Welcome and Introduce Yourself!


Welcome to the Reading and Writing group in the LINCS Community! 

So glad to see you have found your way to this space where we can meet to discuss, learn, and share with each other. Please post an introduction about yourself in response to this thread and let everyone know what you would like to gain from your experience in our group.  Also, feel free to post any questions or discussion topics you'd like to engage in exploring with your colleagues.  Remember to check out the redesigned LINCS website resources at http://lincs.ed.gov

Looking forward to the discussions...

Michelle Carson




Ms. Carson, thank you for welcome me. This year I would like to be more assertive in teaching Reading and Writing to my ESL Low Intermediate students. I hope you would like to give me some tips for this school year. We start classes this coming Monday. edith



My hunch is that the Adult English Language Learner group will have more content and discussions that would be helpful to your class instruction. If you haven't joined that group yet, you might want to take a look. 

On the other hand, I imagine that some of the topics will have broad appeal such as motivation issues for our learners.



Howdy all.   I'm an "academic development specialist" at Parkland College, which means that I work with students in pre-college level courses.  I provide mostly academic support; my background is in Learning Disabilities and Gifted Ed (tho' my bachelors' was in Wildlife Biology).  Right now we're so shorthanded I don't have time to say any more ...


I'm looking forward to participating in this new discussion group. I am a professor at the University of Delaware, where I teach courses on literacy problems and on writing instruction and development. A few years ago, I completed a research project on decoding instruction for adult basic education learners. I'm excited that the complete version of the curriculum is finally available (free) on the LINCS site. ( http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/making_sense ).

I currently have an R&D project developing curriculum for basic writing classes in colleges and community colleges. Parts of the curriculum have also been used in adult education programs. It applies what we have learned about self-regulated strategy instruction with adolescents to older groups of students.

Charles "Skip" MacArthur



Let's work on some strategies for acquainting the group about your curriculum. 

In addition to providing an overview of the materials, we might emphasize the professional development that's needed and then the implementation supports to ensure that it is implemented as intended.



Great news for a Friday! The National Academies of Science has completed a webpage that compiles all the materials related to the 2012 research synthesis report, Improving Adult Literacy instruction. All are available as free pdf downloads. Read them on your ereader! http://sites.nationalacademies.org/DBASSE/Adult_Literacy/index.htm

*New* are two booklets based on the report that are practitioner-friendly and bring several big ideas together in a clear and usable way.

  1. Developing Reading and Writing – This booklet includes the findings and instructional recommendations from the research, such as effective practices in reading, writing, instruction for adult English language learners, and best practices for those who struggle with literacy.
  1. Supporting Learning and Motivation – This booklet includes the research and principles of instructional design and adult motivation. Some of this research is newly applied to the field of adult literacy development.

Programs and individuals can also request copies of these booklets to be delivered in paperback/magazine style copy, for a nominal fee (following link on the main site).

I look forward to discussions, guest facilitated and otherwise, about these important new resources for our field.

Best, Heidi Silver-Pacuilla


Thank you for bringing these materials to the group's attention.

I believe that they can be very helpful in providing the research-base for our practitioners concerned with literacy participants' learning and motivation.

These resouces will be helpful to our discussions.



HI everyone,

I am a developmental Reading and Writing instructor at Yavapai College in central Arizona. Previously I was a GED Coordinator and a Learning Center Coordinator here at the college. My background in college was in rhetoric, composition, and professional writing, but my experience and passion, as you can see, has been largely with developmental students.

Hoping to have great conversations with you all!

Tina Luffman, Faculty

Hello! My name is Kat Bradley-Bennett. I teach two levels of ESL to adult immigrants for St. Vrain Valley Adult Education in Longmont, Colorado. Before this job, I taught for two years at a university in South Korea and for a short time at a foreign languages university in Xi'an, China before that.

I'm currently in a Masters program at Colorado State University, pursuing a Masters in Adult Education and Training. I also manage the ESL section of  St. Vrain Valley Adult Education, serve as the school's Learning Needs Coordinator, and participate in the training of volunteers. 

One reason I have for joining this discussion thread is that we recently had to change our assessment from CASAS Life and Work Listening to CASAS Life and Work Reading.  The switch has drastically changed the dynamics of our classrooms, and it has profound implications on our instruction. Whereas, before we were incorporating more listening and speaking skills, and supplementing literacy on an as-needed basis with one-on-one tutoring, our focus now has to be on literacy first, accommodating listening and speaking deficits in other ways.

