Monthly Archives: April 2015

Spelling the Answer


I wrote the Dictionary of the British English Spelling System  because (1) most children learning to read and spell need to be taught the most effective method of identifying and understanding unfamiliar written words and of writing down words they don’t yet know how to spell; (2) that method is synthetic phonics; (3) to teach synthetic phonics efficiently (as well as systematically) teachers need both a basic knowledge of phonetics and a secure knowledge of the correspondences between letters or letter-groups (graphemes) and distinctive speech sounds (phonemes), otherwise they will get the phonics wrong and mislead their pupils; (4) no existing book in the field had quite the right coverage. Continue reading

Knowledge is for sharing

Open Access: the future of academic publishing

Researchers, authors and funding bodies are realising that the high price of access to academic books and journals means that only a select few can read their work. Open Access (that is, making texts free to read and reuse) helps spread research results and other educational materials to everyone, globally, not just to those who can afford it or have access to well-endowed university libraries able to pay the high prices required by commercial ‘legacy’ publishers. Scholars are realizing that participation in a system that confines the readership, and therefore the intellectual engagement, to the affluent few is not only morally questionable but a potential drag on the progress of their subject, and indeed of their academic careers. Continue reading