Tears of relief and of untapped pain are a common response to reading Uncovering the Logic of English. The book goes to the heart and provides relief to the hurting.
Underneath the confident, poised exterior of many highly educated English speakers is a deep anxiety and pain that there is something wrong with them. They struggle with written language and try to hide their embarrassment. I believe this pain is at the root of our national debate on reading education.
Though it has been more than a decade since scientific research has conclusively demonstrated that systematic, explicit phonics is necessary for learning to read, as a nation we still do not buy it.
I believe this is because so many of us do not believe there is any system to English. We try to pass off our feelings of failure to the language, for if English is crazy and illogical, then there is nothing wrong with us.
On one hand the emotional response to Uncovering the Logic of English has surprised me. At its core it is a book about the linguistic structure of English, one that many people would dismiss as boring with a quick glance. Yet within the first four chapters the book unfolds the deeper issues at stake: the hearts and minds of English speakers. My purpose is not only to educate the reader's mind, but to set the reader free.
A retired 3-M engineer expresses this poignantly: "The 'thrust' of this book might be better described if the title was changed to The Heartbreak of English: A Logical Means of Recovery... A deep well of pain and humiliation was tapped with tears flowing I read on and on. Just so you know; I am a retired Electrical Engineer, I'm 70 years old and those that know me best might say I'm as tough as nails."
To begin to change the way we educate our nation's children, we must be willing to engage the deeper discussions, to listen to one another's pain and be willing to suspend blame. When a culture has lost something as fundamental as an understanding of its language, it is not time to point fingers; it is time for a renaissance.