I'm interested in reading how others are delivering literacy instruction, especially reading, as well as what research is out there.

My time to participate in discussions is very limited, but I look forward to sharing when I can.


Kat Bradley-Bennett


I'm wondering if you have a sense of students' response to the switch in assessments. 

My sense is that the switch would be viewed as a positive change but then perhaps the students' goals were/are more aligned with one measure or the other. I also assume that students only took one of the assessments so they might have limitied sense of what the other version offered.




My name is Carol Rachfalski and I am a teacher at an adult high school in New Jersey. At the present time I am teaching Basic Skills Math and Consumer Education, although I've taught Basic Skills Reading too. I've joined this group hoping to share and discuss information with other adult education professionals and maybe gain some knowledge of the lastest techniques being used in the field.


    My name is Linda Stevens. I am IS/IAS for Worcester County Adult Education. I have been with the Adult Education Program for eleven years. 

I am looking forward to an informative exchange of ideas with others sharing like concerns. Currently, I am busy "closing out" previous students by

helping them get their GED before 2014 and keeping abreast of the new 2014 test information.

Hi, I’m Ginny Garrett. I’ve taught for over 35 at Plymouth High School, NC, reading and English, and Sinclair Community College, Dayton OH, developmental reading and English and ESOL. While at Sinclair, I also directed and taught an ABE program which served ESOL students. Now that I am retired, I volunteer as an ESOL tutor with the Craven Literacy Council in NC. I have been an avid reader of the many posts over the years and have continued to learn so much.

Hi everyone, 

My name is Kathy Tracey and I coordinate the i-Pathways project. (http:www.i-pathways.org). I have worked in adult literacy education for close to 16 years and my focus right now is how to best utilize technology in learning. I recently found this insightful video on youtube and I wonder if anyone else has seen it or has any thoughts about it. The Reading Crisis and I wonder as we work toward selecting appropriate curriculum to prepare students for the new changes in testing, what should we be looking for? 






I am a career changer in the field of adult ESL.  I teach both our academic programs and our life skills programs at our community college in New York.  Specifically, I try to prepare students for the listening and speaking portions of the iBT, and work with students on writing and grammar.  I find my weakness is in teaching advanced pronunciation to students (such as rhythm and intonation) and moving students from grammar exercises into meaningful writing assignments.

Unfortunately, we do not have the availability of frequent professional development in my department, so I truly look for any material to keep my teaching fresh.


Thank you.

Alison Puntino

Queensborough Community College - New York

Good Day to all in this community!

I am Bonnie Lash Freeman.  I am interested in this community because family engagement, working with families that are described as being a part of the 47%, and focusing on the children of these families has been my life's work.  I find myself drawn to organizations and groups that work to create environments where these families can thrive and empower themselves.  I look forward to the discussions on equity and diversity.

Hi all.  I am the Coordinator/Instructional Specialist for the ABE, GED and ESL program at Harford Community College.  I also train the one-on-one reading tutors.  I am looking forward to what I can learn from all of you.  Take care.

I have been a GED instructor for many years now --- first with the Job Corps and now with a Native American tribe cash-assistance program.  I am interested in learning how to prepare my students for the changes to the GED beginning in 2014.  Plus, I would like any professional development I can get....Since I am not a part of a public schools district, I feel quite "on my own" as far as finding training.

Thanks for having me. I look forward to some good ideas and discussions.

My name is Sandi Myrick-Nelson and I am the Instructional Specialist at South Baltimore Learning Center.  I joined this group hoping to gain insight into how others are handling teaching the writing process.  I look forward to many lively discussions.

My name is Mary McFadden, and I am a volunteer ABE tutor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I have never posted to the list, but have gotten so much valuable information from the posts.  I teach reading to students  (one-to-one)  using the Wilson Reading System.   Most of our students begin the program with reading levels well below grade 4 (many around grade 2).    Due to the great demand, we can only offer our students two 1-1/2 hour sessions per week.  It can be a long, slow process, and our greatest challenge is to get students (especially the younger ones) to stay committed to the program.  When students commit to it, it can be quite successful!

Good morning!!

I'm a teacher in an ABE program in Holyoke, MA.  This year the program's teachers are teaching leveled subject based classes.  At present I am the Writing and Social Studies teacher for all levels 0-12.  I'm looking for some interesting activities in Writing (specifically the 0-3 levels) -- sometimes the mechanics can be "deadly".  I'm looking forward to "meeting" you all.


