Ways to get interested in the history of English and English spelling (Clare’s thoughts…)
For teachers, tutors (and learners with great levels of English) who’d like to find out more about the history of English, as a way to help make English spelling more meaningful, I’m a big fan of David Crystal – I love his book, Spell it Out. There are also many YouTube opportunities to watch him and his son Ben Crystal, performing Shakespeare’s work as it was once spoken. I love finding out that ‘done’ was once pronounced as the spelling suggests, with a long ‘oh’ sound, and that ‘war’ rhymed with ‘car’.
There’s also the DVD series, The Adventure of English.
Want to help someone with spelling? Or get help yourself?
To volunteer, I don’t think you need to be a perfect speller – it’s good for learners to understand that not everyone is, and that we all need strategies. You could apply to the Adult Migrant English Program to help new arrivals, or to your local literacy organisation – find out more from the Reading Writing Hotline.
To find out where to get literacy help (in Australia), contact the ReadingWriting Hotline
Want to get started at home?
For adults, I like BBC Skillswise: English and Maths for Adults (though the regional accents will be interesting to Australian ESOL learners).
Issues with learning difference?
Here’s a British Council interview with Sally Farley talking about dyslexia and English language teaching (British Council), and some information on teaching spelling for older students and adults from the Dyslexia-Speld foundation here in Australia.
I recently studied the MOOC course, Dyslexia and Foreign Language Teaching – it’s just one month long but had plenty to think about and implement.
For a bit of ‘building block’ work (CVC, CVCC, CCVC practice) it’s hard to find phonics apps that aren’t aimed at children.
OzPhonics is not too childish, and can be set to an Australian accent – or even an NZ one in some of the levels. Our adult ESOL literacy students enjoy this and also Montessori Crosswords, which may come bundled with the also excellent Writing Wizard.
Support Australian literacy with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation