text where each letter has its pronunciation indicated

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Bob Boden
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text where each letter has its pronunciation indicated

Post by Bob Boden » Wed Oct 28, 2009 10:10 pm

With modern computer technology it is perfectly possible to print English text in a form where the sound of each letter is apparent, yet spelling is unchanged. Why wouldn't we want to take advantage of this capability? It could be used to greatly simplify any good system for teaching reading.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:13 am

Why wouldn't we want to take advantage of this capability?
I'm afraid that perhaps people on this forum tend not to take more interest in the phondot system because they have great success at teaching reading without it.

It could be that the system adds an unnecessary layer of 'support' which synthetic phonics teachers find they wouldn't need - and which may cause worry that such support then has to be withdrawn.

In addition, the worry is that for some children the system may actually cause confusion at some stage - either during its use or at withdrawal point.

The suggestion might be that if children can 'learn' how to pronounce words with the addition of dots in various positions, they are capable of learning how to pronounce words by being taught the spelling alternative and pronunciation as these are systematically introduced.

Bob - we are so pleased that you join in on the RRF forum - and I worry that it seems your postings do not receive much response - but we suggest that it is often the case that people are wary about the synthetic phonics teaching principles being some kind of magic bullet because they haven't seen the best synthetic phonics teaching taking place - or haven't themselves taught by this method.

I grant that some children are slower to learn than others - but the teaching method does teach all the children.

My worry is that the teaching of spelling does not carry-on long enough or thoroughly enough! ;-)

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Post by Bob Boden » Fri Oct 30, 2009 3:54 am

I appreciate the kind words from Debbie.

Some further thoughts regarding the various teaching systems.

I am very much in favor of Synthetic Phonics as the right approach to teaching reading to our kids. I think the awful 'whole word' systems resulted in the greatest national tragedy the US and England have ever seen. Millions of innocent children have been condemned to a lifetime of minimum wage by the 'whole word' zealots and the people who supported them for their own profit.

I do notice that almost all teaching systems emphasizing phonics proceed fairly rapidly up through the 'c a t spells cat' stage, then things slow down. The awful spelling of English text must be faced, and really competent teaching and good material become very important. The teaching of reading in English to a good stage of proficiency requires about a year longer than Spanish or Italian (so I'm told). The letters in their languages are much more likely to represent just one sound.

I have the following posted on my wall: lone, done, gone, and bomb, comb, tomb, and rover, mover, cover, and talk, take, palm. Another series that furrows the brow: money, honey, come, some, won, ton, son, flood, blood. These various spellings must be memorized by a child, along with quite a number of ground rules.

We want to get the child as soon as possible to the point where he recognizes and can pronounce enough words so that he can begin to read for pleasure. This is where we all finally attain proficiency. But many hundreds of words, many of them not regular in their spelling, are involved. Good teachers and good systems are necessities, and though many in our group have demonstrated success, time is still a factor.

There is a possible approach to making things quite a bit simpler. I have been working for years on a method of using modern computer word-processing capability to temporarily produce English text in which letters each have but one sound (with spelling unchanged). This was done successfully by Dr. Edwin Leigh in the latter part of the 19th century, and writers many times spoke of the great success of the Leigh Print. But the 'whole word' crowd finally put him out of business.

Perhaps there are others in our group who would like to comment.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:57 am

Teaching reading and spelling does seem very daunting when considering the many spelling and pronunciation alternatives in our English writing/reading system. I agree with that observation.

What we need to aim for with good synthetic phonics teaching is readers who are very flexible in their word attack. In other words, readers who from the outset understand that there are complications and so the mindset and skills of learners include trying a pronunciation one way - and then another way - to result in the focus word.

Even within synthetic and linguistic phonics there are slightly different approaches to the teaching programmes. We have always acknowledged this.

Also, it could be that some SP proponents believe once most children are up and running with reading and writing, that they will bootstrap sufficiently not to need too long spent on future reading and spelling lessons.

When you provide learners with a flexible and knowledgeable approach to reading and spelling, even from an early age, then they are equipped to deal with the many potentially confusing inconsistencies such as those you have listed above.

Here are some quick tips, for example:

1) Don't 'sound out' end 'e' in words.

2) Teach short and long versions of single vowel letters early on. That means learners can sound out first with the 'short' version and if that doesn't work, try the 'long' version. It doesn't matter whether these sounds are literally 'longer' or 'shorter' or not. It is simply the drawing to the learner's attention that there are different sounds like this /a/, /e/, /i/, /o/ and /u/ for the single letters or these can also be code for /ai/, /ee/, /igh/, /oa/ and /yoo/.

Immediately, you have not only given access to many words with this tip, you have also made the learner a flexible reader.

3) In addition, teach the letter 'o' as code for /u/ early on. This means words like 'come' and 'some' are addressed already.

4) In addition to formally planned systematic phonics teaching, apply a vigilant approach to incidental teaching. So, if words like 'comb' are encountered, say, "In this word, those letters 'mb' are code for the /m/ sound".

With the combination of teaching above, you've pretty much cracked synthetic phonics teaching for reading.