Dear Friends & Colleagues,

My name is John Corcoran and I am honored to join you on this forum. I believe that in America today, it is as important to teach an adult to read as it is to teach a child to read.

I learned to read at the age of 48 after going to a local library Adult Learning Center, taking a battery of diagnostic assessments and then receiving the research-based instructional methodology needed to teach me how to read. For the past 25 years, I have been advocating for literacy across the nation with the mission of preventing and eliminating illiteracy by teaching both children and adults to read. It is never too late to learn to read.

I look forward to continuing the conversation with all of you.

At your service,

John Corcoran

Oceanside, CA


Dear John,

How wonderful that you learned to read! Your viewpoints as an adult learner will be invaluable on this discussion list.


I have heard your inspiring talks at conferences and seen your books. Thanks for sharing info about the John Corcoran Foundation.

Betsy Rubin


 Whoops - my reply somehow posted twice and now I'm trying to figure out how to delete this second reply. All I can do is edit it - hence this apology.



My name is Neil Greene. I'm a Senior Analyst at the Center for Social Innovation, and an adjunct faculty member at Lasell College, where I teach health communication courses. I'm particularly interested in health literacy as a social justice issue. I've been drawn to it's growing scope, reading, numeracy, cultural, and civic. I see health literacy principles as plain old good communication and love how the national action plan calls for the integration of these principles into all sectors and fields. At C4, I've spent some time developing a curriculum for homeless service providers to integrate health literacy principles into their work by looking at this from both an organizational and individual standpoint.

R. Neil Greene
Senior Analyst, Center for Social Innovation
200 Reservoir Street, Suite 202
Needham, MA 02494
(617) 467-6014

Hi all,

I'm Shellie Zeitlin, a retired elementary school teacher with a strong background in Learning Disabilities. I've tutored students (K-12) with Learning Disabilities for many years.

I entered the world of adult education when I became a tutor for Literacy Volunteers of Westchester-Rockland. I later became a BasicLiteracy trainer for them. Through LVWR, i became involved with Learn to Achieve and am a certified trainer for them.

I joined this group because of my interest in reading and writing and also to learn more about the world of adult education.

Hello All,

About Camilia: My name is Camilia Sadik. I used to teach ABE and I am now a spelling consultant. I spent 15 years dissecting English and developing a curriculum to learn to spell 20 to 50 words an hour.


Camilia's Articles: My views are very different from traditional teaching. For instance, I believe dyslexia is acquired and it can be easily prevented or ended. Some of the articles I have written are:

1- Why can't we spell?

2- Phonics, Spelling & Dyslexia

3- Uncovering the Mystery of Dyslexia

4- Dyslexia Solutions


I wish to engage in conversations about phonics, spelling and dyslexia. I'm looking forward to meeting you all.

Hello Camilia,

I have been involved with this "discussion" for at least three years and there has been some lively discourse on each of the four topics you have written articles about.  Most of the contributors to this discussion are involved with adult education.  When the subject of phonics was first initiated some of the teachers actually couldn't believe that many adults don't know how to read because they are NBT - "never been taught". They simply do not know how the English language works: phonetically and grammatically.  As an elementary teacher who was college educated in the 60s I know that we were sent into the classroom quite ignorant of "intensive phonics" and actually prejudiced against the subject. How did you first become educated in the subject?  For me, it was finally reading WHY JOHNNY CAN'T READ in 1980.

Sharon Hillestad

The Right to Read Fnd  Fl Rep  

Hi Sharon,

Rudolf Flesch, the author of Why Johnny Can't Read, saw in English what the reading establishment couldn't see because he was born and raised in Austria where each letter stood for only one sound. He figured out that not reading but the look-and-say and word guessing was taught in American schools. His focus was on reading solutions and mine is on spelling solutions.


I acquired dyslexia only in English, but not in my first two languages. I was old enough to remember how I acquired dyslexia in English. Phonics' inconsistency caused me to be a poor speller and poor spelling caused me to acquire dyslexia. I was forced into speed-reading before learning to spell words and forced speed-reading caused me to see and then to spell letters in a reversed manner. I explain this entire process and much more in details in my article entitled "Uncovering the Mystery of Dyslexia by Camilia Sadik."


