Book Reviews Related to Literacy and English Spelling

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  Spellbound: Why English Isn't as Simple as ABC

The Wall Street Journal (May 2007) published a review of this new book. Barbara Wallraff is the reviewer. Click the link below to read the review.

"Spellbound reviews the surprising origins and astonishing secrets of English spelling. The author is James Essinger. He arouses skepticism about "Our marvel and wonder at our heritage as users of the English spelling system," the author writes, "have not worn off in 1,500 years and surely never shall. We are destined to be spellbound by English spelling forever." That's one way to look at it. On the other hand, over 40 million persons in the US alone have not mastered elementary reading because of the inconsistencies in English spelling standards.  Spellbound by James Essinger, 2007   Click to read the review.

One Day I Will Make It

Strategies for libraries to improve adult literacy programs. This final report by MDRC on Wallace’s Literacy in Libraries Across America initiative concludes that libraries need to better address adult learners’ barriers to literacy-program participation by providing support services such as childcare, transportation, and social-service referrals.

The report can help shape strategies to increase "learner persistence" required to achieve adult literacy goals. Published: January 2005, 77 pages. Author(s): Kristin E. Porter, Sondra Cuban, and John P. Comings with Valerie Chase. Publishing Organization: Manpower Development Research Corporation (MDRC). You can download this research paper at no cost from the Wallace Foundation. Download PDF Now (1.2m)

Spelling Dearest

 Book: Spelling Dearest  
"Spelling Dearest" - The Down and Dirty, Nitty-Gritty History of English Spelling) by Niall McLeod Waldman is an irreverent tell-all book. It reveals why English spelling is so needlessly difficult. The crucial events, the intentional complexity, the downright blunders are all there including names and dates of those who caused our misery. This book is "pithy and profound." The New Orleans Times says, "it's an informative, free-flowing, humorous and historic look at how we screwed up so badly for so many years." Spelling Dearest takes a lighthearted stab at the weakest part of the written English language. Available at by clicking above.

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