English Isn’t Really Crazy

 English is always dubbed as a crazy language that doesn’t make sense, but that isn’t really true! Watch my video to learn how our language is organized and how some of those silly spelling rules actually have a reason and purpose.

Dyslexic students struggle significantly with spelling. For them, they need to learn the WHY of spelling.  There are several rules for English base words. Most people didn’t have to learn these rules because they just memorized word spellings. But if you are a young student learning how to spell, especially if you are dyslexic, you are going to need something different to help you learn these rules. The goal is to be able to explain WHY and then apply to new words.  To help with this, I’ve created Spelling Stories. These are silly, memorable mnumonics to help children understand the rules of English base words. To learn about some of these, visit my Spelling Rules page. You can also watch my spelling videos by clicking on the youtube link on the right side.


Structured Word Inquiry

We’ve been led to believe that English is phonics based. Here’s the truth: English is meaning-based first and foremost, etymology-based (word origin) next, and THEN phonics-based. Understanding about words’ meaning and their origin helps explain a LOT about crazy spelling.

Here’s what we need to remember: Every word in the English language is either a BASE or a BASE with something “fixed” to it (prefixes and suffixes). Think about the word “does.” It doesn’t match the phonics pronunciation at all. Here is a video that models how to use a technique called “Structured Word Inquiry” to examine why words are spelled the way they are.

Think about the word structure. What does it mean? Is it a base itself, or is it a base with something fixed to it?  An inquiry lesson discovered that the base is actually <struct>.  So that must mean that -ure is a suffix.  What other prefixes and suffixes can be added to <struct> to make new words? Look at the word matrix below to realize just how many words we can read, spell, and understand by studying the base <struct>.

struct base

To learn more about structured word inquiry, visit Pete Bower’s site: www.wordworkskingston.com