Looking Beyond Our Borders
English is unique not only in it’s complexity, but also in the lack of a commonly adopted system to make it easier to learn. That is not the norm in many other countries.
For example, every single student of Chinese and Japanese learns a phonetic alphabet in the first grade. It takes only a few weeks to learn, and the system is the foundation for teaching literacy in those countries. Every child learns to read by sounding out these symbols. No complex phonics rules and virtually no exceptions. Kids simply teach themselves the words they need to know to read. As they develop fluency, the “aids” are removed, and children become sight readers naturally.
In Hebrew, there is a simple system used to teach kids to read.
The black portion of the characters above is what an adult would read or write. The red and green marks are only added when reading is taught to children. As with English, Hebrew doesn’t include enough information in its standard written form for a child to read without error. So, two thousand years ago, they added “tips” to make things easier. This works wonders.
A Simple System Is Needed.
Take a group of kids who speak English as their primary language and teach them to read in Hebrew. By the end of 1st Grade, they read better in Hebrew than they will read in English 4 years later. When a written language is easy to pronounce, kids learn to read with ease.
Put all of this together and the message is extremely clear:
- English is so hard to learn that only half of our kids become proficient.
- English is hard because our spelling is “complex” and irregular.
- Most “complex” languages have some kind of “tips” that teach kids to read.
- Kids easily remove these systems as they achieve mastery of the language.
So we know, from lots and lots of research, that a system that makes it easy to read English will make it easier for kids to read. Kids will read faster and with more joy.
That’s why we invented TIPS™! Check out ReadingWorld for starters!