In "spelling it Out", Masha Bell spells it out! It costs a lot of money to make the Commonwealth population literate, much more than other learners from other countries. Is it worth it? Many are labelled "learning disabled" because they "cannot" read, but research shows that they could if they were Finnish speakers or Italian! Is this worth it? Commonwealth population must spend more time learning all of those irregular spellings and learn to read them when they could learn more worthwhile subjects. Is it worth it?
Interestingly, Finland has just the same range of problems as the UK and other European countries: http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6278622 Reading is not about spelling, it is about meaning. In Spain, with one of the most regular languages, there are tremendous problems with reading and also with spelling. The whole nonsense about spelling reform comes from a naive misunderstanding of our pattern recognitions skills. Learning to decode is a relatively trivial skill. Learning to read is quite different. But the campaigners for reform are like Jehovah's witnesses. They 'know' the truth and have no interest at all in evidence. That's why this book and all of the incessant spam has had no peer review. In fact, spam is the only way this campaign can be promoted. It is a hobby horse, a bee in a bonnet and it shows. Telling children that they find reading difficult because the language is wrong is cruel and dishonest. If children struggle, then they need professional assistance, not half baked twaddle.
Cardoon, High on hyperbole and anecdotes and short --very short-- on substance, facts, stats! "Learning to decode is a relatively trivial skill"? If you cannot decode, you cannot understand what you read, even though you might even have better skills at understanding an oral rendition of the text. "They 'know' the truth and have no interest at all in evidence." Where is YOUR evidence. Anecdotes? Yes! That's really convincing, professional, and relevant! The evidence is that English has about 90 spelling rules! 90! Other languages have about 50! So, I will let the reader guess as to which one is easier to learn! But, worse, 70% of these rules have 5 (and often more) exceptions, in those common words that kids must read and write. Does that make sense to you? Cardoon, I suggest you go back to fetching the water at the river and use silexes to make a fire. English has not been improved in 400 years. Many languages HAVE. Are you saying that all of those people are stupid? Dutch, Chinese, French, Portuguese,... The overwhelming evidence is that the language is a mess. We use FACTS, not anecdotes to highlight a problem. You can decode, but I am afraid that you are not understanding what you are reading. For more info, read the book or get a taste of it at http://reforming-english.blogspot.ca/ .