By the way, people are not born dyslexics; they are born analyzers who need logic before they can memorize the spelling of English words, and only analyzers can become poor spellers and then acquire dyslexia.

I would like to take part in discussions about phonics, spelling and dyslexia.

My speciality are

the inconsistencies of English spelling,

the learning difficulties they create

and the costs they entail,

and also the history of English spelling.

I have written many articles and several books on those topics

but have increasingly also tried to put the most important information in them

on my website and two blogs.

Masha Bell
Ex English teacher, now independent literacy researcher
and Youtube video 'Why improve English spelling?'
Wareham, Dorset, UK



How would you define dyslexia and what is its relationship to spelling?


What is your stand on dyslexia? Do you agree that dyslexia is acquired and caused by poor spelling or do think it is innate and it causes poor spelling?


When my dyslexic students read my article about how dyslexia is acquired, they too remember the steps they acquired dyslexia.

Hello all! My name is Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley and I am the co-founder of the Dyslexia Training Institute and the co-producer of Dyslexia for a Day:A Simulation Kit. We provide online courses about dyslexia and the Orton-Gillingham approach. Locally, in San Diego, we are advocates, reading therapists and provide diagnostic assessments at two learning centers.

I love to talk and teach about dyslexia, reading, spelling and everything that is involved in those areas so I look forward to being a member of this list.



Dr. Sandman-Hurley,

How would you define dyslexia?


What is your stand on dyslexia? Do you agree that dyslexia is acquired or do think it is innate?


Looking forward to a direct discussion about dyslexia with you!


I am also in San Diego, California.

Hello everyone, my name is Lety short for Leticia. This is my second year working with adults ESL and also currently teaching in an elementary public school working with children that have reading difficulties. Yes, I am the Dyslexia Teacher.  I have been working in the Dyslexia Lab for the past four years and I am still learning.  I can agree with some of you that dyslexia causes spelling problems and on the other hand, spelling causes dyslexia due to the fact that many children have all or most of the characteristics below or discussed in this panel. It seems that every case is different depending on their background. Every year is a challenge, trying to assist these children with strategies that can help them cope with their disability.

I have read the book, "The Gift of Dyslexia" and cannot wait to see You Tube's "Why improve English Spelling?" as well as read some of the other books listed in this discussion.

According to the International Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.  These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.  Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.

The Texas Education Code (TEC) 38.003 defines dyslexia in the following way: (1) Dyslexia means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity.  (2) Related disorders includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.



 I, too taught dyslectic children in pubic achool I found that the system waited too long to give these children services. They had to be at least 2 yers behind. Had the lag been less, the children would have been able to progress at a better rate. Hopefully, Rti will geet services to children faster.

I find it interesting that in doing functional MRI's they have found the brains of dyslexic people differ from the brains of non-dyslexics. The US government's National Institutes of Health has said that dyslexia is brain-based. They cam out with a consensus definition because each constituency in LD had a dfferent viewpoint.

Dyslexic children aren't the only ones who can't spell. There are non-dyslexic people who can't spell. As an example,my sister, an avid reader, who does the NYTimes Crossword puzzles in ink, can't spell. I know a highly respected lawyer who can't spell. Poor spelling isn't limited to dyslexic people.

Children begin to learn to read before theybegin to learn to spell. If you have ever watched a beginning reader do writing, you will discover that they write without vowels and usually don't leave spaces between their words. Yet they can read what they write, and if you lok at their writing as they are reading it to you, yo will see that it makes sense.

I agree that there was a time when there wasn't a systematic teachng of phonics. Children need to make connections just as adults do. Without the connections, it doesn't go into long-term memory.

Anyone witth reading problems, dyslexic or not, needs systemtic instruction in reading using a multisensory approach. Some adults resist because they think it's too juvenile but it up to us as adult educators to adapt materials to adult needs.


Hello All

To all those who are still interested in Phonics, Spelling & Dyslexia


-Why can’t we spell? English spelling is inconsistent and the spelling of every sound in every single word is based strictly on memorization without any logical spelling rules to explain when and why to spell a sound one way and not the other. We must memorize isolated phonics like “ph=f” and also memorize which phonic to choose when spelling every single sound in every English word like choosing “sophisticated” or “sofisticated.”


