Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-in-Wonderland Public-School Theory
By Joel Turtel
As part of the whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many public schools now teach what they call “invented” or “creative” spelling. Under this theory of spelling, teachers believe that forcing a child to spell a word correctly thwarts the child's "creativity." So in classrooms across America, many public-school teachers now encourage children to spell words any way they like.
Also, many school officials now believe it is not important to teach correct spelling because, so the theory goes, a child will “eventually” learn to spell correctly. Unfortunately, millions of children who start out as poor spellers, stay that way. How, in our Alice-in-Wonderland public-school classrooms, will a child learn to spell correctly if public schools think that correct spelling is meaningless?
Charles J. Sykes, author of "Dumbing Down Our Kids," provides the following real-life examples of invented spelling in our public schools:
“Joan W. and Beverly J. [last names omitted for privacy] are not experts. They just didn’t understand why their children weren’t learning to write, spell, or read very well. They didn’t understand why their children kept coming home with sloppy papers filled with spelling mistakes and bad grammar and why teachers never corrected them or demanded better work. Mrs. W. couldn’t fathom why her child’s teacher would write a “Wow!” and award a check-plus (for above average work) to a paper that read:
“I’m goin to has majik skates. Im goin to go to disenalen. Im goin to bin my mom and dad and brusr and sisd. We r go to se mickey mouse.”
"On another assignment where the children were told to write about why, where, and how they would run away from home without their parents knowing about it, here’s what one child wrote: “I would run awar because by mom and Dad don’t love me. I would run away with my brother to the musan in mlewsky. We will use are packpacks and put all are close in it. We will take a lot of mony with us so we can go on the bus to the musam. We will stay there for a tlong timne so my mom and dad know they did not love us.”
Not only is this child’s spelling atrocious and the teacher’s “Wow” grade damaging to the child, but the lesson itself is insidious. Should teachers be giving writing assignments to children about how and why they should run away from home?
Spelling affects people’s lives. A person who doesn’t spell words correctly can’t communicate effectively with employees, supervisors, customers, patients, clients, business associates, contractors, or parents. He or she can’t be sure of the exact meaning of misspelled words in a contract, mortgage, medical consent form, or other crucial documents or instructions.
Invented spelling also makes a bad impression on employers and college admissions officers. Yet many public schools no longer think spelling is important enough to spend time on during the school day.
Parents, invented spelling is yet another reason why you should seriously consider taking your children out of public school and looking for better education alternatives elsewhere. The Resources section in "Public Schools, Public Menace" describes many low-cost, quality education alternatives you can take advantage of right now.