How Torture Reading Helped Denise Discover The Logic of English

As I have spoken around the country, I have discovered a pervasive affliction: English spelling appears inconsistent, illogical, and for some impossible. This ache resides not only within our schools: public, private, and home, but within the hearts of professionals who cannot spell, parents who cannot answer their children's questions, intelligent adults who were in special education, employers who are despairing at the low literacy rates of the workforce, and on through all levels of society. The logic of English speaks straight to people's hearts and their greatest insecurities.

For language, spoken and written, is the basis of all academics and the medium by which we conduct business, science, politics and relationships. Without a firm grasp of our native tongue English, we sever the Achilles heel of individuals and our society.

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Use I Before E - Part 2

The spelling rule "Use I before E, except after C, and when it says A as in neighbor and weigh" is one of the most commonly known English rules. Unfortunately this rule generates as many rule breakers as rule followers.

Many programs that use the 70 Orton based phonograms have kept the "I before E rule." These programs also teach the phonograms IE and EI. In a previous post we considered the phonogram IE. In this post we will consider the phonogram EI.

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2011 Conventions Added


Denise will be appearing and speaking at the following conventions in the upcoming year.

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Use I Before E Except After C - Part 1

As I have been writing Uncovering the Logic of English, I have been researching every phonogram and every spelling rule. The next few posts will explore this popular rule more and demonstrate why I believe it should not be taught.

Many people know the rule "Use I before E except after C, when it says long A, and in some exceptions."

Those of you who have taken a class with me know I always teach this rule last and demonstrate how knowing the phonograms IE and EI and their sounds is a much better way to memorize which spelling is used. I have always felt that the long list of exceptions to this rule prevents it from being a useful spelling tool.

As I have researched this rule I have discovered several problems with the phonogram sounds. Today we will look more closely at the phonogram IE. In common lists of the 70 phonograms, students are taught that IE has three sounds: long E, long I, and short I.

The problem with this is twofold: the long I and the short I sounds are not accurate in describing the commonly used English words.

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