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ERIC Number: ED377446
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994
Pages: 8
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
How Does It Feel To Begin To Learn To Read?
Albert, Elaine
A reading instructor interested in reliving the experience of learning to read for the first time attempted to read "Androcles and the Lion" in Shavian Alphabet. The would-be reader of Shavian faces a page of hooks and slants completely unfamiliar, but there is no translation problem. As soon as the reader can pronounce out loud the sounds represented by these hooks, he hears himself reading English. In several aspects, this experience parallels that of the first-grader learning to read: (1) it involves an unknown code, the Shavian alphabet; (2) once the correct sound for the symbol is made, it is like reading in an individual's mother tongue; (3) it is hard work; and (4) Shavian presents a lot of trouble with reversals such as "b" and "d." Learning to read in Shavian suggests how much easier it might be to learn to read in English if the alphabet more accurately reflected the sounds in the language. By 1961, British schools were trying out a new alphabet developed by Sir James Pitman called the Initial Teaching Alphabet (i/t/a/), which uses the Roman alphabet along with some additional letters. Intended as a beginner's start-up and no more, i/t/a helps students confront the text, to read phonetically instead of guessing. When the time is right the switch from i/t/a to standard Roman is accomplished through transition books, though some children switch from one to the other almost without realizing it. Perhaps it is time to take another look at i/t/a to help children through their initial trials of learning to read. (Contains 10 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A