-Poor Spelling has to do with not knowing which phonics to choose when spelling English sounds in words. The reason the vast majority of native-English speakers can read but cannot always spell the words that they read is that one English sound can be spelled in many different ways. Most can READ the numerous spelling patterns of a sound, but cannot always remember which pattern to choose when spelling that sound in words. For instance, they may read “ocean” but spell it oceon or ocian or ocion or osion or otion or oseon or oshin or oshon or osheon or ochin, etc. The “ocean” example is only one out of thousands.


-There are those who are born memorizers and those who are born analyzers. Memorizers can memorize the spelling of words without any logical explanation. Analyzers, on the other hand, are those who question anything that doesn't make sense. They need logical explanations that make sense or spelling rules before they can memorize the spelling of words.


-English spelling was written for memorizers, not for analyzers. The inconsistency in the way we spell phonics in words causes poor spelling among analyzers but not among memorizers.


-Extremely logical kids (analyzers) fall behind with reading and spelling because their brains reject learning all that does not make sense. They reject the way English words are written and reject learning to read or spell such nonsense. For instance, they see a sentence like "My cat is cute." and question why it isn't written "Mi kat iz qut."


-Dyslexia in written English is a condition in which persons are obsessed with speed-writing and in their haste they write letters in a reversed manner. Example, writing "fro" instead of "for."


-Yes dyslexics are born with a different type of a brain but it is NOT a learning disabled brain; it is simply an extremely logical brain that requires logical explanations before it can memorize anything.


-Analyzers become poor spellers before the 3rd grade. Poor spellers fall behind and feel forced to speed-read to keep up with the rest of their classmates. Speed-reading before learning to read and spell is like forcing a baby to run before s/he can crawl or walk. While speed-reading, poor spellers quickly move their vision from left to right and vice versa. In their haste, they see letters in reverse and then write them in reverse and this is how dyslexia is acquired. Dyslexia is an advanced stage of poor spelling. Thus, every dyslexic is a poor speller but not every poor speller is dyslexic.

I' trying to be brief but I have much more to share. Please ask me for more details if you are still interested in my approach.

Camilia Sadik

I agree with your views on dyslexia, Camilia,

but I hope that before long we can go further than merely continue searching for better ways of helping those who find learning to read and write English very difficult. I would like us to begin considering a reduction of the spelling irregularities which make English literacy acquisition difficult not just for bright dyslexics, which are even more harmful to pupils in the bottom third of the ability range.

In fact, English spelling inconsistencies disadvantage all children. Even the brightest need much more time for learning to read and write than with more learner-friendly orthographies like the Finnish one. The further down the ability range pupils are, the longer they need for coping with phonic inconsistencies like those of 'o' in ‘on - only, once, other, woman, women, womb' and unpredictable spelling like those for the 'oo' sound in 'blue shoe flew through to you too'.

Because reading and writing are essential for learning other school subjects, pupils who need longer for learning to read and write have delayed and more limited access to the rest of the curriculum. If we improved English spelling, we would greatly improve the educational prospects of nearly half of all pupils.

I may have already mentioned that I have written another book about English spelling, but my EnglishSpellingProblems blogs already explained some of its worst costs, as well as its teaching and learning problems.

Among the worst retardants of English literacy progress are:

surplus -e endings (give, imagine, promise - cf. drive, define, compromise),

other redundant letters (friend, build, Wednesday),

including needlessly doubled consonants (arise – arrive);

omitted consonant doubling (shoddy - body)

and the many unpredictable spellings for the /ee/ sound (seek – speak, seize, siege, scene).

Those inconsistencies could easily be amended, given more concern for the educational progress of all children, rather than just the top half of the ability range who can cope with them with relative ease.

The consistency of English spelling was diluted predominantly in the 16th century, partly accidentally and partly deliberately, as I have summarised in http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2010/04/how-english-spelling-became-so.html and explained in more detail in my little ebook which Kindle owners can currently borrow from amazon for free for a month.

Schoolmasters began to standardise the chaos, by selecting the most used spelling for a word, but without any regard for logical consistency or ease of learning. They perversely embraced the use of identical letters for different sounds (ease, ear – early, learning) and different spellings for identical sounds (wear, hair, care, there, their). Their spelling choices later became enshrined authoritatively in Johnson’s dictionary of 1755, along with further complications of his own.  

I think it is high time to begin questioning our slavish obedience to dictionaries and to start reviewing the ‘correctness’ of the many mindboggling spellings which became standardised between 1600 and 1755. Do we want to keep tolerating the many costs which the inconsistencies of English spelling entail, or can we find the courage to start reducing them?

