Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Plees teech me to reed!! ;-)

An unexexpected visit to Totnes last night, for yet another

Tuesday late night shopping extravaganza,

brought a surprise!

Walking into 'This 'N That', I was greeted by Lesley,

whose immediate words were :

''I have a present for you. Open it right away!'

I laughed!

(I would love to have had Lesley as my headmistress,

she is a scream!! )

We had only been talking about this not so long ago!

The Initial Teaching Alphabet

When it comes to the subject of teaching children to read,

there have been some pretty crazy ideas over the years!

But I think this beats them all!

Known as The Pitman Initial Teaching Alphabet (i.t.a.),

it was invented by Sir James Pitman, grandson of the inventor

of Pitman shorthand.

It was first used in a number of British schools in 1961

and soon spread to the USA and Australia.

The i.t.a was designed to make it easier for

English-speaking children to learn to read English.

(Well that was the idea!)

The idea was that children would first learn to read

using the i.t.a. then they would be introduced to

standard English orthography at the age of seven.

The i.t.a. consisted of 42 letters, 24 standard lowercase

Latin letters plus a number of special letters,

most of which are modified Latin letters.

The main problems of using the i.t.a were:

1. That it was based on Received Pronunciation,

so people with other accents founded it difficult to decipher.

(I mean, can you imagine it being used nowadays, in our

multi cultural schools,let alone in Liverpool or Birmingham!!)

2. There was a lack of written materials in i.t.a.

(Too right! And not to mention all the signs and instructions

that one sees in everyday life, out and about)

3. Some children found the transition to the

traditional orthography, difficult.

(You don't say!)

4. Parents were confused (to say the least!)

I am sure that it did have a few successes...

but it also had its critics...including me!!

I remember seeing this system in action when I was

on a school visit, as a student...

...and thinking how crazy is this...

why not teach them properly from the start!!

So there you have it... yet I do believe that this system

is still used in some places in the USA,

especially with dyslexic children.

So, it's still a good one for debate!

Anyway..I now have a book to 'reed'... with a nise cup ov tee!!

Awl 63 payges!!!!

And thank you, Lesley! ;-)

The book will take pride of place in my teaching room!



Pooh's Abode said...

It was a mad system isn't it? I always show my A level students that, when we are studying child language acquisition and they can never quite believe it.

Vintage Tea Time said...

Oh, my - those books took me back - I was a Primary teacher in London in the late 60s and one school used the ITA system - I hated it!!

crafts@home said...

Its a bit like text speak! which is equally incomprehensible to me today!!!

KC'sCourt! said...

Don't get me started.............
I've come to the conclusion that's why young people cannot spell!
Julie xxxxxxx

The Weaver of Grass said...

I well remember ita - I was teaching at the time! Not only did it cause problems with the pupils but it caused spelling problems with the teacher too. If you are spelling like this all day it is very difficult to revery to "proper" spelling at the drop of a hat.

tracey @ the vintage bothy said...

lks lke txtin!

Anonymous said...

I really can't see the point of teaching children this method, and then making them learn a different way! When it comes to education, I believe in the way I was taught in the 50s and 60s, sitting at desks facing the teacher. When my son started school in the 80s, they sat at hexagonal tables, so that most of the children at any one time had their backs to the teacher, and they were much more inclined to talk to the other children facing them (his teacher hated the system too!!) He also had a teacher who didn't believe in the times tables - she preferred them to work out the answers (he was seven!)

THIS'N'THAT said...

As always,lovely to see you Sal.
(Soe pleezed ue liek it!!!)
Lesley XX

Julie said...

how mad!! Surely it's making twice as much work - learn how to read one way, then re-learn it again another! Funny eh?

Totally agree with the poster who commented about children sitting around a table though - I've never got this - why have the children sitting so they can't face the teacher/board/front, and then expect them not to get distracted or want to talk to their friends. Don't want to sound like a Luddite, but to me the old fashioned ways seem the best (big fan of the Miss Read books and think that is the epitome of good teaching personally). And don't even get me started on computers in classrooms - they have stacks of them in my son's school and over rely on them, to the point where the children's writing suffers, they can't spell for toffee and they have no sense of independent thought, any problem is "look it up on the computer" to say nothing of the fact that they all rush through their work because once their work is done they are allowed to play on the computers. All wrong in my book (did someone mention luddite ?!)

Country Cottage Chic said...

That is funny! But what about the email Christmas newsletter that I received from The Boy's school today headed "Yer 12 Christmas Newletter"????

Anonymous said...

I learned to read this way back in the early 70's, and can still read and understand it too! What a blast from the past! My primary school was a stickler for spelling tests and even today I am the best speller in the family. My American husband (with a degree I might add) is useless and relies heavily on spellcheck. He still has trouble with their and there!! My children take after their father unfortunately!


Karoline said...

It was a daft system, I ended up learning how to read three times over because of it as I could read before I got to Primary school but then had to learn the Pitmans when I got there. We then moved at the end of my first year and my new school taught 'traditional' so I had to go through it all again.

I'm sure it was a factor in my lifelong problems with poor spelling.

Paul L said...

I have a facebook page dedicated to ita and all those who, like me, encountered it in the sixties and early seventies. Would love anybody to call by and leave a comment positive or negative on their experiences with this system. Have quite a few books posted.