After health problems forced me to retire from 20 years of teaching English and modern languages in 1995, I became an independent literacy researcher and writer. Apart from my published books 'Rules and Exceptions of English Spelling'(2009), 'Learning to Read' (2007),
'Understanding English Spelling' (2004) and 'Spelling it out' (ebook July 2012), and many articles and letters, I also provide free factual information about English spelling on my blogs http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com,
At the time of my retirement the poor literacy standards of many school leavers were attracting much media attention in the UK and other English-speaking countries. They were generally blamed on poor teaching, despite research evidence making it increasingly clear that learning to read and write English is exceptionally difficult.
I had been aware of the learning difficulties posed by the inconsistencies of English spelling since 1959, when I first began to learn English in Lithuania at the age of 14, when I was already fluent in Lithuanian and Russian. My later study of German, French and Spanish had confirmed this too. My early retirement gave me the opportunity to make a detailed analysis of English spelling and its origins and the learning problems which its irregularities create.
I did this with the hope that my work might help TO END THE PERENNIAL READING WARS which have been raging across the English-speaking world for more than a century, with employers endlessly blaming schools for poor literacy standards, and teachers often blaming each other, while completely ignoring the main cause of English literacy problems: the inconsistencies of English spelling. My aim is to put debates about how best to teach children to read and write English on a more rational, better informed footing.