Masha Bell

What is a phonic? A phonic is a single sound that can be produced by two or more letters, like the “ph” in “geography” or by one letter that does not sound like its letter name, like the “o” in “choir” that sounds like a “w.” In English, we have 26 letters plus over 180 symbols of sounds we call phonics.


Dear Masha,

Thank you for your comments. I am afraid you and I have two very different approaches. My solutions for the problems associated with phonics, spelling & dyslexia are in my three books in nine volumes, but notice that I do not advertise my Web site or books here and limit this venue to discussions only.

I suggest keeping businesses out of this venue. What do you think?

Kind regards,

Camilia Sadik


Firstly, I am happy to keep business out of these discussions, because I am not in business or have business interests. I have written some books, but purely to inform, not to make money.

I began to take a closer look at English spelling and its problems and to write about them in 1995, after health problems forced me to retire from teaching English and modern languages at the age of 50. This coincided with poor literacy standard suddenly attracting great media attention in the UK and being invariably blamed on poor teaching.

Because I had first started to learn English at the age of 14, after Lithuanian and Russian, next learned German, and later went on to study French and also some Spanish and Italian, I was already aware that the English spelling system differs greatly from other alphabetic ones. The media hysteria about poor spelling standards and their vilification of teachers made me want to establish exactly how regular and irregular English spelling is and how it differs from other orthographies. My newly found spare time gave me the opportunity to devote myself to a proper analysis of the English spelling system, to examine what types of spelling errors students and adults commit, which spellings cause the greatest learning difficulties and also how English spelling became so inconsistent.

I also started writing articles and letters to the press about it and a book, but only because I wanted to tell people what I had learned, not to make money. Before the advent of the internet that was the usual way of spreading information.

The internet has enabled me to educate people about English spelling for free. Firstly, the few pounds I earned from writing enabled me to pay for a web designer and for web hosting and to put the most important facts from my book on a free website - www.EnglishSpellingProblems.co.uk. I am starting a web design course in a couple of weeks so that I can amend it myself, without having to pay someone for it.

The advent of blogs has enabled me to continue explaining the English spelling system in a different way. I have put much of the information from http://EnglishSpellingProblems.blogspot.com  and http://ImprovingEnglishSpelling.blogspot.com in a cheap little ebook as well, because I want the information I have compiled to be available in different formats, to as many people as possible, and hopefully also long after I am 6 ft under.

So please do not misunderstand me. I am passionate about my writing, but I write to inform, educate and make people think - not to make money.

 I hope that by taking part in discussions on here I can continue to improve understanding of the English spelling system and its effects.

Masha Bell



We will have to agree on terminology.

In the UK we call the 44 sounds of English 'phonemes'

and the letters and letter strings, such 'y' or 'ihg' (fly high), which we use for writing them 'graphemes'.


Phonics is used for the teaching method which teaches students the sounds for the graphemes and their use in writing.

There are several types of them (synthetic, analytic, linguistic). One of the earliest was Jollyphonics first published in 1996.

It has been much expanded since then and is still going, despite many new ones appearing on the market since the Rose Review of 2006 which endorsed 'systematic' phonics as the best strategy for the teaching of early reading, 'for learning to read', for roughly the 1st year of learning, then to be increasinly replaced, by 'reading for learning'. The government incorporated the recommendations of the Rose Review in its Letters and Sounds (2007) guidance to teachers, written by advocates of phonics, but many other phonics experts thought it inadequate. (Instead of the old reading wars we now have the new phonics wars.)

Phonics evangelists interpreted the Rose Review as endorsing their particular approach. They invariably blame literacy failure on insufficient use of phonics. And although Rose recommended 'phonics' mainly just for the first year of learning to read and write, they recommend its use for much longer, using the term phonics for almost all teaching of reading and writing, although they are quite vague about what exactly phonics means in literacy teaching after the initial phase.  




I'm not familiar with the term "a phonic" as a noun (or "a phonetic" as well).  It's given in the dictionary as an adjective, such as "a phonic analysis".  The term "phonics" (plural)  is a noun which is the study of the patterns of regular spelling and the various ways letters or letter strings spell the sounds (phonemes) of a language.  