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order in which to teach vowel sounds

Post by Bob Boden » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:31 am

In the brave new world of synthetic phonics with marks, I'd teach the vowel sounds with lists of simple words in the following order. This would introduce all of the vowel markings:

1) pat
2) pet, said,
3) pit, ear, myth
4) pot, calm
5) pup, come

6) put, pure, per, fir, word, myrrh

7) ape, veil
8) eve, police, baby
9) mine, by
10) go
11) clue, cue, do, flew

12) awe, cross

heal deaf ear, heart break ocean search, reality creates idea
soup, soul, touch, ought, out, could
suite, juice, build, guide, ruin

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Re: order in which to teach vowel sounds

Post by kenm » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:45 am

Bob Boden wrote: 3) pit, ear, myth
4) pot, calm
6) put, pure, per, fir, word, myrrh
7) ape, veil
11) clue, cue, do, flew
12) awe, cross
I would like to see these words in their Phondot forms, but could not find them all in your 2161 word list. Are they elsewhere on your web site?
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Bob Boden
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pronunciation indicated by marked letters

Post by Bob Boden » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:49 pm

Hi Ken,

You have been looking at only a small part of my work on the use of marked letters to shorten the time required to teach reading and simplify the procedure. Look up: www.phondot.com

scroll down to:

Introduction to the Phondot System:
http://www.phondot.com/phondotpaper2.htm

The Phondot Primer in two parts – pdf format

The first part of the Phondot Primer (material for use in teaching reading):
http://www.phondot.com/phondot1.pdf

The second part of the Phondot Primer (intended primarily for the teacher):
http://www.phondot.com/phondot2.pdf

Phondot Primer Index – pdf format
Index pages for both parts of the Phondot Primer:
http://www.phondot.com/phondot3.pdf.

You will see thousands of words in marked text -- lists and tables and stories. I may not have shown all of the words in my previous table of vowel letters, but there are many words similar to them. It is my contention that just the Phondot Primers in the hands of a good teacher would supply sufficient material to bring a new reader up to the proficient stage. Children would learn to write by copying pages of the supplied tables in normal text but the words they copy would all be marked. That way the child would see both versions.

Please look over this material. I would be delighted to see your comments. If at all possible install the AROBASE type-fonts. You will then be able to convert any of your favorite teaching material to the marked form.

I can supply marked versions of:

Alice in Wonderland
The Wizard of Oz
The Great Stone Face
Jack and the Bean Stalk

Bob Boden
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marked consonants

Post by Bob Boden » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:33 pm

Consonants which would benefit from some marking:

1) c cop -- cent cello facial
2) d dad -- gradual
3) g gig -- magic
4) n congratulate -- congress
5) s sis -- rise pleasure sure
6) t tot -- question option
7) x box -- exit
8) gh bough -- rough
9) th thin -- thine
10) w win -- flew

kenm
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Re: pronunciation indicated by marked letters

Post by kenm » Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:29 am

Bob Boden wrote:Hi Ken,

You have been looking at only a small part of my work on the use of marked letters to shorten the time required to teach reading and simplify the procedure.[...]
Thanks for the references. I was able to find the following pairs with identical markings on the vowels:

reign veil
raid rail
dine dire

In each case, the British pronunciation of the vowel sound in the second word differs from that in the first.

Other pronunciation differences exist, not only from one country to another but across regions in the same country. I can think immediately of "lever" and "valise" (different US/UK), but also many words containing the form VrC, pronunciation of which differs from UK RP in rhotic accents, such as Scottish and West Country.

See here.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Bob Boden
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How can a teaching system cover all dialects?

Post by Bob Boden » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:46 pm

Hi Ken,

I have not hidden the fact that in my marking system I follow what I shall call NBC English. I think it is by far the most common dialect of the language. I seldom hear anything strange at all in the speech I hear on TV including movies. (It happens I am a native speaker of NBC English. I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio.)

I don't think it would be appropriate to not take advantage of the marking of letters in the teaching of reading, even though all dialects of English cannot be covered. I had no difficulty understanding people in England at the times I worked there, and they did not seem to have any great problem with me. (They did have trouble with new engineers from Scotland).

As with all teaching systems, children must be told that their pronunciation may at times differ from that indicated by rhymes in the teaching text.

What is your opinion regarding this matter? It would seem to me that specific indication of pronunciation in a major English dialect should be of value in the promotion of increased standardization of English pronunciation world-wide. That seems a good goal. Perhaps TV could use a little help.

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Re: How can a teaching system cover all dialects?

Post by kenm » Mon Nov 02, 2009 1:51 am

Bob Boden wrote:What is your opinion regarding this matter? It would seem to me that specific indication of pronunciation in a major English dialect should be of value in the promotion of increased standardization of English pronunciation world-wide. That seems a good goal. Perhaps TV could use a little help.
I don't think my opinion on this is of much value, because my only experience of teaching reading is within my own family.

