretch of road almost a half-mile long which has only one intersection — near the middle. The speed limit on the road is 50 mph, but cars often go 65 mph. People who live near the intersection often want to enter the road at the intersection. The only way to avoid entering the road at this intersection, on one side of the road, is to go almost a mile out of the way along a slow twisty-turny, uphill road through the neighborhood and stop at a stop sign and then later a traffic light. People on the other side of the road have an even longer path to avoid entering at this intersection. People who want to enter the road at this intersection complained to city officials for years about the need for a stop light there because of the danger and because of many near-misses they encountered. Because of the high cost, city officials resisted the change for many years — which those in the neighborhood considered a crisis. A traffic light was not installed, however, until after someone was killed in a car wreck at the intersection.

Political and educational officials have been avoiding any truly EFFECTIVE changes in the method of teaching reading in the U.S. for more than ninety years. Almost a hundred million functionally illiterate people in the U.S. are affected by our “car-wreck” of a system for teaching reading. There are several reasons. Political and educational officials make small changes hoping it will solve the problem and then hope no one will really notice that the change has not made a statistically significant improvement. Parents may see reports about the problems in the schools but are firmly convinced that the school(s) their child(ren) attend(s) (or to which they move their offspring) is a very good school. They believe this because they want to — they do not know what else they can do. In short, everyone involved, politicians, educational officials, teachers, and parents, do not know how to solve the problem and do not want to take a chance on anything they consider too “radical.” Some critical problems, such as the problem of English functional illiteracy, however, cannot be solved by merely “tweaking” the existing system — as has been done many times in the last ninety years (at an increasing pace since the 1983 “Nation At Risk” educational report. This report concluded that if a foreign nation had imposed upon us our present, ineffective educational system, we would consider it an act of war.)

The good news is that the discovery of Literacy-Research Associates, Inc. and NuEnglish, Inc., (two non-profit educational corporations) and the perfection of the method they discovered for solving the problem of English functional illiteracy has been proven to solve the problem. Dr. Frank Laubach, perhaps the world’s greatest authority on teaching illiterates around the world to read, taught in more than 300 alphabetic languages. In 95% of these languages, he could teach adults to read fluently in from one to twenty days! In some simpler languages, such as one or more dialects of the Philippine language, he could teach adults to read in one hour! In 98% of these languages, he could teach his students to read fluently in less than three months. In fact, Dr. Laubach invented spelling systems for 220 languages. In Dr. Laubach’s books, Teaching the World to Read and Forty Years With the Silent Billion, he never mentioned even one student that he was unable to teach to read. All of this was possible because all of these written languages were logical and consistent.

Present English spelling — on the other hand — is illogical, inconsistent, and chaotic. Most of us who can read learned to read as a child and have long ago forgotten the difficulty we had. Our eyes skip easily over a multitude of traps for beginning readers.  Although there are many reasons why any one student may not learn to read, there is only one problem that affects every student — the illogical, inconsistent spelling. Our ridiculous spelling is the fundamental, root cause of functional illiteracy. To see proof of that statement, click here. As far as grammar and syntax are concerned, English is neither the easiest nor the most difficult, but English spelling is by far the most illogical, inconsistent, and chaotic spelling in the world. English grammar and syntax are easier, for example, than many European languages. Learning to read any of these European languages with a more complicated grammar and syntax can be mastered in less than three months. It takes most U.S. students at least two years to learn to read English, and almost half of U.S. students NEVER become fluent readers.

A careful analysis of the most statistically accurate and comprehensive study of U.S. adult literacy, the Adult Literacy in America report, conclusively proves that a shocking 48.7% of U.S. adults cannot read well enough to hold an above-poverty-level-wage job. This report is available for free study and download, click here. Not only did newspaper reporters downplay the seriousness of the facts in this report, the authors of the report did not take the facts they reported to their logical conclusion as would be possible with some simple ratio-multiplication. The inability to read well enough to hold an above-poverty-level-wage job is the most accurate possible determination of English functional illiteracy. See proof of that statement here. The accuracy of this report was confirmed by a 2006 report, which is also free on the internet (click here.) To see proof that 48.7% of U.S. adults are functionally illiterate and that 31.2% of these functional illiterates are in poverty and that they are more than twice as likely to be in poverty as for all other reasons combined, click here.

Dr. Laubach stated on page 48 of his book, Forty Years With the Silent Billion, “If we spelled English phonetically, American children could be taught to read in a week.” Educationists familiar only with traditional English may be tempted to discount Dr. Laubach’s expertise and claim that is too optimistic, as a way of maintaining the status quo. Learning to read in only three months or less would make American schools equal to schools in other languages. Many other school subjects could be begun two years earlier than they are now.

The school systems in many nations have such high standards that only the best students remain in school. Dr. Rudolph Flesch, on pages 76 and 77 of his book, Why Johnny Can’t Read, explains another important difference:

Generally speaking, students in our schools are about two years behind students of the same age in other countries. This is not a wild accusation of the American educational system; it is an established, generally know fact. . . .

What accounts for these two years? Usually the assumption seems to be that in other countries children and adolescents are forced to study harder. Now that I have looked into this matter of reading, I think the explanation is much simpler and more reasonable: Americans take two years longer to learn to read — and reading, of course, is the basis for achievement in all other subjects.

Although conscientious teachers of the first three grades in school may be frustrated by their inability to teach their students to read, many of the teachers of the first three grades — even including many of these conscientious teachers — do not relish the idea of having to learn to teach new subjects. John Corcoran, who wrote the book, The Teacher Who Couldn’t Read, was a college graduate who taught in a California high school for several years but could hardly read at all. He stated that even though no school teacher ever heard him read aloud correctly, they never seemed to notice. He stated that school teachers are in denial about the problem of non-readers in the schools.

Some of the better students can probably learn to read English spelled phonetically in a week, as Dr. Laubach stated, but it would be a serious mistake to discount Dr. Laubach’s lifetime devotion to teaching students around the world. Even if Dr. Laubach is too optimistic in his assessment, if every student except the most seriously mentally disabled can learn to read in less than three months (instead of the present record of only slightly more than half learning to read in two years or more), everyone who has any compassion for the pain and suffering of illiterates and the cost their illiteracy imposes on every adult, reader and non-reader alike, (more than $5,000 each year for the cost of government programs that illiterates use, the cost of truancy, juvenile delinquency, and crime directly related to illiteracy, and the increased cost of consumer goods due to illiteracy) should be eager to help promote the only proven solution to illiteracy.

To see an overview of our humanitarian project, click here. What we are proposing is very simple: let’s spell our words the way they sound, the way most of the entire world does! As stated at the start of this blog, however, this is not light reading. Due to the natural human avoidance of change, many people have to see a large number of facts before they are willing to make a change. Some skeptical readers will not be convinced by this blog or any or our extensive websites. One thing is certain however: anyone who carefully, honestly reads all of the text of our book, Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis, which is 164 pages and will take about six hours at a normal reading rate, will be convinced that we must stop fighting the symptoms of the problem (the difficulty of English spelling) and solve the problem, by making the spelling simple, dependable, and logical, as Dr. Frank Laubach found effective in more than 300 languages. This is similar to taking aspirin, decongestant, and cough medicine for the symptoms of pneumonia instead of antibiotics to cure it. Visit the Amazon.com website about Let’s End Our Literacy Crisis to see a description of the book, a short history of the development of our humanitarian project, an editorial review by Dr. Robert S. Laubach, past president of Laubach Literacy International, and ten customer reviews of the book, some of them by Amazon Top 500 reviewers, by clicking here.

 

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