To this end here is a listing of phonic spellings for each of the 40 sounds of US Englsh.  It is unique in that it analyzes the top 5k words of English via a count of how often they appear in regular text (totaling 15.4 million instances).  This makes up about 90% of words on a typical page.  

See  http://justpaste.it/phonemefreq  which shows the top 6 spellings per each phoneme (represented in truespel phonetics)


My name is Debbie Running and I am the Executive Director of the Literacy Council of Greater Waukesha (Wisconsin).  We provide one-on-one tutoring to individuals who need to improve their basic skills including reading, writing, spelling, math, English as a second language, citizenship and GED prep.  We use a lot of curriculum materials from New Readers Press, but I am always interested in a learning more about available of curriculum materials.

I have to agree with Masha. The individual sounds are called phonemesPhonics is a method of teaching based on the phonetic interpretation of the spelling.

In teaching literacy at low ESL levels, phonemes are of utmost importance in bottom-up strategies.  In teaching pronunciation, phonemes are considered the segmentals of spoken language. They are of equal importance to the suprasegmentals, which are rhythm and intonation.


Kat Bradley-Bennett

Yes, this is accurate.  In English the inividual sounds are "phonemes," while "phonics" is the method..

A question:  44 individual sounds.  Where did this understanding come from, does anybody know?

Where can I find the letters and letter combinations associated with these sounds?



I do research on adult literacy.  Though I have contributed many times o nthe other lists, I have been away from he field--until now--for some time.

I am most interested in the basics, meaning of terms, what succeeds and what doesn't, what research backs up successful teaching.




The phonemes differ slightly between accents.

In standard UK English they are as follows:

43 clear sounds, as listed and shown in words below:

/a/ (ant), /ai/ (rain),   /ar/ (arm),   /air/ (air),   /au/ (autumn), 

/b/ (bed),   /ch/ (chip),   /d/ (dog),   

/e/ (egg),   /ee/ (eel),   /er/ (herb),  

/f/ (fish),   /g/ (garden),   /h/ (house),  

/i/ (ink),   /igh (high),   /j/ (jug),   /k/ (kite),  

/l/ (lips),   /m/ (man), /n/ (nose),   /ng/ (ring),  

/o/ (on),  /oe/ (toe),  /oi/ (coin), 

long /oo/ (food),  short /oo/ (wood), /or/ (order),   /ou/ (out),  

/p/ (pin),   /r/ (rug),   /s/ (sun),   /sh/ (shop),  

/t/ (tap),   /th/ (this),   /th/ (thing),  

/u/ (cup),  /ue/ (cue),   /v/ (van),  /w/ (window),   /y/ (yak),  /z/ (zip),  /si/ (television)

     It also has an unstressed half-vowel which linguists call ‘schwa

which occurs mainly in endings and is often spelt <e>, as in ‘flatten, flatter, artery, decide’.


Another way of listing them is

24 consonants:

b,  d,   f,   g,   h,   j,   k,   l,   m,   n,   p,   r,   s,   t,   v,  w,  y,  z,  ch,  ng, sh,  th, th (this thing),  zh (vision).

and 19 ½ vowels:

long and short  a,  e,  i,  o,  u  and   oo; au, oi, ou, ar, are, er, or

 (bat, bate, set, scene, bit, bite, not, note, cut, cute, boot, foot; autumn, oil, out, car, care, her, nor).


an indistinct, unstressed half-vowel, as in - abandon, certain, critical, evidence, acceptance.


If those 44 sounds had just one spelling, learning to read and write English would be as easy as Finnish or Estonian.

English literacy acquisition is difficult and time-consuming because those 44 sounds are written with at least 205 graphemes (single letters or letter strings like 'ie', 'igh' or 'ough') http://englishspellingproblems.blogspot.com/2009/12/rules-and-exceptions-of-english.html

and least 69 of them have more than one pronunciation





As a project director for the U.S. Division of World Education, I coordinate the online professional development initiative, managing the development and delivery of courses for adult educators.  We offer courses on the topics of college and career readiness, adult student persistence, differentiated instruction, and reading through ProfessionalStudiesAE.  

I also co-direct the LINCS Region 1 Professional Development Center, promoting and disseminating evidence-based resources and training materials, and partnering with states to provide research-based professional development.  

I have worked in adult literacy since 1980, serving as an instructor and local program director, state consultant, program development director, training coordinator, and state outreach coordinator.

My interest in joining the list is to keep current with research and resources related to providing reading and writing instruction.