Many UK primary schools have very mixed intakes, with a wide range of accents. FWIW, I would not use a system that tried to teach a Scots child to read text with markings that indicated a London pronunciation, and an NBC accent would be even worse.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Bob Boden
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pronunciation of certain long-vowel words

Post by Bob Boden » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:34 am

I am told by Ken that in the following pairs of words the vowel sounds differ:

reign veil
raid rail
dine dire

What is the 'correct' pronunciation?

kenm
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Re: pronunciation of certain long-vowel words

Post by kenm » Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:58 am

Bob Boden wrote:I am told by Ken that in the following pairs of words the vowel sounds differ:

reign veil
raid rail
dine dire

What is the 'correct' pronunciation?
In my accent, in the second word of each pair the main vowel sound is followed by a schwa.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Bob Boden
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a couple samples of English as it could be (respelled)

Post by Bob Boden » Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:18 pm

Hi Gang,

I thought you might like to look at a sample of an English respell system, SRS4h. Many people are pushing for a respell of English, but if you have seen the resistance to even a temporary simple marking of letters imagine selling the following. Do you have any trouble reading it?

------ ---- ------ ----
The Walker

He left the hangur, went uround the bilding and past the nirbí cuntról
towur. Hiz car wuz parkt a cupul bloks uwá. He had comd doun sumwhut and wuz singing a sawng. It wuz a plezhur tu be ulón ugen. He wuz no lawnggur anggré at the ídéuh that sumwun mít huhras him. He wuz just sahré. He thawt he weud engáj sumwun tu peut a shín on hiz car. He nu a boy hu weud be kén tu du the wurk. (It wuz the kínd uv toil the yung man líkt). He wuz lawnging for a tawl drink tho he wuz not much uv a drinkur. He wuz hunggré. The darknes iNkrést. He cám upon an intursekshun and lengthund hiz stríd tu get ukraws the strét mor rapidlé. Incuming trafik wuz hevé in this urbun eréuh. He keud hir a banging sound and sum not veré geud langgwij frum a spot just óvur the fens.

------- ------ ----- ----- ----- ----- ----

The Late Arrival

Bob stróld up the path. He wuz lát and wuz cunsiduring hiz alubi. He lisund tu the uthur carz in the strét, heding hóm. The dawg, with paw rázd, gréted him at the dor. Molly keud awlwáz tel when he urívd. She wuz a fáthful kréchur, and the sensitivité uv that nóz wuz not a mith. The hous wuz kwíet. He leukt doun at the vínul tíl. It keud stand sum polish but he weud rizist the impuls tu cumplán.

He saw hiz fothur in the gardun nir the fens but didun't bothur tu cawl him. He wuz obvéuslé pripering tu mo the lawn. He keud se the nábur'z cow in the medo and the dens weudz béond. It sémd a trivéul matur but he awlwáz leukt tu se if ther wuz enéthing on the kichun tábul. Hiz wíf mít rít a nót. Ther wuz a nu novul ther, probublé hurz. It had a pikyúlyur simbul on the cuvur. The títul sed sumthing ubout neuronz. He didunt no whut that wuz ubout but simplé didunt ker.

He disíded tu rimúv the lábul now frum the pakij he wuz keréing. He hópt that Murtul weud not huhras him ubout the cawst uv the nu fur cót he had bawt hur. He had a ferlé geud riplí. At lést it wuz pád for. And the furst uv the yir wuz awlmóst hir and the er wuz cóld.

He found the pápur partlé ópun, óvur a cher. It had ránd in the morning. The pápur awfun got wet. He turnd the rádéó on but didunt ker for the singing.

He red ubout the síklón which had awlmóst hit the sivik sentur. The ski had leukt thretuning. He gáv a si. Ther weud hav bin the devul tu pá if the storm had bin wurs. The nolij mád him wins. He thawt, "We ar so helples in the fás uv bad wethur". He gáv sum thawt tu sólur powur, but klung tu hiz yúzhúul rigur, which ment discusing this with hiz wíf bifor máking a disizhun. She ikspekted this cunsiduráshun. He had bin thinking ubout imurjunsé powur and had an ídéuh. Sum mezhur uv akshun mít be prúdunt.
----- ---- ----- ----- ---
It wuz awn the furst dá uv the nú yir the unounsmunt wuz mád, awlmóst símultánéuslé frum thre ubzurvutoríz, that the móshun uv the planit Neptún, the outurmóst uv awl planits that whél ubout the Sun, had bécum veré iratik. A rétardáshun in its vulosité had bin suspekted in Désembur. Then a fánt, rémót spek uv lít wuz discuvurd in the réjun uv the purturbd planit. At furst this did not cawz ené veré grát iksítmunt. Síuntifik pépul, howevur, found the intelujuns rémarkubul énuf, évun béfor it bécám nón that the nu bodé wuz rapidlé gróing larjur and brítur, and that its móshun wuz kwít difurunt frum the ordurlé progres uv the planits.

kenm
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Post by kenm » Wed Nov 04, 2009 12:22 am

Yes, I have trouble with the words that do not represent the pronunciation that I am accustomed to hearing, such as "comd" for "calmed".

I don't know how many different sets of spellings you would need for the various US pronunciations, but you would need at least a dozen to cover the UK with accurate phonetic representations.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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